In the early days of television news, when announcers often read wire stories on the air and reporting was largely left to the newspapers, Mr. Pressman did his own reporting, writing and reading his own scripts, and was one of the first television journalists to take a camera crew into the streets for stand-up reports from the scenes of fires, murders and other spot news events.
With remarkable endurance, he covered many of New York’s major stories: the 1956 sinking of the Andrea Doria off Nantucket; the arrival of the Beatles in 1964; the 1969 Woodstock festival; regional power blackouts in 1965 and 1977; and a host of elections, protests, plane crashes, subway accidents, political scandals, transit strikes and the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in 1993 and 2001.
He interviewed Fidel Castro, Golda Meir, Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe, Casey Stengel, Robert F. Kennedy, Malcolm X, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Eleanor Roosevelt, Bella Abzug and every mayor and governor of New York in the last half of the 20th century, as well as every president from Harry Truman to Bill Clinton.
Politicians and other newsmakers were his guests on WNBC’s “News Forum” on Sundays. And he made award-winning documentaries on homelessness, the mentally ill, racial conflicts and other subjects. He moderated political debates and town hall meetings, and occasionally reported from Israel and other parts of the Middle East.
Gabriel Pressman was born in the Bronx on Feb. 14, 1924, the son of Dr. Benjamin and Lena Rifkin Pressman. His father, a dentist, bought him a hectograph, an early duplicating device, to…