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Sevey a comfortable figure for isle viewers


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POSTED: Tuesday, February 24, 2009

AN icon of television journalism in Hawaii, Bob Sevey was accurately compared with Walter Cronkite, known as “;the most trusted man in America,”; and his integrity was emulated by those who worked under his guidance. Sevey, 81, died last week in Lacey, Wash., after a long battle with cancer.

Sevey became station manager of KGMB in 1959, five years after moving to Hawaii from Arizona. He began his 27 years as television news anchor at what is now KITV in 1962, returning in 1966 to KGMB, where he consistently won top viewer ratings.

“;The standard he set was 'be accurate, be fair and, if possible, be first,'”; Jim Manke of Hawaii Public Radio said of Sevey. “;But the first two were more important.”; Former KGMB reporter Linda Coble recalled, “;If I took one side a little more than the other in a story, he would say, 'Tell me the other side.'”;

Sevey also believed that weight should be given to stories according to importance. After a 6 p.m. newscast during which a news director under new management at KGMB ordered live coverage of an inconsequential but spectacular-looking tire fire along Nimitz Highway in 1986, Sevey suddenly resigned, according to protege Bob Jones. He moved to Washington three years later.

Jones, now a MidWeek columnist, wrote after Sevey's farewell visit to the islands last August that Sevey ironically never had been a “;shoe-leather journalist.”; However, Cronkite's self-description as a “;comfortable old shoe”; fit Sevey's perception by his large and loyal following.