Cox, Geoffrey 1910–2008
Cox, Geoffrey 1910–2008
(Geoffrey Sandford Cox)
See index for CA sketch: Born April 7, 1910, in Palmerston North, New Zealand; died April 2, 2008. Journalist, television executive, editor, and author. Cox worked as a newspaper journalist from 1931 to 1956. In 1956 he moved to broadcast journalism as editor and chief executive of Independent Television News (ITN). He left there in 1968 for similar positions with Yorkshire Television (then Tyne and Tees Television), the London Broadcasting Company (where he assumed the chairmanship in 1977), and finally the United Press International Television News. Cox had joined ITN in the early days of independent television in England, saving the news outlet from the British version of bankruptcy and building it into a top-notch and enormously popular news source. Under his leadership ITN presented hard news to a general audience, supplementing the serious reportage with vivid film clips and dramatic sound effects. He hired hard-hitting and well-informed interviewers and was an early supporter of portable news cameras and satellite-aided live broadcasts. Cox created the long-lasting News at Ten program that aired from 1967 to 1999. It is generally thought that his years at ITN marked the height of his career, but Cox had been an active and energetic journalist from an early age. He covered the Spanish Civil War for the News Chronicle in the 1930s and later infiltrated Nazi Germany as a civilian observer of labor teams and public parades. As a correspondent for the Daily Express during World War II, he was among the last journalists to escape Paris as the German invasion penetrated the city. His passion for hard news never waned, nor did his respect for the so-called "general audience," and Cox earned a reputation as one of England's top television journalists of all time. He was decorated a commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1959 and knighted in 1966. Though Cox had left his native country as a young Rhodes scholar to attend Oxford University, he was named a companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2000. Cox recorded his experiences in several books, including The Red Army Moves (1941), The Road to Trieste (1946), See It Happen: The Making of ITN (1983), Pioneering Television News: A First Hand Report on a Revolution in Journalism (1995), and Eyewitness: A Memoir of Europe in the 1930s (1999).
OBITUARIES AND OTHER SOURCES:
Cox, Geoffrey, Defence of Madrid, Victor Gollancz (London, England), 1937, new edition published as Defence of Madrid: An Eyewitness Account from the Spanish Civil War, University of Otago Press (Dunedin, New Zealand), 2006.
Cox, Geoffrey, See It Happen: The Making of ITN, Bodley Head (London, England), 1983.
Cox, Geoffrey, Pioneering Television News: A First Hand Report on a Revolution in Journalism, John Libbey (London, England), 1995.
Cox, Geoffrey, Eyewitness: A Memoir of Europe in the 1930s, University of Otago Press (Dunedin, New Zealand), 1999.
Times (London, England), April 4, 2008, p. 69.