Edward R. Murrow was a CBS radio and television news craftsman who went on to head the U.S. Information Agency.
Murrow's reputation as a bold, innovative and steely principled journalist embraces not only his war reporting on radio but also his TV series "See It Now," which became the prototype of the in-depth documentary when it ran on CBS in prime time from 1952 to 1955.
Murrow's international reputation stemmed first from his World War II broadcasts from London. They were a vivid re-creation for American radio listeners of the courage and tenacity of the British people during Hitler's air blitz.
"This — is London," was the way Murrow began his blitz broadcasts.
Those famous words have crackled through history just as they did across the airwaves when Edward R. Murrow spoke them from a city aflame from German bombs in the early years of World War II.
Just as his voice then provided Americans with a daily link to the suffering of England, so does the mere mention of his name today connect us to the glory days of news broadcasting.
Before he became the golden icon of television news, Murrow used radio to redefine war reporting, transforming his microphone into an electronic ear and informing listeners not about soldiers but about the unsung heroism of civilians. He spoke of death and destruction, of Londoners routinely filing into underground air raid shelters to escape the blitzkrieg, of "those black-faced men with bloodshot eyes . . . fighting fires."
During the war, Murrow recruited one of the best news-gathering organizations the radio industry had seen to that time. After the war, he became the top telecaster for CBS and served briefly as the network vice president in charge of news.
His was a deep, resonant voice — some compared it to a voice of doom.
Murrow entered television in 1951 with a documentary program "See It Now." There followed a home interview show "Person to Person," and his last CBS program was "CBS Reports."