Academic journal article Journalism History

Electronic Media Reviews -- "The Edward R. Murrow Collection" (Five Volumes)

Academic journal article Journalism History

Electronic Media Reviews -- "The Edward R. Murrow Collection" (Five Volumes)

Article excerpt

"The Edward R. Murrow Collection." Terre Haute, IN: Columbia House Video, 1993. Running time 4:15. Available in five volumes/tapes. $29.95 per volume. All five available as a set, $99.

It is becoming more difficult to conceive of the study of journalism history as being confined to only books, journals, and other printed matter. Enough distance has now come between significant journalistic events, as recorded on television, and the serious study of the role of the media in those events in history. And, with the easy availability of VHS video recordings of earlier eras of TV, precious moments captured on visual images can be used in the classroom as well as the scholar's study.

Perhaps the best example of this testimony is the collection that includes significant milestones in broadcast journalist history--the various voices and images from the 1940s to 1960 included in the productions of Edward R. Murrow. Each of the five tapes available in this collection looks at a different aspect of Murrow, each a different piece of the Murrow composite. Each of the five is also hosted/narrated by a different contemporary broadcast journalist.

Volume I: Reporter is narrated by Charles Kuralt and overviews the legacy of Murrow--how he captured and dramatized the world in which we live. It becomes obvious that Murrow's voice, his face, and his compelling way with words are all part of the compelling stories we see. The combination of carefully written style, together with the tone, the words, the images all make a striking impact from this new window on the world. It may be that all imitations since have not matched the caliber. Yet there is a mastery of substance over the television form that screams for attention.

Kuralt notes that Murrow tells us about the worst people among us--and the best: human beings of curiosity, integrity, intelligence and courage. Of such is the stuff from which this series is made.

Volume II: The Best of See It Now should be required viewing for any student of television, mid-twentieth century culture, documentary style, or simply news. The first "See It Now" starts the tape. It was November 18, 1951 For the first time viewers were able to see the East and West coasts of the United States simultaneously. Murrow, like many people watching, understood the implications of the power of television. He was "impressed." Snatches and pieces of Korean War images, the flooding Mississippi, racism in the South, debates on elections coverage, atomic energy, Carl Sandberg and Grandma Moses are all seen on this tape. The program was a forerunner to television's most successful news magazine, "60 Minutes," and all the successors and imitators. It seta pattern, and a study of just the images of that early template could fill volumes. …

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