Broadcast Journalism In Postwar America

Throughout the remainder of the 1940s, the liberal crusading spirit that emerged from the nation’s war effort was notable in radio journalism. It was a new era, but the enemies of civilization remained threatening. Drew Pearson was especially timely in this sense in July 1946 with his attacks upon the Ku Klux Klan and upon the white supremacist former governor of Georgia, Eugene Talmadge. To make his criticism even more dramatic, Pearson travelled to the steps of the Georgia statehouse in Atlanta and in a rainstorm broadcast his quarter-hour program on ABC. Pearson also created a furor a year later when he charged that Representative Robert F. Jones, nominated to the FCC by President Truman, was a former member of the notorious Black Legion, a racist and revolutionary secret society of the mid-1930s.

In a less flamboyant manner, Raymond Gram Swing of ABC urged radio to take a more active role in educating listeners and spreading what he termed a "greater social intelligence." He was especially aroused on his final ABC newscast on January 25, 1948, when he chided broadcasters for being too "lax in projecting social problems with stimulation and excitement, and as a means of uniting the people." At CBS, Murrow became a vice president in 1946 and for the ten months he served in that post, he brought his liberal views to bear on news programming. He introduced programs such as As Others See Us, a series delving into the image of America abroad, CBS Is There (later called You Are There) which used regular news reporters to recreate historical events, and CBS Views the Press, a controversial series in which CBS News critically assessed radio and print journalism.

The press conference became an integral part of radio in 1945 with the debut of two significant series, Our Foreign Policy and Meet the Press. Both series presented American and world leaders being publically questioned by renowned journalists. Although the former series lapsed after several years, Meet the Press ultimately branched into television and until the present day has provided a rich source for better understanding contemporary history.

The most active area of broadcast journalism explored in the postwar period was the presentation of radio documentaries. The documentary was an attempt to present deep analysis of critical issues and relevant historical materials by presenting dramatic recreation and actual voices in a written script. Such packaging added theatricality and educative value to the reporting of news, and it helped emphasize the import of matters needed to be considered by an informed citizenry.

With one notable exception, until this period the documentary was practically absent from broadcasting. The March of Time, which appeared on CBS from 1931 until 1945, was the first serious attempt in radio to present news in a documentary format. Essentially, the series was Time magazine presented as radio drama. By reproducing with professional actors the voices and actions of current newsmakers, this weekly series recapitulated news events and presented them in a style which blended traditional reporting with melodrama.

During the war, of course, the necessity of informing Americans about battles, political developments, and domestic conditions compelled networks to produce more in-depth studies of significant occurrences. With this impetus, by the late 1940s radio had evolved toward a full realization of the potential of the documentary. The most aggressive network in this field was CBS. In 1946, it established a special documentary unit. Under the direction of Robert Heller, this organization followed a policy of "creating an explosion" with its documentary programs treating subjects ranging from contemporary social problems, to the life and letters of Abraham Lincoln, to the state of American education.

The CBS format was quickly adopted by Mutual and ABC, and by mid-1947 both of these broadcasters were steadily producing documentaries, many of which gained critical praise. As for NBC, it occasionally produced documentaries. But instead of the one-time or short-series patterns in which documentaries usually fell, NBC executives preferred regularly scheduled public-service programs that were less complicated to produce and presumably less expensive to the network.

In seeking to understand the tenor of life in the postwar period, a perusal of the topics of documentary broadcasts reveals a broad, generalized evaluation of American society and its values. The implications of the atomic age were often considered. In 1946 and 1947, ABC produced special broadcasts on the anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima. Atomic energy was the focus of The Sunny Side of the Atom on CBS in July 1947, and on a four-part series, Atom and You on Mutual in September 1948. One of the more ambitious documentaries produced at NBC was a four-part series, The Fifth Horseman, which in the summer of 1946, probed various aspects of the atom and its relationship to postwar society.

Documentaries also presented glaringly shameful pictures of inequities within American life. ABC revealed the ugliness of inadequate housing in May 1947, in a special broadcast, Slums. Mixing recordings of slum dwellers with a frank discussion between representatives of private institutional investment organizations and public housing advocates, the program clearly left its listeners with the conclusion that the menace of slums could only be solved by American citizens and government realizing that they must take care of public health and security.

Juvenile delinquency was a frequent theme in postwar documentary programming. One of the more impressive achievements in this regard was The Eagle's Brood, produced by CBS in March 1947. The broadcast featured Joseph Cotten and Luther Adler and probed with brutal frankness the deleterious effect delinquency was having upon American democracy. It suggested, moreover, that it could only be cured by the people most responsible for it: members of the adult generation.

There were other social maladies that received probative treatment by the radio documentary. A Mutual program in December 1947, Wanted: A Baby, discussed the black market in buying and selling babies; A Short Life and a Merry One was a CBS study in 1947 of the state of public health; Malice Toward None, an NBC broadcast in February 1948, was indicative of many public affairs programs promoting brotherhood among all citizens; Marriage in Distress on NBC in September 1948 dealt with the alarming rise in the American divorce rate and the collapse of marriages in general; and on ABC 1960?? Jiminy Cricket!! creatively employed characters from Walt Disney movies—Donald Duck, Jiminy Cricket, and the Seven Dwarfs—to dramatize in September 1947 a timely scientific treatise on the future needs and resources of the United States.

While newscasters and commentators spent much time keeping listeners abreast of world political developments, the radio documentary investigated social problems around the world. In such a manner, many Americans could not escape the conclusion that domestic inequities were matched by problems abroad. In a five-part series, The Third Horseman, NBC in the fall of 1947 introduced audiences to the famine and death being created by food production problems around the world. In Crusade for Children in August, 1948, CBS blended guest stars (including General Dwight D. Eisenhower) and the documentary to proclaim the plight of children orphaned and maimed by war, disease, and famine. The most stunning moment in this program occurred when Edward R. Murrow introduced a tape recording of a blind and armless Italian boy, a victim of bombings during the war, who was trying to learn Braille by using the tip of his nose.

Mother Earth, an NBC documentary in late 1948, focused upon man's plundering of the earth's natural resources. And a striking achievement in this vein was One World Flight, a special series of broadcasts on CBS in December 1947. Utilizing wire recordings made during his four-month tour of the world, Norman Corwin presented sound images of a single world that was ideologically divided into two Cold War camps. Instead of showing the traditional view of world leaders and common people determined to develop a harmonious postwar world, Corwin's frank series suggested that tension, hatred, and self-interest ruled most people.

Most documentaries were special broadcasts heard only once. But in Living-1948, introduced in February 1948, NBC commenced a long-running, continuing series of documentaries. Aired on Sunday afternoons, this half-hour series changed its title each year and lasted until Living-1951. Subject matter on the program ranged from the most current political developments—speeches by many of the presidential candidates in 1948, a post-election explanation of his inaccurate polling by George Gallup, an analysis of the Marshall Plan—to considerations of social problems confronting postwar American civilization—air pollution, cancer, housing, population growth, mental health, highway safety—and to subjects that were not usually the focus of documentary programs—the circus, the state of American humor, the status of women, the Olympic games, baseball, and prayer in American culture.

One of the more compelling programs was "Ride the Tiger." Aired on February 2, 1949, the show was structured as a birthday message to George Washington, but it amounted to a consideration of the legacy of the American Revolution, and its rivalry with the Communist Revolution for ascendancy in the contemporary world. Eschewing shallow rhetoric and patriotic clichés, the program called for the rededication of the United States as a world force for revolutionary change. It warned that Lenin had realized the importance of ideology and technology as revolutionizing exports, and that it was time for America and its citizens to assist the have-not nations of the world. The essence of the program was crystallized in a dramatized conversation wherein a French woman warned an American friend.

    Woman: Through the things you make, through your movies, your magazines, you Americans have become the terrible instigators of social change and hope.
    American: Whoa! Yes, I suppose we do think of ourselves as peddlers of light and progress, but as the agents of revolution ...
    Woman: Oh, don't be naive. Being an agent of revolution is the great role of our times. If you don't play it, others will.

Broadcast at a time when American foreign policy through the Marshall Plan was only beginning its deep involvement in the rehabilitation of war-torn Europe, and its commitment to assisting economically- and technologically-underdeveloped nations, this program in the Living-1949 series illustrated the timeliness and perceptiveness that the radio documentary could achieve.

Certainly, the Cold War affected broadcast journalism. Even in as moderate a series as Living 1949, the implications of the great ideological struggle between Communism and Liberal Democracy was obvious. In the postwar years, that international rivalry would be protracted and have decisive effects upon American news analysts.

As part of its pattern of free speech, American radio had always employed conservative and ultra-conservative commentators. Since the late 1930s, broadcasters like Fulton Lewis, Jr., Upton Close, and H.R. Knickerbocker were heard regularly on national radio. Moreover, others like Walter Winchell found themselves more and more allied with conservative commentators as their patriotism, a liberal virtue when the international threat was right-wing fascism, became increasingly reactionary as the fear of leftist Communism mounted. Assisting this evolution in popular thought were the many congressional investigations which insinuated that Communist Party members and their fellow-travelers were actively subverting American film, radio, and television, as well as government, trade unions, and other socio-political institutions.

By 1949, sponsors had sensed the new mood of conservatism and had begun to withdraw support for radio newsmen they felt might alienate listeners with their moderate or liberal slant to the news. When William L. Shirer lost his sponsor and his evening newscast at CBS that year, he resigned and blamed his fall on the incompatibility of his liberal perspective with network policy. Even earlier, the liberal political journal, The New Republic, reported in January 1947 that since the end of the war the four networks had already dropped two dozen left-of-center commentators. One year later, Variety opined that not only had more liberal journalists dropped away, but that those who remained were "not only conservative, but what's worse, not intelligent."

Among those conservative commentators who were definitely not unintelligent were Fulton Lewis, Jr., and Walter Winchell. Lewis had been an isolationist broadcaster on Mutual in the early 1940s, and his criticism of the policy of the New Deal did not end with the war or the death of President Roosevelt. By 1948, Lewis was the chief radio spokesman for the anti-Communist side in the Alger Hiss case. Lewis prominently featured the statements of politicians like Richard M. Nixon who accused Hiss of being but one link in the chain of Soviet spies and traitors in the United States. Lewis also painted with the same anti-Communist brush many whose reputations might have been expected to be above reproach.

In his broadcast of December 6, 1948, for instance, he noted that “behind the scenes, for your information, this Alger Hiss was one of the fair-haired pets of Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt, and those who want to see this case followed out to its full conclusion are fearful that that fact will influence the Department of Justice, cause it to turn the facts against Whittaker Chambers in favor of Alger Hiss.”

And Lewis would use the Hiss case to question rhetorically the purpose and loyalty of the entire Truman administration when he remarked:

The frightening part of the whole thing is this: this incident we stumbled into quite by accident ... how many more like it are in existence unknown to us? Does this begin to answer the question of why our State Department behaves so peculiarly whenever Soviet Russia is involved in anything? Does this begin to answer the silly procedure about giving the racehorses back to Soviet-dominated nations after the war? And the reluctance to do anything about the Chinese aid program? And the other dozens of unanswerable mysteries that come along day by day to contradict the purported policy of firmness toward a nation that is causing us tremendous trouble? It's worth thinking about, and this case particularly is worth watching, too, lest by some remote chance those fears about the Department of justice might be true.

Primarily because of his hostility to totalitarian government, Walter Winchell on ABC by the late 1940s had evolved from an outspoken anti-Nazi liberal to an inveterate anti-Communist conservative. And what made Winchell most effective was that he was the most popular commentator in radio. In September 1947, he unleashed a vitriolic attack upon the U.S.S.R. which prompted the Soviet ambassador in Washington to denounce him as a warmonger. But Winchell's blasts were eagerly accepted by many Americans seeking to comprehend the new posture of America in world affairs, and trying to understand the aims of Soviet policy. According to Winchell:

The Third World War is already being fought.... We are losing it.... When the Communists are ready, there will be fifty Pearl Harbors, atomic explosions erasing our cities.... The Communists have germ warfare already.... 'The cholera plague in Egypt is suspected abroad of being a Soviet experiment.... The next countries the Russians intend to grab are Italy and France as a base to attack Great Britain.... Trained Communist spies are among us locating targets for the sneak attack.... We must start rearming now.

Clearly, at this time there was being created in U.S. society a hostile political environment in which loyalty was questioned as readily as policy was criticized. The tensions, in fact, began almost as soon as the war had ended. On September 4, 1945, for example, Edwin C. Hill of CBS suggested in his broadcast that President Roosevelt and Vice-President Henry Wallace were responsible for the Pearl Harbor disaster four years earlier. Earl Godwin of ABC on November 1, 1945 staunchly defended the controversial House Committee on Un-American Activities as it engaged in "the age-old fight of God and the Devil, Light versus Darkness, Christianity versus Heathenism." And Upton Close of Mutual that same month lashed out at "Communistic propaganda" in the American media, and warned that “the nation is getting sick and tired of voices spouting the Moscow line.”

The fever of anti-Communism spread to other journalistic endeavors. Communism was frequently exposed in documentaries. One of the most celebrated broadcasts on ABC was Communism—U.S. Brand, a network special in August 1948, which relentlessly presented American Communism as an allegiance to a radical foreign power and, therefore, treasonable. A timely and well-produced program, it won a Peabody Award for its skill in revealing the purported subversion being carried on by American Communists.

The specter of anti-Communism even reached the Hollywood gossip columnists. When Humphrey Bogart helped produce two anti-HUAC radio specials entitled Hollywood Fights Back!, at the same time he led a procession of prominent movie stars to Washington, D.C. to protest Committee hearings, Louella Parsons on November 9, 1947, publicly warned Bogart not to let his liberal politics involve him with Communists. As she phrased it on his radio program of November 9, 1947, "Humphrey Bogart is a loyal American," and "actors, of course, should have their civil rights protected," however, "stop, look, and listen before you get yourself involved in causes that can be grossly misunderstood."

Throughout the 1950s broadcast journalism expanded its technique and coverage. The perfection of tape recording by the late 1940s made it practical to include the voices of newsmakers in news and documentary programs. And although documentaries faded in popularity in 1949, within two years they were on an upswing again, due primarily to the interest in factual programs generated by the broadcast of the investigation of organized crime conducted by Senator Estes Kefauver. As might be anticipated, crime became a favorite topic in these documentaries. Programs ranged in focus from studies of gambling and illegal immigration from Mexico, to narcotics and the threat of organized crime. By the end of 1951, moreover, utilization of actual voices of newsmakers, a documentary technique, was being successfully employed by local reporters in regular newscasts in Chicago. Here, primarily at WMAQ (NBC) and WBBM (CBS), roving reporters were recording newsmakers, and even broadcasting directly from the scene of local events. It was a technique that soon would be widely duplicated nationally.

The most ambitious innovation in this regard was the introduction on December 15, 1950, of Hear It Now. Produced and written at CBS by the team of Edward R. Murrow and Fred W. Friendly, this program was patterned after a series of successful record albums created by the same team. Narrated by Murrow, the "I Can Hear It Now" albums brought voices of newsmakers of the past thirty years into the homes of millions. The radio venture attempted to do the same for contemporary newsmakers, to develop, as Friendly termed it, "pictures for the ear."

On the premier program, for instance, listeners heard a variegated broadcast which included actual interviews from Korea, Montana, New York City, and Lake Success. Heard on that opening program were, among others, George C. Marshall, Bernard Baruch, Walter Reuther, Judy Holliday, and Carl Sandburg. The series enjoyed immediate popularity. Broadcast during prime time at 9:00 P.M. on Fridays, it received a Peabody Award after its first few months on the air. It also inspired imitative programming by other networks as both Voices and Events at NBC, and Week Around the World at ABC adopted the format. Hear It Now eventually moved to TV. After leaving the air in June 1951, it reappeared five months later as a CBS television series, See It Now.

While innovative strides were being achieved in broadcast journalism, the political climate within the United States in the early 1950s was disintegrative. Pressures of the Cold War, coupled with the fears and ignorance of many Americans regarding Communism and domestic and international political forces, created a climate in which many mistook the self-assuredness of anti-Communism as a sign of authoritative Truth. When publications like Red Channels listed 150 celebrities and accused them of being Communists, fellow-travelers, or former members of subversive organizations, a sizable portion of the population accepted the publication's assertions unquestioningly and condemned those on the list as treasonable and dangerous.

When in December 1950 NBC broadcast a public service program sponsored by the American Civil Liberties Union honoring the Bill of Rights on the 159th anniversary of its adoption, hundreds of letters and telegrams protested the airing of such "pro-Communist" material. One radio newsman, Don Hollenbeck of CBS, was driven to suicide in 1954, in part because of chronic newspaper attacks upon his loyalty and patriotism.

Two strategic developments help account for this intense national distrust.

With the outbreak of war in Korea in June 1950, American troops were once again involved in open hostilities. Less than five years after World War II, soldiers were being drafted, uniformed, trained, and shipped overseas to wage a war that was never satisfactorily explained. Although it was alleged to be a war to stop Communist aggression by North Korea, it often assumed the guise of a battle to unite the Korean peninsula under either South or North Korean hegemony. And after nearly three years of war, the conflagration ended in a stalemate—neither side defeated, neither side willing to use atomic weaponry, and neither side making any headway in conquering the other.

Radio coverage of the war was adequate, but the public taste for the battle was not there. Communications with the Far East were never as sophisticated as the shortwave facilities in Europe during World War II. There were no Murrows standing bravely in Trafalgar Square, although Murrow did make two journeys to Korea and reported from foxholes and military installations. There was no George Hicks to report on enemy aerial bombardment of American shipping, nor an H. V. Kaltenborn to travel abroad to interview respected American generals. In fact, in this war the President of the United States actually discharged his commanding general on grounds of insubordination.

The most pressing reason for the climate of internal disharmony rested with the domestic politics of anti-Communism. Hatred of Communism as a radical socialist system of government began with the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia in 1917. It was exacerbated by the weakening of capitalism that was the Great Depression. And the Roosevelt administration with its aggressive New Deal policies only intensified the right’s distrust of the left. By the 1950s anti-Communism as a popular crusade challenged the fundamental principles of the American republic. This was the result of the coalescing of the crusade around the politically blunt and brutal personality of Senator Joseph R. McCarthy of Wisconsin. Not since Father Coughlin was a champion of the political right so able to exploit the communications media and build himself a national reputation as chief inquisitor in the purge of the disloyal.

McCarthy stood before microphones and announced that he had the names of hundreds of Communists who had infiltrated the government. Utilizing his chairmanship of a special Senate investigatory committee, he cajoled and threatened subpoenaed witnesses, intimidated elected officials, and ultimately questioned the loyalty of the leadership of the U.S. Army. A skillful propagandist, McCarthy was able to exploit the confusion prevalent in a nation thrust suddenly into the leadership of the non-Communist world.

For four years his ruthless behavior kept political leaders from both the Democratic and Republican parties silent in the face of his strength, and public opinion surveys showed he enjoyed massive national support. By the spring of 1954, for instance, a Gallup poll revealed that less than thirty percent of the public disapproved of his tactics.

McCarthy was not without powerful supporters and detractors among broadcast journalists. Especially strong in their backing of him were Fulton Lewis, Jr., and Walter Winchell.

On the other hand, Raymond Gram Swing resigned a position with the Voice of America because he felt the State Department would not support employees maligned by McCarthy. When McCarthy in 1954 charged that the legacy of the Democratic administrations since 1933 was "twenty years of treason," Elmer Davis eloquently answered the allegation by challenging the Republican party to chastise McCarthy. The senator and Drew Pearson had an open hatred between them since 1950, and on occasion Pearson used his radio program to assail the senator. Pearson even lost his sponsor, Adam hats, because of his anti-McCarthy broadcasts. Still, the most significant journalistic critic that McCarthy created proved to be Edward R. Murrow, and Murrow was on television. Although by early 1954 Murrow was anchoring the See It Now and Person to Person series on CBS-TV and broadcasting a daily radio news program, Edward R. Murrow and the News, he risked his career by attacking McCarthy at the pinnacle of his anti-Communist crusade. Importantly, Murrow avoided the familiar line of criticism which attacked the senator’s political quest to find Red subversives infiltrating federal employment. Murrow accepted the notion that traitors should be purged from the U.S. government. Instead, Murrow questioned the unconstitutional method by which, without seeing any evidence against them, without being permitted to face their accusers, and without due process of law, Americans were being accused of being traitors.

On March 9, 1954, on the regular telecast of See It Now, Murrow openly took on McCarthy. He showed film clips in which the senator was seen sternly questioning, or uttering malicious innuendoes about, innocent citizens. Murrow accused McCarthy of lies, half-truths, and exploitation of his senatorial immunity. Drawing upon personal democratic values that had been forged and confirmed in his years as a radio foreign correspondent, the CBS newsman ended his half-hour critique not with castigation of the senator, but with a charge to the American citizenry.

We will not walk in fear, one of another. We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason if we dig deep in our history and our doctrine and remember that we are not descended from fearful men, not from men who feared to write, to speak, to associate, and to defend causes that were for the moment unpopular. This is no time for men who oppose Senator McCarthy's methods to keep silent, or for those who approve. We can deny our heritage and our history, but we cannot escape responsibility for the result. There is no way for a citizen of a republic to abdicate his responsibilities. As a nation we have come into our full inheritance at a tender age. We proclaim ourselves—as indeed we are—the defenders of freedom, wherever it continues to exist in the world. But we cannot defend freedom abroad by deserting it at home. The actions of the junior senator from Wisconsin have caused alarm and dismay amongst our allies abroad and given considerable comfort to our enemies. And whose fault is that? Not really his. He didn't create this situation of fear, he merely exploited it—and rather successfully. Cassius was right: "The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars but in ourselves."

Although he was given time a month later to reply to Murrow's critique, McCarthy's popularity and invincibility began to wane. By the end of the year members of the Senate had found the courage to castigate and eventually to censure him. By the next year, the entire movement was in disarray and public support for McCarthy's methods collapsed. Murrow never believed that he was responsible for this transformation. Yet, he never doubted that broadcast journalism had a duty to offer informed and reasoned analysis, especially at times when a conspiracy of silence existed among other social institutions. In that See It Now telecast, Murrow was the first voice; others followed his lead. It was the highest achievement of broadcast journalism to that date.

It is significant that Murrow, one of the most important commentators in the history of radio, earned his greatest broadcasting achievement after he entered television. There can be no doubt that television by this date had replaced radio as the principal medium for information in mass America. McCarthy had been successful with radio and print media. But on television, his flamboyance and aggressiveness became liabilities. His rhetoric of crusade and purge became on television a revelation of his self-serving, shallow mentality. The age of television news was born on the evening Senator McCarthy was exposed.

Ominous for the new age, moreover, was another radio broadcast in 1954. On May 19 a panel of CBS correspondents joined other experts to discuss the future of Indo-China now that the French colonial power had collapsed at Dienbienphu. As narrated by Lowell Thomas, this hour-long conversation was especially interested in the nature of American involvement in the fighting there, the stake of the United States in the war, and "what the U.S. could do about straightening out the situation." Perhaps anticipating what would eventually become in Southeast Asia, America's first "television war," a reviewer concluded from the broadcast,

There were no pat answers, but for the listener it meant a new slant on that vast, far-off area. Threaded into a good part of the survey was one statement which everyone seemed to echo—that French colonialism is about ready to write its own obit and that Indo-China must be guaranteed freedom or the nation would be throttled by the Commies.

Radio had been born in news, and by the mid-and late 1950s, as its executives searched for new formulas by which to keep network broadcasting viable, radio returned to news. CBS allowed Murrow and Friendly to continue their presence in radio via a series of controversial documentaries. These ranged from an investigation of gang violence in urban America (Who Killed Michael Farmer?, April 21, 1958) and North Korean torture of American prisoners in the Korean War (P.O.W.—A Study of Survival, June 9, 1958) to professional sex in America (The Business of Sex, January 16, 1959) and the plight of educated women in U.S. society (The Educated Woman, April 30, 1959).

On a much broader scale, with the premier of Monitor at NBC in June 1955, the magazine format was applied to a full weekend of broadcasting. The pattern of Monitor was impressive. Mixing news, features, music, comedy, interviews, and the like, the format attempted to cover forty hours of programming from Saturday morning to Sunday evening. Although several traditional programs like Fibber McGee and Molly and Meet the Press were integrated into the program structure, most of the programming was new. Monitor, thus, produced a radio magazine that was deeply indebted to the news and documentary styles developed since the 1940s

This omnibus type of programming was emulated by other networks. Mutual in July 1955, introduced its "Companionate Radio" pattern, and in November 1955, ABC premiered its radio magazine format, "New Sounds," which simulated the Monitor style in the weekly evening hours. The success of Monitor, however, was not matched by another NBC production, Weekday, which for five hours daily organized daytime programming in the same magazine format. It premiered in November 1955. Although Monitor would last until the late 1960s, the other formats were ineffective against the challenge of television and local programming. By the 1960s, the prime function of network radio had dwindled to providing hourly news and special features to various local affiliates and subscribers.

In the three and one-half decades in which broadcast journalism was born and matured on radio, Americans experienced a growing sophistication and reliability within this new profession. The notion of the free press was expanded to include free broadcasting and telecasting. The localized audiences of the newspaper world became audiences of millions through broadcasting. The flow of information to the citizenry took a quantum leap through the electronic media. And the speed and efficiency of broadcasting came to mean faster and more in-depth news for a population with an ever-increasing level of intelligence. Broadcast journalism was not without its faults. But the most constructive criticism came not from effete politicians fearful of its probing style, but internally, from those who sought an even more effective professionalism. A product of radio, broadcast journalism had become one of the crucial dimensions of American freedom in the contemporary world.

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