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For immediate release
October 24, 2005
Chad Campbell, NPR: | 202.513.2304

We Wondered, 'Who In Television Would Have The Guts To Take Him On?"

Journalism Pioneer and NPR Senior News Analyst Daniel Schorr On Working With Murrow, Six Decades As A Groundbreaking Journalist And The Current State Of News And Broadcasting

Washington, D.C. -- With the release of George Clooney's feature film "Good Night, and Good Luck" recalling Edward R. Murrow's showdown with Senator Joseph McCarthy, the spotlight has turned back on "Murrow's Boys," the journalist's legendary team of protegés whose impact on news remains unequalled. Only one of Murrow's Boys remains still fully active as a working journalist: Daniel Schorr, NPR senior news analyst. At the age of 89, Schorr currently offers perspective on national and global events for such NPR broadcasts as All Things Considered, Weekend Edition Saturday and Weekend Edition Sunday, and participates in NPR live coverage of major events.

Frequently asked to speak about his mentor, Schorr explains, "For me, and for my colleagues, Murrow set the standard for truthful reporting. Long after he was gone, a reporter would ask another, 'What do you think Murrow would have thought of this?'" As a young reporter, Schorr was recruited by Murrow in 1953 - the same year as the McCarthy confrontation depicted in the film. He recalls, "I covered the McCarthy hearings day-by-day along with colleagues. We found McCarthy disgusting and wondered who in television would have the guts to take him on. Murrow and Fred Friendly did, in a 'See It Now' program that made CBS executives nervous, from Bill Paley down."

Schorr's own work with Murrow included reporting from Moscow for the evening radio news program. "On visits to New York, I would be debriefed by Murrow, who had a way of making a reporter look more important than he was. And then there was the annual year-end Years of Crisis on television, where Murrow guided us through an analysis of world events." As most students of journalism know, Schorr went on to his own fame through six decades of work. He spent 20 years as a foreign correspondent and his accomplishments include opening CBS News' first Moscow bureau in 1955 and landing the first-ever television interview with Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev, before being barred from the country in 1957 by the KGB for his defiance of censorship there.

Schorr returned to national reporting in 1966 and such stories as civil rights, urban and environmental issues. In 1972, he was named CBS' full-time chief Watergate correspondent, and his work earned him three Emmy Awards. He unexpectedly found himself becoming part of the news when the Watergate hearings revealed an "enemies list" that included Schorr's name and evidence that President Richard Nixon had ordered he be investigated by the FBI. This "abuse of a Federal agency" figured as one count in the Bill of Impeachment on which Nixon would have been tried, had he not resigned in August 1974. Schorr again made unexpected headlines in 1976 when he obtained and had published an exclusive copy of the final report of the House of Representatives' intelligence investigating committee, in opposite of their vote to suppress the document. In the House Ethics Committee investigation, Schorr was publicly threatened with jail for contempt of Congress if he did not disclose his source, a challenge he refused on First Amendment grounds. The committee ultimately decided 6 to 5 against a contempt citation and Schorr's stance has been a tentpole in journalistic freedom.

After being part of the team that launched CNN and serving as its senior Washington correspondent, Schorr joined NPR in 1985, becoming the first high-profile television journalist to join the non-profit news organization. "I believed that radio was a better medium for truth-telling than television, which almost demands fiddling with the facts. Murrow had deep reservations about the celebrity interviews he had to do to get the right to do more substantive programs. I have no doubt that if Murrow were alive today, he would be at NPR."

NPR is renowned for journalistic excellence and standard-setting news and entertainment programming. A privately supported, non-profit, membership organization, NPR serves a growing audience of 26 million Americans each week in partnership with more than 780 public radio stations. International partners in cable, satellite and short-wave services make NPR programming accessible anywhere in the world. With original online content and audio streaming, offers hourly newscasts, special features and eight years of archived audio and information.