. . . or click on the link here for Audio Player – Edward R. Murrow Addresses The National Association Of Broadcasters Convention – April 2, 1962 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection.
In 1962 we were on the threshold of exciting times. Technology was making it possible to launch, in the coming months, the first Communications Satellite; making it possible for the first time, to achieve instant communication and broadcasting from any point on the globe. This new technology was hailed as the first major step in bringing the world closer together – the learn and experience other cultures and to be present for current events as they were unfolding.
And who better to discuss the possibilities of this breathtaking new technology than veteran journalist and broadcaster Edward R. Murrow? Murrow, who had recently left CBS and was now heading up the U.S. Information Agency, saw infinite possibilities at improved communications between countries – an opportunity to bring the world together in ways it had never thought possible even five years before. He saw an exchange of cultures and points of view and a breakdown of old prejudices. He saw this development as a truly revolutionary step in the world of communication.
But – he also saw its abuse. He saw the infinite possibilities squandered and the dilemma of “what are we to say, and how are we to say it?”
As Murrow put it: “Global Television will not bring more wisdom to our minds – it will only give wider dissemination to what our minds have to say. I suggest the problem of what we are to say is one to which the broadcast world might turn its mind, and urgently.”
Murrow saw the slippery slope the broadcast medium was on. Murrow anticipated the dawn of infotainment and he urged the broadcasters in the room to understand the power that was about to be given them, the responsibility they had.
This address; hopeful on one hand, saw the pessimistic realities and disregard for information on the other. Disregard, as Murrow put it – to be had only at our peril.
And 53 years later the situation has only gotten worse.
As a reminder of what started off as hopeful and enthusiastic – here is the complete address by Edward R. Murrow to the Annual Convention of the National Association of Broadcasts on April 2, 1962.
Play often and take notes.