Academic journal article Journalism History

Staying Tuned: A Life in Journalism

Academic journal article Journalism History

Staying Tuned: A Life in Journalism

Article excerpt

Schorr, Daniel. Staying Tuned: A Life in Journalism. New York: Pocket Books, 2001. 354 pp. $26.95.

John Kenneth Galbraith said of Daniel Schorr's Clearing the Air (1977), "It is exactly what you would expect: it is dear, interesting, carefully documented, unpretentious and merciless in its contempt for executive evasion, cowardice and smuggery, whether in the United States or the executive reaches of the Columbia Broadcasting System." Ditto for Staying Tuned: A Life in Journalism, with this emendation: "whether in the White House, CBS, the Soviet Union, Russia, Germany, Cable News Network, or the CIA." And, as the useful index shows, that's not all.

Schorr's journey from childhood through his journalistic career (both print and electronic) illustrates his professional ethics and deep-digging investigative style for which he set the highest standards and evoked from powerful critics the sobriquet "SOB." Readers follow the historical growth of radio and television news gathering, beginning with Ed Murrow, on to Schorr's distinguished career at CBS, through the birth of Ted Turner's CNN with Bernard Shaw, and currently with National Public Radio. The personal side includes his marriage at age fifty and his children's perceptions of the history which swirled around their lives.

Schorr's critical analysis does not spare the news media: "I end up worrying about the downside of advancing media technology and economics," he writes, "the pressures from media conglomerates to transform journalism into a quest for the vivid, the violent, the scandalous, and the sensational."

This is a primer on journalism's vital role as a public educator about American foreign relations, politics and parties, Civil Rights, and the presidency. …

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