Sam Litzinger's Home Page

A Cabinet of Curiosities

Sam Litzinger's
Good Journalists


Edward R. Murrow

AUDIO: an excerpt from a WWII report from London by Murrow

Ed Murrow has become the patron saint of broadcast journalists. I'm not sure how he'd feel about that, but his work is the gold standard for the rest of us who think radio and TV can still do some good in the great scheme of things. His first-person description of the Buchenwald concentration camp is as close to being a perfect radio report as we'll ever hear. 

AUDIO: an excerpt from Murrow's report on Buchenwald

 Which brings us to:



Richard C. Hottelet

AUDIO: an excerpt of a report by Hottelet on D-Day, June 6, 1944

Dick Hottelet worked with Murrow during World War II, then continued with a remarkable career at CBS News, covering international affairs, wars, politics and whatever else was going on in the world. (The photo above was taken outside 84 Hallam Street in London, where Ed Murrow lived during the war. Dick was the guest of honor at the Blue Plaque dedication ceremony, February 15, 2006.)
Dick is a precise, elegant writer and a reporter down to his bones. His account of the D-Day Invasion is a classic example of reporting, clearly and with economy, what he saw happening around him, which is what the best journalists do (as opposed to guessing, speculating, hypothesizing, or blowing smoke).

And then there's this fellow: 

 

Ben Bradlee

AUDIO: Bradlee talking about editing

Benjamin Crowninshield Bradlee. Now there's a name to conjure with. The guy's got a reputation as a journalism legend and deserves it. I had the chance to interview him and happened to remember he'd studied Ancient Greek at Harvard, so I thought I'd be a smarty-pants and ask him to do his microphone check in that language -- which he promptly did. His fellow journalist, the excellent Marvin Kalb, was also with us and he did his mic check in Middle English, at which point I knew I was way out of my depth. Bradlee's autobiography, A Good Life: Newspapering and Other Adventures, is a good read.

If you're an aspiring journalist, print or broadcast, study the work of these folks and you'll be off to a strong start.