The 39-year-old reporter and anchor of the weekend “Today” program had been reporting from outside Baghdad and was packing gear when he suddenly collapsed, NBC said. He never regained consciousness and died after being airlifted to a field medical treatment center.
One of the hallmarks of Bloom’s reports from Iraq was his use of a specially outfitted armored vehicle, dubbed the “Bloom-mobile,” which allowed him and his crew to broadcast pictures of a higher quality than colleagues using videophones.
According to NBC, the unit used a gyrostabilized camera “to produce jiggle-free video even when the M-88 was bumping along at 50 mph or more.” The signal was then relayed to a crew transmission truck, then beamed back to NBC in New York via satellite. NBC executives said Bloom was heavily involved in designing the vehicle.
“He was very involved in the whole process,” Stacy Brady, NBC’s vice president of network news operations, said. “Just from his reporting experience, he added in a lot of requirements or needs that he thought would be essential for this to work.”
Traveling with the 3rd Infantry in late March, Bloom said he felt his job was to “tell the soldiers’ stories.”
“There’s a deep yearning on the part of the American people to understand what it’s like for these soldiers,” he told The Washington Post’s Howard Kurtz. “Man, the sacrifices these soldiers are going through, whether you believe in the merits of the war or not.”
Bloom joined NBC in 1993 and became the network’s White House correspondent in 1997. He began his current assignment at “Today” in 2000. Colleagues remembered Bloom for his enthusiasm and his zest for competition.
“He was both a genuinely nice guy and an incredibly tenacious reporter,” NBC News President Neal Shapiro told the Associated Press. “He wouldn’t be beaten on a story. He always kept us in the game.”
“He was a rising star here,” Shapiro added.
A native of Edina, Minn., Bloom is survived by his wife, Melanie, and three daughters.