Chris Cramer, the former head of newsgathering at the BBC who went on to run CNN International for 11 years from 1996, has died aged 73.
The journalist was one of 25 hostages held at the Iranian Embassy siege in London in 1980, where he visiting to collect a visa. Released after feigning illness, Cramer later worked with BBC safety managers to develop the first hostile environment training courses for journalists.
Among those paying tribute included CNN anchor Christaine Amanpour who described Cramer as a “commanding, demanding figure” who had presided over many “golden years” at CNN International.
Very sad to hear my former boss has died at age 73, after a serious illness.
Chris Cramer was a real journalist’s journalist, a commanding, demanding figure who presided over many Golden Years at @cnni.https://t.co/je6cIHJnBA
— Christiane Amanpour (@camanpour) January 17, 2021
BBC Middle East editor Jeremy Bowen said Cramer had hired him as a reporter on BBC News in 1988. “When a big story broke we all felt in safe hands with Cramer in charge. He was a tough bugger but also kind and decent,” he said.
Very sad to hear that Chris Cramer, the man who hired me as a reporter for BBC TV News in 1988 has died. He was a giant of our business. When a big story broke we all felt in safe hands with Cramer in charge. He was a tough bugger but also kind and decent.
— Jeremy Bowen (@BowenBBC) January 17, 2021
“Among his many accomplishments, Chris was a pioneer and innovator in field safety, as the world became more dangerous for journalists,” said Tony Maddox, who took over from Cramer at CNN.
After leaving CNN, Cramer worked at Reuters TV and developed video services for Wall Street Journal.