“Murrow’s accomplishments can’t be duplicated because he was writing on a blank page. On a single day in 1938, he pioneered the overseas network reporting staff and the roundup news format… Then in 1951, he moved television beyond its function as a headline service and established it as an original news source, not a medium that merely duplicated stories culled from newspapers.” - Edward R. Murrow and the Birth of Broadcast Journalism, Bob Edwards
Edward R. Murrow, the pioneer radio and television news journalist who passed away in 1965, would have turned 100 this past Friday. To honor his body of work, the Newseum held a special discussion yesterday. I was one of the 100 or so that attended the capacity event at the TV studio on the third floor. Frank Bond hosted the 30-minute show (taped for Inside Media) with guests Bob Edwards and Marvin Kalb. Edwards's distinguished career behind the mike included NPR for years, and now a show with XM Satellite Radio.
Kalb, whose equally fine career included reporting with CBS during its Evening News hey day, was one of the “Murrow Boys.” He talked about getting an interview with Murrow who had read some of his work on Russia. The crowd chuckled when Kalb related how Murrow made him feel at ease by offering him a shot of whiskey. Kalb declined, Murrow didn’t.
After the discussion, there was time for about four questions. One of my pet peeves is a disdain for selfish people who try to hog what is almost always a limited amount of time in these situations. In fact, Bond let us know this fact beforehand. Well, sure enough, the first person standing in the line who asked a question wanted a follow up (welcome to the club). I was happy when Bond politely told him time was short and he took the next person's question.
A second breach of good manners took place when someone asked what current journalists comes closest to being like Murrow. Edwards said Bill Moyers, which drew a loud moan from the man beside me. Funny how people don't understand what the word closest means.
Having said that, he was an informed citizen exercising his right to freedom of speech, an act Murrow would have appreciated.