Graduate school was not in my plans until I learned that enrolling in school for the fall term of 1971 could get me out of the army three months ahead of schedule. Education benefits under the GI Bill were not nearly as generous as those enjoyed by my father’s generation, but at least they would pay for books and supplies.
Temple University offered me a graduate assistantship, but Temple was not my first choice because it had no broadcast journalism program. I wrote to Professor Edward Bliss at American University in Washington, D.C., and told him about my situation. He called me back a week or two later to say he’d match the deal. Washington appealed to me because it was a serious news town; the contacts I could make there would help me reach my goal of having a national audience. But the real attraction of the broadcast journalism program at AU was Ed Bliss.
While still in Korea, I had read the catalogs of the few colleges offering graduate journalism degrees in those pre-Watergate years. None of the schools had a faculty star to match Ed Bliss, who had spent twentyfive years at CBS News writing and editing—first for Edward R. Murrow and then for the first five years of The CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite.
He had been where I wanted to go. Here was someone who could tell me how to get there. Once I got to know the man, his résumé became less remarkable than his many wonderful personal qualities.