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Edward R. Murrow's 100th Birthday [National Press Club]

by Hope Katz Gibbs
The National Press Club
May 9, 2008
Image by bsoist, flickr.com

Could Edward R. Murrow get a job in radio and TV today?

That was one of a dozen questions posed to a panel gathered last Friday, April 25, at a luncheon to celebrate the 100th birthday of the man historians consider one of journalism’s greatest figures.

After a meal Murrow would surely have enjoyed—Caesar salad, roast beef, and three-layer chocolate birthday cake—three of his past employees at CBS took to the stage to discuss the life of the legend: Richard C. Hottelet, a 41-year veteran of CBS; Daniel Schorr, the last of Murrow’s former employees still working in broadcasting; and panel moderator Marvin Kalb, host of the Kalb Report on National Public Radio and the Edward R. Murrow Professor of Practice, Emeritus, and Senior Fellow at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Business.

“Mr. Murrow didn’t hire personalities,” said Hottelet, who was working for the United Press when Murrow called offering a job. “He looked for survivors of places like UP, which turned out hard scrabbled reporters.”

All three panelists agreed that Murrow would indeed be able to land a job today—but that he’d only be willing to work for one contemporary broadcasting organization: National Public Radio. “I don’t think he’d fit in anywhere else,” Schorr insisted.

Murrow’s son Casey, who also sat on the Friday’s panel, agreed—and offered a glimpse into the private Murrow.

“On weekends we’d go to Yankees games, fishing, and just relaxed,” says Casey, an educator and author who in 1984 founded the education organization Synergy Learning International. “He was a great storyteller, as you can imagine, and really engaged me and my friends. My relationship with my dad was a great pleasure to me.”

Casey notes that was also his pleasure to see his father’s life honored in this way, and extended thanks to Marc Wojno, chairman of the NPC history committee, who organized the luncheon.

“Edward Murrow is a symbol of what can be achieved in broadcast journalism,” says Marc Wojno, chair of the Club’s History Committee, who organized the luncheon. “This event was highly attended, from college students to Club Owls, which shows how much this man was admired and respected by his fellow journalists.”


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