NewsWell-known TV journalist: Fritz Pleitgen is dead – "in...

Well-known TV journalist: Fritz Pleitgen is dead – "in our hearts the flags are at half-mast"

Created: 09/16/2022 Updated: 09/16/2022 1:27 p.m

Zum 50. Geburtstag des WDR lächelt Intendant Fritz Pleitgen am Donnerstag (15.12.2005) in Köln in die Kameras der Fotografen.
Fritz Pleitgen was director of WDR from 1995 to March 2007. © Jörg Carstensen/dpa

TV Germany mourns Fritz Pleiten. The well-known correspondent and WDR director succumbed to cancer on Thursday in Cologne.

Cologne – The German TV landscape mourns the loss of a prominent face: The journalist, correspondent and director Fritz Pleitgen is dead. This was announced by the WDR.

Fritz Pleitgen died Thursday (September 15, 2022) in Cologne. He was 84 years old. Pleitgen, who last lived in Bergisch Gladbach (Rheinisch-Bergischer district), had informed the German Cancer Aid in 2020 that he had pancreatic cancer.

Fritz Pleitgen: Known as a correspondent in Moscow, Washington, East Berlin

Many know Fritz Pleitgen as a TV reporter for ARD. Among other things, he was a correspondent for the public service institution in Moscow, later in East Berlin, the capital of the GDR at the time, before becoming head of the USA studio in Washington and New York in 1982.

From 1995 to the end of March 2007, Fritz Pleitgen was director of the fee-financed WDR. The grief at the state broadcaster in North Rhine-Westphalia is correspondingly great: “‘The death of Fritz Pleitgen is very sad news for all of us at WDR. In our hearts, the flags are at half-mast.” And Tina Hassel, head of the ARD capital studio in Berlin, tweeted: “Another big one is going!”

Fritz Pleitgen’s family: His son is CNN reporter Frederik Pleitgen

Pleitgen leaves behind his wife, three sons and a daughter. TV viewers should also know his son Frederik Pleitgen, who is also a TV journalist: After stations at ZDF and RTL, Frederik Pleitgen switched to the news channel CNN and was traveling in some crisis regions, among other things. As “Senior International Correspondent” he also reports from Russia. On the death of his father Fritz Pleitgen, son Frederik Pleitgen tweeted on behalf of the family: “Peace, dad! We have lost a great journalist and the best father imaginable.”

Fritz Pleitgen: Stations of his life – from reporter to director

Fritz Pleitgen is a child of the Ruhr area. He was born in Duisburg in 1938.

Fritz Pleitgen had been active as a TV reporter since 1963, reporting for the “Tagesschau” among other things

At a time when most Germans still watched black-and-white television , he was the ARD man in Moscow in what was then the Soviet Union (1970-1977).

Fritz Pleitgen stood in front of the camera as a GDR correspondent until 1982

Then the move to the West: Fritz Pleitgen headed the ARD studio in Washington and New York from 1982 to 1988

Back at WDR, Fritz Pleitgen worked as TV editor-in-chief and radio director

In 1995, Fritz Pleitgen was elected director of WDR West German Broadcasting, a position he held until March 31, 2007

Reactions to the death of Fritz Pleitgen

Karl Lauterbach , Federal Minister of Health: “Fritz Pleitgen represented public broadcasting with format and quality. His commitment to cancer research was valuable and exemplary. His fate shows that we need to invest more in cancer research.”

Mona Neubaur (Greens), Minister for Economic Affairs, Climate Protection & Energy in North Rhine-Westphalia: “With Fritz Pleitgen we are losing an icon of journalism. In his various functions, he has had a strong influence on WDR.”

Udo Lielischkies , himself an ARD correspondent in Moscow for many years: “Fritz Pleitgen was an extraordinary personality, an impressive director, a role model. Unforgettable how he made sure that WDR not only reported on the Bosnian war, but also accommodated refugees in its production halls!”

Henriette Reker , Mayor of Cologne: “His journalistic attitude will remain a role model for generations of journalists.”

(kem/IDZRW/dpa) More coming soon.

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