Steve Kroft was named a 60 MINUTES correspondent in May 1989 and delivered his first report that September. The 2007-08 season is his 19th on the broadcast.
Kroft’s joint investigation with the Washington Post exposing the deeply flawed forensic science of bullet lead analysis won the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism award in 2008 and was one of four major awards he won in the space of a year. He won the Sigma Delta Chi award for the same story and the coveted Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University silver baton for an investigation into the disappearance of over $500 million from Iraq’s treasury. He also received the Fred Friendly First Amendment award from Quinnipiac University, one of the industry’s most prestigious recognitions, in May 2007. His considerable body of work also was recognized with a Lifetime Achievement Emmy in September 2003. And one of his finest investigative stories, a report examining the conflicts of interest between military contractors and the government in the awarding of contracts, “All in the Family” (April 2003), earned him his third George Foster Peabody award.
Many of Kroft’s other 60 MINUTES reports have been recognized by awards committees. His report “America’s Worst Nightmare” (Oct. 2000), on Pakistan’s political instability, nuclear weapons and ties to Islamic militant groups such as the Taliban, won him an Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University silver baton for a report the committee called “strikingly prophetic.” “I.N.S.” (March 2002), on the Immigration and Naturalization Service, was cited as one of the reports for which CBS News won the 2003 Overall Excellence Award from the Radio/Television News Directors Association. Kroft also conducted the first television interview with Jonathan Lebed, the teenage stock manipulator who was the youngest person ever sued by the SEC. Kroft won his eighth Emmy for a 60 MINUTES segment about the risks posed to the nation’s water supply by the gasoline additive MTBE, now present in the ground water of 49 states.
In 1998, two of Kroft’s 60 MINUTES reports were honored with a George Foster Peabody Award: “Veronica Guerin,” a piece about an Irish reporter gunned down by drug dealers, and “West Side Story,” an uplifting account of racial tension turned into racial harmony. It was the second time he has been honored with a Peabody Award. The first was in 1992 for his 60 MINUTES report “Friendly Fire,” about a Gulf War incident, which explored the tragic, yet common occurrence of soldiers accidentally killing their own men.
In 1996, Kroft’s report “The Worst Nightmare” was the first to document the involvement of the Russian mafia in the smuggling of nuclear materials out of the former Soviet Union. The story won the prestigious Renner Award for reporting on organized crime, which is given by the Association of Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE).
In 1994, Kroft was honored with two of his 10 Emmy Awards. One was for a profile of Senator Bob Dole and the other for a report on the Cuban government’s policy of quarantining people infected with the AIDS virus. His 1998 story about the tough, flamboyant mayor of Moscow, Yuri Luzhkov, won an Emmy as well.
His exclusive 1992 interview with then-Governor Bill Clinton and his wife, Hillary, ended up on the front page of virtually every newspaper in the country, and it is continually cited as one of the defining moments of that presidential election.
Two of Kroft’s most significant reports have been on Chernobyl. In 1990, he was the first American journalist to be given extensive access to the contaminated nuclear power complex in Ukraine. That report also won an Emmy for special achievement in broadcasting. Kroft returned to Chernobyl in 1994 and became the first American reporter to enter the crippled reactor building.
Other memorable 60 MINUTES stories include an undercover investigation on the rolling back of odometers by car wholesalers in Houston, which triggered a federal grand-jury investigation that resulted in five convictions; the only television interview with Woody Allen during his bitter custody battle with Mia Farrow; a report on alleged jury tampering in the O. J. Simpson murder case; and his investigation of Saddam Hussein’s hidden financial assets, estimated in the billions of dollars, which attracted worldwide attention.
Before joining 60 MINUTES, Kroft was a principal correspondent on the CBS News magazine “West 57th,” after having been a foreign correspondent for CBS News, based in the London bureau, a period during which he covered international terrorism in Europe and the Middle East, including the TWA hijacking in Beirut, the massacres at the Rome and Vienna airports by the Abu Nidal terrorist cell and the Achille Lauro hijacking. He also covered the war in Beirut and the sectarian violence in Northern Ireland. His report for the CBS EVENING NEWS on the assassination of Indira Gandhi won an Emmy Award.
Prior to his assignment in London, Kroft was a correspondent in the CBS News Miami bureau (1983) and traveled extensively in Latin America and the Caribbean. During that time, he covered the civil war in El Salvador and the U.S. invasion of Grenada.
Kroft joined CBS News in January 1980 as a reporter in the Northeast bureau in New York. He was named a correspondent in May 1981 and worked out of the Dallas bureau (January 1981-May 1983).
Before joining CBS News, Kroft was a reporter for WPLG-TV Miami, WJXT-TV Jacksonville, Fla., and WSYR-TV Syracuse, N.Y.
He was born Aug. 22, 1945, in Kokomo, Ind., and was graduated from Syracuse University in 1967 with a bachelor of science degree. He was honored by his alma mater in 1992 with the George Arents Medal, the highest honor the university gives to an alumnus. Kroft earned a master’s degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and received an honorary doctorate of humane letters from Indiana University. He served with the United States Army in Vietnam as a correspondent and photographer for Pacific Stars and Stripes.
Kroft is married to journalist Jennet Conant. They live in New York with their son, John Conant Kroft.