Maryland Remembers Edward R. Murrow

Released: 11-Oct-2005 2:30 PM EDT
Source Newsroom: University of Maryland, College Park
Add to Favorites
Contact Information

Available for logged-in reporters only

Newswise — The Library of American Broadcasting (LAB) at the University of Maryland helped provide photos and other materials for actor George Clooney's new movie about legendary CBS newsman Edward R. Murrow. Good Night, and Good Luck (Warner Independent Pictures) documents the events surrounding Murrow's showdown in 1954 with Senator Joseph R. McCarthy (R-Wisc.), and his controversial anti-Communist crusade.

LAB Curator Chuck Howell says reference photos and other materials were provided in support of the movie, which Director George Clooney (who also played Murrow's producer Fred Friendly in the film) spent two years researching. The materials were used in part to help set designers recreate the original CBS newsroom and studios used in 1954. The LAB's archives include more than 250,000 photographs donated by Broadcasting and Cable Magazine that covers 1931 to the present. Please see - Cataloging Broadcast History One Photo at a Time ( for more information about the Don West Broadcasting and Cable Photo Archives. There are a number of Murrow photos in that archive from his days in radio and television.

Howell says, "The shadow of Edward R. Murrow is a long one. More than forty years after his passing, his influence continues to be felt, both directly and indirectly, in the mass media of 2005. George Clooney's timely new film is only the best known example of this."

Professor Lee Thornton holds the Eaton Broadcast Chair at Maryland's Philip Merrill College of Journalism, and as a young reporter worked for CBS news in New York. She says Murrow's importance to broadcast journalism "simply can't be overstated," adding, "The place was imbued with his lesson: "Who'll know? I'll know!' That was all about the highest journalistic ethics."

Professor Chris Hanson has written extensively about ethics in journalism. He says "Murrow practically invented broadcast journalism and remained its conscience to the end of his days. He stood up not only to bullies like Joe McCarthy, but against the timidity and shallowness of commercial network executives."

Journalism Professor Douglas Gomery is the first Resident Scholar at the Library of American Broadcasting. He says "After the war, Murrow and (CBS owner William) Paley clashed often about the reporting of controversial issues such as Murrow's continuous smoking while on air. Paley kept Murrow on, and on one occasion - the subject of Clooney's movie - permitted Murrow to take on controversy, in this case Sen. Joseph McCarthy. But that was the exception, and Murrow's Person to Person paid the bills."

Sue Kopen Katcef teaches newswriting and production for broadcast journalism students, and helps with operation of the student television newsroom at UMTV, the cable channel operated by the College. She says Murrow's "ethics, tenacity and dedication in pursuit of the truth coupled with his sense of fairness and belief in constitutional rights are, indeed, something young journalists would be wise to aspire to. She says, "Perhaps a movie like "Good Night, and Good Luck" will open lots of young eyes and encourage discussion about what constitutes 'good' journalism."

The media is invited to talk with any of these staff and faculty experts. You'll find them in our Murrow Hot Topic page . Please feel free to contact our experts directly.

On the web at:

Promote your organization’s experts with Expert Pitch.
Reporters: follow @Expert_Pitch to receive instant updates via Twitter
Looking for a different expert? Reporters can submit an
Expert Query.