Cover image for This is London
This is London
Murrow, Edward R.
Personal Author:
First Schocken Books edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Schocken Books, 1941.
Physical Description:
ix, 237 pages ; 21 cm.
General Note:
Reprint. Originally published: New York : Simon and Schuster, 1941.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
D760.8.L7 M8 1941 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Non circulating

On Order


Author Notes

Edward R. Murrow's achievements as a pioneer of journalism in the new media of radio and television continue to resonate in broadcasting today. His legacy is particularly relevant to the debate within the television industry between those who advocate making news broadcasts entertaining and those who want to uphold the values of serious journalism.

Murrow was born in Greensboro, North Carolina, and grew up in Washington state. His youthful travel for the National Student Foundation gave him an internationalist outlook. He joined CBS in 1935, and four years later was working in London as European news chief when World War II broke out. "I'm standing on a rooftop looking out over London. . . ." So began Murrow's first live radio coverage of the London Blitz. His dramatic and descriptive nightly broadcasts "laid the dead of London at our doors," as poet Archibald MacLeish (see Vol. 1) said at a dinner honoring the 33-year-old Murrow when he returned to America a star in late 1941.

Murrow had an admiring boss, William S. Paley, the founder of the Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS). Together they made CBS the best news broadcaster in America. Murrow's See it Now television broadcasts brought important events into the living rooms of America. On one memorable occasion in 1954, he attacked Joseph McCarthy, the Senate demagogue who was exploiting the postwar fear of Communist subversives in high places.

Murrow's dark good looks framed in cigarette smoke and his evocative phrasing made him a success in the hearts as well as the minds of his viewers. Murrow the dignified newsman on See it Now represented the serious side of broadcast journalism. But Murrow the star was the popular host of Person to Person, a live interview show featuring celebrities in their homes---with a two-way hookup between him and his subject.

As the audience for network television expanded, so did profits, and Paley and Murrow grew apart. In a speech to broadcast journalists that Paley interpreted as critical of him, Murrow said: "Television in the main is being used to distract, delude, amuse, and insulate us. . . . This instrument can teach, it can illuminate; yes, it can even inspire. But it can do so only to the extent that humans are determined to use it to those ends. Otherwise, it is merely wires and lights in a box."

By 1961 the Murrow-Paley relationship had cooled, and Murrow's authority at the network had diminished along with his health, for lung cancer had stricken the famous smoker. When President John F. Kennedy offered him the directorship of the U.S. Information Agency that year, he accepted. His battle with lung cancer ended with his death in 1965.

When Murrow left CBS, the broadcast critic of The New York Times wrote:"To whatever extent television has found its voice of conscience, purpose and integrity, it was as much the doing of Edward R. Murrow as [of] any other single individual in one medium."

(Bowker Author Biography)