Edward R. Murrow

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Summary:

Explore: Edward R. Murrow, journalism, radio, television, the McCarthy hearings, journalism history, journalism and advertising, war reporting, the role of the press, media and personal ethics, politics.

Edward R. Murrow was the best-known broadcaster of World War II. He used the power of radio to create vivid imagery in a listener's mind. When television emerged, he mastered it as well. Don Hewitt, Daniel Schorr and Richard C. Hottelet provide insight into the CBS News veteran's prestigious news career.

Introduction:

This video and viewing guide examine Edward R. Murrow's journalism career, which spanned the age of radio and the emergence of television. From his vivid radio descriptions of World War II bombings in London and Berlin, to his unflinching commentary on Sen. Joseph McCarthy's search for communist infiltration in the United States, to his conversational interviews with celebrities and top cultural figures, Murrow's work in bringing news and information to the public was wide-ranging. Yet his accomplishments and lauded ethical standards met great challenges, including questions of commercial sponsorship of the news and the responsibilities of the news media, especially television, to teach, illuminate and inspire rather than merely entertain, amuse and insulate.

Learn more about the power and responsibilities of a free press in a changing media landscape through the work of one of its giants.

Recommended grade levels: High school; college

Essential Questions:

  • Who was Edward R. Murrow, and why is he a significant figure in journalism history?
  • What is the role of the press today and throughout history?
  • How does freedom of the press function in society?
  • Why are integrity and ethics — both personal and professional — important in the news media?
  • What should the working relationship between news media and commercial sponsors be? What has it been in the past?
  • What challenges do journalists face? What risks do they take and why?
  • What is the role of the press in politics?
  • What power does an individual journalist have? How should that power be exercised?