Beloved managing editor of KWTX-TV, Rick Bradfield, died Thursday

Image of Rick Bradfield in the middle with colleagues Rusty Garrett on the left and Julie Hays on the right. Photo courtesy of Rob Bradfield

By Lexi Masarweh | Staff Writer

Rick Bradfield, the managing editor at KWTX-TV, died Thursday morning after a successful career in the journalism field. He worked at KWTX-TV for more than 45 years and was also an adjunct professor at Baylor for 25 years. He was 66 years old when he passed.

At KWTX-TV, Rick Bradfield worked in several positions, including news anchor, reporter, producer, news director and managing editor. He also had experience covering the Branch Davidian crisis in Waco, among other national news stories.

“I always saw him as the consummate newsman from the old school, standing there unflappable, going through all the possibilities,” Robert Darden, a professor in the Department of Journalism, Public Relations and New Media, said. “If it was something worth hearing, he was a wise reporter who knew his communities and business as well as anyone I’ve ever seen in my life.”

Darden and Rick Bradfield graduated together in May 1976 from Baylor, and that same month, Bradfield started working full time at KWTX-TV — the CBS affiliate.

“He was a respected journalist and competitor to many of us,” Bruce Gietzen, the director of Student Media, said.

Rick Bradfield’s son, Rob Bradfield, followed in his father’s footsteps as the editor-in-chief of the Baylor Lariat in fall 2012. He gave insight regarding the mental state of journalists and how that impacted his father.

Rick Bradfield did his part to educate the next generation of journalists, even taking on the role of adjunct professor for Baylor’s Department of Journalism, Public Relations and New Media.

Rob Bradfield said the shift in the view of journalists from being the voice of the community to having horrible, hateful things said about them “really affected [his] father.” Nonetheless, Rick Bradfield had determination and loyalty to the truth, as well as a great work ethic that will never be forgotten.

“He never once begrudged the people of this town and surrounding communities for being afraid and ill-informed,” Rob Bradfield said. “He died working to make sure that the truth was still told in Waco. He’s always been an inspiration to me for that and a whole lot of people. The state of journalism in Waco is going to be a whole lot sorrier without him.”