Sir Trevor McDonald paid tribute to ITN colleague Terry Lloyd as a "journalist's journalist" whose experience and professionalism was respected by all who worked with him.
Sir Trevor said of his friend of 20 years: "He was very professional. He regarded every job as a special assignment."
He told the coroner's court that Mr Lloyd's immense experience was valued not just by ITN colleagues but by journalists from other organisations who would speak of "what a brilliant person he was".
But he said that Mr Lloyd's dedication to the job would not lead to him taking chances with his crew's safety. "He was not a risk-taker. He put the safety of himself and his crew above all else."
Former ITN chief executive Stewart Purvis said he had known Mr Lloyd for 20 years.
He said: "He was very committed to discovering the truth, which in a sense is what we hope journalism is all about.
"He understood sometimes that meant going to places which, frankly, no normal person would go to and facing the dangers associated with that."
He said Mr Lloyd had been one of the first journalists into Halabja, where former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussain had used chemical weapons on civilians in 1988.
Mr Purvis said: "That took enterprise, boldness but most of all it took a desire to get to the heart of the story and that's why he was so good.
"When he was interviewed and asked 'how do you feel when you are chosen to go to a war?', he said 'I feel better than when I'm not chosen to go to the war'."
Mr Lloyd joined ITN in 1983 after beginning his career in Derby. He went on to become one of the most experienced and respected journalists for the network, covering conflicts around the world.