In late October 2002, I received a letter from Hana Lane, senior editor at the John Wiley & Sons publishing house. She invited me to become one of the authors for a new series of volumes Wiley called Turning Points. “In the spirit of the ‘Penguin Lives’ series of short biographies,” Hana wrote, “these books are capsule histories on significant moments.” Other authors in the series included Alan Dershowitz, Eleanor Clift, Douglas Brinkley, William F. Buckley, Jr., William Least Heat Moon, Sir Martin Gilbert, Thomas Fleming, and my public radio colleagues Scott Simon and Martin Goldsmith. Seemed like good company to me, so I agreed. I asked if I could write about Edward R. Murrow, who had been the force behind two turning points—the establishment of radio as a source of original journalism in 1938 and the establishment of television as a source of original journalism in 1951. Wiley agreed to that, and we had a book deal. It was perfect for me. Wiley wanted fewer than two hundred pages, and the focus would be narrow—Murrow as broadcast journalism pioneer, not his whole life. I could easily write this book in afternoons and on weekends and not have to take a leave of absence. So that’s how I spent my spare time throughout 2003—writing my Murrow book to be published in 2004.
Andy Danyo of NPR’s corporate communications department was excited about the book because it would give her a tool for promoting me. A classics major when she was at the University of Georgia, Andy