Telling America’s Story

The United States Information Agency did not long survive the Cold War it helped wage. But today the lessons it taught us may be more useful than ever.

Fifty years ago this summer the Eisenhower administration created a unique federal agency, one that most Americans never even knew about. Its name was the United States Information Agency; the reason for its obscurity was that by congressional fiat, it could not distribute its products and services within the United States. Read more »

Seeing Murrow Now

One Sunday afternoon thirty-six years ago, in Chicago, I sat with my parents in front of the family’s brand-new television set, with its small, round-cornered screen, and watched the first of a new kind of program on CBS. It was called “See It Now,” and while most of what was shown during that first half-hour has faded from my memory, two things remain vivid.Read more »

2.from Normandy To Grenada

A veteran reporter looks back to a time when the stakes were really high—and vet military men actually trusted newsmen.

One week in August 1942 several stories on the British war effort appeared on the wires of the Associated Press, written by an AP reporter based in London named Drew Middleton.

What the readers did not know was that Middleton had spent part of that week not in England but under enemy fire in a boat off the coast of France, watching an Allied commando raid on a German strongpoint.

The Germans didn’t know either, which was the point. Read more »

“To Bring You The Picture Of Europe Tonight…”

In 1938 the European correspondent for CBS was in Austria when the Nazis marched in. He wanted to tell the world about it—but first he had to help invent a whole new kind of broadcasting.

I FIRST MET ED MURROW at the Hotel Adlon in Berlin on Friday, August 27, 1937, He had sent me a telegram three days earlier inviting me to dinner. I was not in the best of moods. After three years as a newspaper correspondent in Berlin, I was out of a job, very nearly broke, and my wife.Tess, was pregnant. Read more »

Radio Grows Up

How the novelty item of 1920 became the world-straddling colossus of 1940

IN 1921 Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover, who was charged with what meager regulation of the airwaves there was, called radio “an instrument of beauty and learning.” Waldemar Kaempffert, who, as editor of Scientific American , had followed the beginnings of the technology, in 1922 imagined “a radio mother … crooning songs and telling bedtime stories” while “some future Einstein” could elaborate his theories “to a whole world with an ear cocked to catch … his voice as it wells out of the Read more »

Hell’s Highway To Arnhem

It would have taken considerable effort to locate an Allied fighting man on the battle line in Western Europe on September 10, 1944, who doubted that the end of the war was just around the corner. To American GI’S and British Tommies up front, heartened by six weeks of unrelieved victory, the chances of being home by Christmas were beginning to look very good indeed. Read more »