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Bev Broadman

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The differences between Showbiz and Newsbiz are small. Anybody with half a mind can tell you that the real stars are the ones no one hears about.

I'm talking about the real brains behind the scenes, the ones we sarcastically call "The Little People." Of course they're actually the giants on whose shoulders these massive operations rest.

One of these people was Beverly Broadman. I say "was," because Bev died this week, consumed by illness.

She leaves us at a relatively early age, but she was not too young to leave behind a remarkable legacy.

You'd never know it by her gentle demeanor, but Bev was one of the vital forces who got CNN off the ground and kept it running through its turbulent growth.

I knew her from the hundreds of story crises we maneuvered together. I'd be wherever I was, scrambling to accumulate the facts and get them on TV, Bev was back in Atlanta, in charge of the National Desk, calmly pushing all the right buttons to make sure that all the things that could go wrong did not..

Hers was the tough job, although you'd never know it from her. She was instinctively low profile, which was fine with me, because I was always happy to take whatever glory there was.

We wouldn't see each other that often but when we did we were family reuniting... a raucous family, because despite her self-effacing style, she had a biting sense of humor.

Now, I've lost a member of my family. Everyone at CNN, past and present, has. And journalism, particularly the peculiar form we practice in television, has lost one of the incredible people who made it the vital force that it is.

When people question why fundamentals like facts, perspective and being cool under pressure are important, Bev Broadman is a great answer. I will miss her. We all will.