By Moni Basu
(CNN) — Bob Teague, one of New York’s first black television reporters, has died. He was 84.
His former employers WNBC and The New Tork Times reported that Teague died Thursday. His wife, Jan, told the Times that he lost his battle with T-cell lymphoma.
Teague left the Times to join WNBC in 1963. In its April 18 issue that year, Jet magazine noted that with Teague’s hiring, all three television networks had pulled even with “negro newswriters.” Mal Goode was at ABC and Ben Holman at CBS.
WNBC remembered him Friday as being “smart, competitive and driven.”
The Times said Teague “established a reputation for finding smart, topical stories and delivering them in a sophisticated manner.”
Teague was often dispatched to minority neighborhoods to cover mounting racial tensions of the ’60s, the Times said. In July 1963, he reported on riots for an hourlong program called “Harlem: Test for the North.”
He later became a critic of TV news, calling it too superficial. Teague thought the broadcast world had become “too focused on the appearance of reporters and anchors,” the Times said.
Teague was born in Milwaukee and attended the University of Wisconsin, where in 1948, he and Cal Vernon became the first African-Americans to play regularly on the varsity football team. He was a star player but gave up offers to play professional football for a reporting job at The Milwaukee Journal, according to the Times.
Teague was considered a pioneer in the broadcast world and served as a role model for journalists of color.