Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Off Topic: Journalism ---World War Two and The Birth of Broadcast Journalism

The Edward R. Murrow and the Birth of Broadcast Journalism, Bob Edwards, Wiley Publishing, 168 pages, 2004, $19.95 and Tantor Media Audiobooks,, unabridged on 4 compact disks, $24.95, 2004.

Bob Edwards, host NPR's Morning Edition 1979-2004 clearly and concisely examines the life and times of Edward R. Murrow, who is recognized as the creator of both radio and television broadcast journalism. Moving radio broadcast news from live parades and flower shows, created live broadcasts of unplanned events. Beginning in 1937 Murrow managed CBS radio's European Bureau and within three years became a celebrity with his heart-racing rooftop broadcasts during the Luftwaffe Blitz of England in summer of 1940. The radio audience in parlors and living rooms across the United States heard London being "bombed in real time."

Murrow was a master of finding talent researchers and correspondents. Also, he flew and reported on 25 bombing runs over Europe. He delivered reports on everything from the Allies march to Paris to the liberation of the concentration camps. Returning to the U.S. after the war, Murrow was not idle and gained further historical significance for his radio and television attacks on Joseph McCarthy during 1952-1954. Morrow created a groundbreaking television broadcast entitled See It Now by managing producers and correspondents on location and gathering unrehearsed interviews. Murrow's live remote production, split screens, and use archived and new film was in stark contrast to the usual fair of television news that consisted of the reading of headlines produced by the Associated Press and other newspapers.

Edwards' portrait is of a driven, fearless career journalist who by setting standards so high that modern newsreaders and spin masters, trying to pass themselves off as journalists, are not even in the same ballpark as Murrow. On the audio book, Bob Edwards reads his own work. Undeniably it sounds like a NPR broadcast. Edwards has enhanced the audio book by integrating recordings of Murrow's famous broadcasts from during the Blitz, from a bomber run on Germany, and from the Army-McCarthy hearings.

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