Edward R. Murrow

Edward R. Murrow - Took broadcast journalism to lofty heights.

The Great Radio Documentaries – “We Take You Back” – Edward R. Murrow – 1958 – Past Daily Pop Chronicles

Edward R. Murrow
Edward R. Murrow – Took broadcast journalism to lofty heights.

CBS Radio – We Take You Back – March 13, 1958 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –

Ending our month-long series of Radio Documentaries, offering the best, but by all means not all, those pivotal pieces of broadcast journalism which shed light, offered solutions, exposed problems, presented life as it often was in the 1950s, 60’s and 70’s.

The Radio Documentary is still around – not as frequently as it once was and most often condensed into digestible 5-7 minutes bites, it may have lost its relevance – now that we’ve arrived at the age of the “citizen journalist” and the waves of iPhones casually pointed at just about everything that moves, but documentaries are still part of our journalistic backbone, even though what is presented now is considered “info-tainment” and not hard news, at least in the U.S.

This documentary is more of an anniversary observance – it was broadcast on March 13, 1958, 20 years to the day the first regular News program started on CBS Radio. The program which would eventually morph into The CBS World News Roundup. The broadcast traces the beginnings of reporting at Radio networks – how it evolved from being basically a reading of newspaper reports, or original reporters actually being newspaper journalists and not trained voices or broadcast writers.

But it was introduced at a time the world was preparing for what would eventually become World War 2. March 13, 1938 was the date German troops marched into Vienna, setting the stage for what would lead to the Munich Crisis some months later over the Sudeten region of Czechoslovakia – and the urgent reports of negotiations as they were unfolding live – something that had never been done on radio before. 1938 would be the pivotal point where broadcast journalism was born – and one of those central figures in that social change was Edward R. Murrow – he and a number of other journalists who were hired specifically for their broadcast experience as well as news background (primarily from newspapers) set up bureaus throughout Europe and would report nightly as the situation became darker and darker over the coming months.

So this broadcast looks back on that with a considerable number of historic recordings to serve as illustrations of the times and the circumstances and the reporting style of Murrow and his team.

It started somewhere and it grew and matured from there – here is that broadcast celebrating the 20th anniversary of that milestone broadcast as it was heard on March 13, 1958.

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