Edward Murrow and the Heart of Broadcast Journalism

Topics: Joseph McCarthy, Edward R. Murrow, McCarthyism Pages: 7 (2313 words) Published: July 3, 2011

At the Heart of Broadcast Journalism:
How Edward R. Murrow Has Impacted Television and Broadcast Journalism

Thesis Statement: Edward R. Murrow has shown us, through his own heroic courage and loyalty to America, that broadcast journalism involves more than reporting the news; it also entails poise, passion, and a desire to educate.

I. Edward R. Murrow got his start in television at CBS in 1935.
A. Murrow joined CBS as Director of Talks and Education but was transferred as chief of the European Bureau two years later to London.

B. In 1938, Murrow’s role changed drastically as he made a special trip to Vienna to report on the entrance of the Nazis into the Austrian capital.

1. The dramatic reports of the Munich Conference in 1938 and the
Battle of Britain during World War II brought him national fame.

2. These reports also marked the birth of broadcast journalism.

C. Murrow was steady when he spoke and influential on the screen.

II. Murrow portrayed heroic courage and loyalty to Americans.
A. Murrow was a champion of liberty when he fought for citizens rights as they were being aggressively questioned about their involvement in the Communist Party.

B. On March 9, 1954, Murrow gave a damning expose on Senator Joseph McCarthy’s tactics.

1. This famous speech gave courage and conscience to television news.

2. His speech is seen as a turning point in the history of television.

C. Murrow used his notoriety to fight for American citizens.

1. He captured the trust and belief of a nation and returned that trust with honesty and courage.

2. He let the viewers know that he felt we cannot defend freedom internationally without first defending it in America.


III. Murrow has shown upcoming broadcast journalists that journalism is less about role-playing and more about reporting for the right reasons.

A. Murrow was impeccable on-screen and he believed in every statement he made.

B. Knowing he would be fouling his own nest, Murrow outraged his employers with one of the most challenging, brave speeches of all time.

1. Television networks constantly strive to reach the most viewers, and to make the largest profit.

2. Murrow knew the American people came before what the network wanted just to make a buck.

C. Murrow was the master of his profession and without a doubt the father of broadcast journalism.

1. He had a voice that gave power to his work.

2. He used television as a means to educate the public in movements involving their lives.

3. He had a strong presence and high standard of professionalism that continues to challenge modern broadcasters.

Edward R. Murrow was a man of immaculate presence that could command radio listeners and television viewers with the tone in his voice that would cut through the airwaves and catch fire when he spoke. He used the medium not to advance his own image, but to educate. Murrow felt he had a social responsibility to America and its listeners. He didn’t want to report the news for higher ratings or for a higher profit. He paid the price by going against the grain, but because of those brave broadcasts, he has become a legend in his field. Edward R. Murrow has shown us, through his own heroic courage and loyalty to America, that broadcast journalism involves more than reporting the news; it also entails poise, passion, and a desire to educate.

Edward R. Murrow was born on April 25, 1908 and raised on a farm in Polecat Creek, North Carolina (Betka, 1). He had a very modest upbringing working hard on the farm with his brothers and following his families’ Christian values (State Library of North Carolina, par. 2). Murrow’s family moved to Washington when he was six where he later went on to graduate in 1930 from Washington State College (Betka, 1). After graduation, he...
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