Thomas John "Tom" Brokaw (born February 6, 1940) is an American television journalist and author best known as the anchor and managing editor of NBC Nightly News from 1982 to 2004. He is the author of The Greatest Generation (1998) and other books and the recipient of numerous awards and honors. He is the only person to host all three major NBC News programs: The Today Show, NBC Nightly News, and, briefly, Meet the Press. He now serves as a Special Correspondent for NBC News and works on documentaries for other outlets.
Brokaw was born in Webster, South Dakota, the son of Eugenia "Jean" (nee Conley, 1917-2011), who worked in sales and as a post-office clerk, and Anthony Orville "Red" Brokaw (1912-1982). He was the eldest of their three sons and was named after his maternal great-grandfather, Thomas Conley. His father was a descendant of Huguenot immigrants Bourgon and Catherine (nee Le Fèvre) Broucard, and his mother was Irish-American. His paternal great-grandfather, Richard P. Brokaw, founded the town of Bristol, South Dakota, and the Brokaw House, a small hotel and the first structure in Bristol.
Brokaw's father was a construction foreman for the Army Corps of Engineers. He worked at the Black Hills Ordnance Depot (BHOD) and helped construct Fort Randall Dam; his job often required the family to resettle during Brokaw's early childhood. The Brokaws lived for short periods in Bristol, Igloo (the small residential community of the BHOD), and Pickstown, before settling in Yankton, where Brokaw attended high school.
As a high school student attending Yankton Senior High School, Brokaw was governor of South Dakota American Legion Boys State, and in that capacity he accompanied then South Dakota Governor Joe Foss to New York City for a joint appearance on a TV game show. It was to be the beginning of a long relationship with Foss, whom Brokaw would later feature in his book about World War II veterans, The Greatest Generation.
Tom Brokaw dropped out of The University of Iowa, where he says he majored in "beer and co-eds" before receiving his B.A. degree in Political Science from the University of South Dakota in Vermillion in 1964.