Jules Bergman (March 21, 1929 – February 11, 1987), a broadcast writer and journalist, served as Science Editor for ABC News from 1961 until his death in 1987. He is most remembered for his coverage of the American space program.
A native of New York City, Bergman was educated at the City College of New York and Indiana University. While doing postgraduate work at Columbia University, Bergman held a Sloan-Rockefeller Advanced Science Writing Fellowship, which he completed in 1960.
Bergman joined ABC News as a writer in 1953, specializing in science issues. In the late 1950s he began covering the activities of the Space Task Group. Bergman was named Science Editor in 1961, the same year that the first manned Vostok and Mercury flights took place.
Though he became most famous for his work on covering space missions, Bergman covered stories in a range of areas, including aviation, defense matters, medicine, health, astronomy and public safety. He was also pressed into service as a general assignment reporter on some special occasions. For example, after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963, Bergman was sent to New York's Times Square to report on citizens' reactions to the President's death.
Bergman's reporting for ABC was noted for its direct style. In contrast to the more avuncular style of CBS anchor Walter Cronkite, Bergman's reporting took a very serious tone, and was very direct (to the point of seeming pessimistic at times) about the possible consequences of any mishaps or accidents that took place during a spaceflight. In order to more fully understand the astronauts and their missions, Bergman often took part in the same training and simulations that the astronauts did.
Bergman was also well known for his reporting on aviation and defense matters. A licensed pilot, he wrote many articles on aviation, and wrote books, including Ninety Seconds to Space: The Story of the X-15 (1960) and Anyone Can Fly (1964; reissued 1977). Bergman also reported on major aviation developments and disasters for ABC, and also covered the development of new weapons systems for the military of the United States.
Bergman also covered energy issues, including the oil crisis of the 1970s. He was also a major contributor to ABC's coverage of the 1979 accident at the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant.
Bergman was also a contributor to ABC's Close-Up series of documentaries. He won an Emmy for his work on the half-hour documentary Close-Up: On Fire. Bergman was also a guest host on the ABC public affairs series Issues and Answers, and also contributed to other ABC programs, including Good Morning America. In cooperation with ABC's Wide World of Sports, Bergman also covered Evel Knievel's 1974 attempt to jump the Snake River Canyon.
Bergman was found dead in his New York apartment on February 11, 1987. His passing was reported not just by ABC News, but also on the CBS and NBC nightly newscasts. A memorial service was held four days later in New York City, at which Bergman was eulogized by NASA astronaut Joseph P. Allen.
Many television documentaries have featured clips from Bergman's reporting on the American space program. Footage of Bergman's reports also figured prominently in the 1995 motion picture Apollo 13, and he guest starred (playing himself) on The Six Million Dollar Man episode "The Rescue of Athena One." In addition, Bergman was portrayed by actor Andrew Rubin in an episode of the 1998 HBO miniseries From The Earth To The Moon.
Murray, Michael D., ed. The Encyclopedia of TV News. Greenwood Publishing Group: 1999. p. 15-16.