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1940s Newscasting: The Murrow Boys

1940s Wartime Newscasting: CBS Murrow Boys

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The Murrow Boys (Murrow's Boys) / Via

The World War of the 40s gave rise to lots of media coverage and newscasting in the 1940s. Most notably Edward R. Murrow, and his creation of "The Murrow Boys" CBS News radio broadcasters during and before the second world war.


( The CBS wartime office in London, from left: Richard C. Hottelet, Charles Shaw, Larry LeSueur, Edward R. Murrow, and seated, Janet Murrow.) The Murrow Boys updated America from various countries in Europe about the conflicts and victories of the second world war.

Mary Marvin Breckinridge Patterson


Breckinridge was a popular cinematographer (The Forgotten Frontier 1930) and photojournalist with publications in Vogue, National Geographic, Harper's Bazaar and more. The first female reporter to be hired as part of The Murrow Boys, and the first female to be head of office in Amsterdam. She went by her middle name to avoid prejudice as well as sharing a name with her well-known cousin, a nurse with the Frontier Nursing Service.

Censorship and foreign government policies

Censorship was really important reporting in Europe because not all countries have equivalent press laws and regulations. The reporters often times hid discrete meanings or reported things which required the audience to read between the lines. At least 3 censors from the Foreign Office, the Propaganda Ministry, and the Military had to stamp their approval on the reports from the foreign correspondents.

Breckinridge subtly got her point across and through the censors when she reported on the socialist newspaper, Voelkische Beobachter "censors struck out one of her sentences about Hitler's and other's financial investment in the newspaper. But the censors left her last phrase uncorrected: 'The motto of this important official paper is Freedom and Bread. There is still bread.'"

"This is London"

Edward R. Murrow's iconic greeting, he became popular throughout the war, rising to celebrity status, reporting from London (until 1946) In 1945, Murrow became the vice president of the network and head of CBS broadcast news. After the war, he was one of the first reporters to cover the newly liberated Buchenwald concentration camp in April, 1945.

Edward R. Murrow

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Murrow's famous address to McCarthy. His catchphrase, "Good night and Good luck" became common slang. His critique of McCarthyism in 1954 is said to have led to McCarthy's downfall.

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