News in twentieth century America; The newsman of the future
The following program was produced and recorded by the University of Michigan broadcasting service under a grant from the Educational Television and Radio Center in cooperation with the National Association of educational broadcasters news in 20th century America. A series of radio documents on the gathering writing and dissemination of news compiled from interviews with the men and women who make news their business. We have the potential for two directions in news. The newsman of the future it seems to me the Orwellian potential is a frightening one indeed. You will become more and more of a packet of news. He will think in terms of providing a gaudy wrapping for isolated chunks that can somehow be got up to attract the greatest possible mass audience in America even though it may have no real significance. The other potential which is the most hopeful
one is that more and more we will develop reporters of the caliber that I think James Reston of The New York Times stands as the pier reporters of real brilliance judgment and insight. Reporters who regard the job of reporting as being that a high calling that does not lead to some higher calling is an editorial. Yet chair commentators who are in it because they think the job that they're doing is the most important one they can do and they will develop more and more a type of three dimensional journalism journalism that is not trapped in the straight jacket concepts of the old straight news reporter. The voice is that of Douglas Kater Washington editor of The Reporter magazine. He is one of many men you will hear today. Reporters editors publishers teachers speaking on the needs and demands the opportunities
and challenges of modern journalism. The newsman of the future is today's edition of news in 20th century America. Now here is your host at Burroughs. As this series draws to a close we are obliged to direct our attention forward. We can speculate on the newsman of the future by examining the news man of yesterday and the newsman of today. First let's look at the old time reporter through the eyes of some veterans in the field. Here is Frank Stasio general manager of the Associated Press. A comparison dinners manager in the past course depends upon terms of definition. And let me say that if your idea of a newsman in the past is what is man. As portrayed sometimes in motion pictures. I am his dad that he never existed. That is at least in large numbers.
There. Have. Long Man all sorts of newsman. And there always will be. A I think that in the immediate present there is a. Discernible. Easily discernible change. From. What is let us say the average. Newsman. When I started in the business. The newsman is. No longer successful in any large measure simply as a relay point for words. It takes words from a news source and puts them on paper or publication. That isn't enough. You must put meaning into the words. You must be skillful in writing.
But Molly must have a writer now edge every subject and when he is obtained right now from his news source. He must be able to convey that knowledge to either. We have seen the development of specialists in many fields. In science in medicine. In education. In the courts in politics. And aviation. In great number of subjects. And there will continue to be. More intense space always ation in my judgment. Basically me the newsman must be a newsman not a scientist. Or a politician. Or a medical doctor. There are exceptions to this but in the field of science reporting.
The most successful science writer. Man man who're had good solid training in news present Asian and news reporting. More than added. Sufficient knowledge in scientific matters. AS. Im sure. Eric would. Taisha oneness Limoges is managing editor of the Milwaukee Journal. How does he compare the news man of the past with the news man of the present mail type reporter of the early part of the century has gone that is the individual listing enterprising first person type or REPORTER The aggressive man who went around the world the spectacular scoops and so on. And you'll never come back. Our present type of coverage our country our education so on doesn't fit that. I
mean would we be alarmed if we had that kind of reporter now he's a fictional character but he actually listened to a lot of ground of glass into what educated he was an individual as if he didn't have any special I only do is paper work and one merry go over going opposing chain work for him and while he would work on one crime nose or something sensational or breaking into a field that hadn't been covered at that time your present day reporter is much better educated he's trained in journalism can or sense the whole social scene better and I think he's a much better man generally but with this change that we've had he's he's a more conservative person he's a less abrasive person he wants to get along with people nature is he was a public relations man and he may be a little bit family. Weak side when it comes to boring into heard somebody is feeling by getting new is the old time reporter going to care about that. He was it was like a placement.
We're like the policemen were there because they've changed too but I think that there's there's a big change there and they're in the type of reporting Kenneth McDonald executive editor of The Des Moines Iowa Register attributed and was asked whether the old time reporter had disappeared this aggressive individual with a small education and no allegiance to any particular newspaper. Now that mine is gone. The man's gone. I would lay down categorical rules sometimes that a person has to have this degree or that be great to be a reporter because there are exceptions to all things and you and I both know of could cite instances of extremely well educated people who never spent a day in college there are those are those happy exceptions. In fact some of they are two or three of the ablest. And best educated. Editors I know
are men who do not have college degrees. But they are men who had the energy and the drive and the discipline to educate themselves so they really aren't exceptions After all if you examine the cases. But. But newspapers do demand educated people out of the liberal arts education and this is the basic part of it. A man needs to have a well-rounded academic background if he's going to bring to his work any real understanding of the problems involved. He has that understanding he's not going to be able to report intelligently to his readers. The rise of what we call electronic journalism has had its effect on the men who report the news and the training required of them. News analyst Quincy hall
considers this aspect. Well I think that that that one of the things that made the radio commentator so effective 15 years ago was not just that there was a war on which required a very expert coverage but at that time radio was so new they had to turn. But outside their own field too in many cases very highly trained a newspaperman who were who were journalists of wide experience in this was a matter of the war. Many of them had lived abroad spoke foreign languages knew the world and today of course the radio television people are learning the world and learning the national affairs of the world affairs themselves by working for television radio stations and not for newspapers or magazines or something else. But I think there are still some who will come drifting in the television and radio from other fields. But the preparation I think more and more is going to require a knowledge of world affairs of foreign languages foreign peoples other parts of the world. Also it should require an ever growing knowledge of American
history and of economics of cultural life in our own country as well as as world affairs. I think you need that for a a a well-rounded college and even probably graduate school training such as these. Nieman fellows who go up to Harvard when they're in their 30s or even in their 40s and study for a year they are just taking any courses they like are listening in on courses they don't take exams they listen in on various courses participate and in and in seminars and that kind of thing that's been going on for about 20 years I think. Now that is the kind of thing that I think there must be more of and that will be more of in connection with the radio and television reporter or indeed any other reporter. Trained newspaperman are a necessity. Mr Hall has indicated his preference for a well-rounded college education. What do other news men believe. We're more specialization be demanded. Mark Etheridge publisher of the Louisville Courier Journal on that subject I think to more
general education more specialization demanded I have advocated for some years the schools of journalism for instance become fully professional which they are not. Name a few schools including the University of Michigan and northwestern coast Columbia is a Post Graduate School of meeting more nearly others. What would be my own requirement for a school of journalism. I would discourage boys and girls from taking journalism at least for the first three years of their schooling and I would encourage them to call the liberal arts so they can get plus whatever science is necessary and stand what's going on in the world. I would hope to see before many not post graduate.
I think I would cut out a good number of them in the United States if I had the power to concentrate on a few good ones. The number of jobs available is declining every minute cruises said membership of the guild is not because of any interest to give the girls the jobs available. There's no comparison between what a man has to know. To be successful and has been when he had you know 25 years ago. Yes you know infinitely more about public affairs. You ask if there's a tendency toward specialization. Ears I see it on these papers. We have a man and particularly education these people used to know that education is
a hot subject gave the type of education. We have a medical reporter who's won recognition nationally on one of the papers here that we have real estate. Reporter Jim a from Columbia and established quite a reputation here. There's a tendency toward specialization years. So much of a tendency toward specialization that is hard to get reporters in some cases to understand that you have to carry the routine every day to each one I want to be a prima donna and not many prima donna jobs most in fact want to become foreign correspondents but two weeks after they get on the paper and leave very good M. and go abroad on fellowships read Foundation and so forth. And none of them is ever satisfied again just to be a reporter
that goes on even fellows too. Not many jobs but prima donna says Mr. Etheridge. This led to a question we asked veteran news analyst blockage should a young man concentrate on being a good news man first and not worry about formal education. Well he certainly should concentrate on being a good news man first. There is another evolutionary step. When I was a cub reporter even when I was a cub reporter in Washington I had served elsewhere before when I first came here. They were boys in the. Profession if you want to call it that had sneered at a school of journalism education that was considered a joke. The idea that you could teach. Journalism. In a school course has changed entirely. And. I think that they will have to improve their courses and they'll have to have specialization.
They have to a certain degree Now of course but they should have the fundamentals to study them in a college course if not a Post Graduate. On this subject of the reporter's education Irving Flom of the Chicago Sun Times had some interesting comments. In answer to the question should the journalist of the future be more highly trained he said. I think so just as a citizen of the future should be more highly trained and this is a task because of the complexities dangers and software the luxury. Of a moderately good education. Is one which we probably can't afford much longer. And we have to have more and there this is when things get tight. When things get dangerous you have to be very well prepared when things are not so dangerous it doesn't matter where you were in a very dangerous we've been living in a very dangerous world.
And we can go down. By being stupid and poorly prepared. We can actually be defeated. Doesn't seem likely but it could happen. It's happened before. Nations grow lazy won't sacrifice what is required to meet the standards that are required. In the barbarians take over. In this case I don't think barbarians are necessarily going to take over but. The Chinese for example might very well be a serious threat to the Western world. As a military power. In the sense of conquest by military force. And. I don't know that. Intelligence was stopped them but intelligence is a great element and reporters as well everybody else. Are going to have to meet this and shouting and screaming and calling him names
and I think that's not the answer. Generalist or specialist in practice this question runs through much of what these men have been saying. Back again to Douglas cater. We need both of course. We have to have and we have had since the advent of the New Deal when the government became much bigger and more complex operation. The development of specialists men covering special areas who knew as much as the government officials themselves about those particular areas. But beyond that you need the development from specialists in the generalist men who are sufficiently well equipped in their own education and their own abilities that they can rise above special areas because specialists alone in journalism as in anything else are not able to to handle the whole problem.
We have been talking about specialization on two levels in preparation and in practice should there be more specialized training in journalism or a general liberal arts education from to mine. Kenneth MacDonald again. Well I do both law specialization and liberal arts. I would say that the liberal arts comes first. I think newspapers are going to demand. And I already did that and better educated people. I think the most important element of a college education of a journalist is the liberal arts majors they really thorough background before he gets into specialization.
Then I think it's desirable for him to have. As much specialization as he has. Time and money to get a specialization. In two fields wide and a technical professional skills of journalism. And two in the field in which he hopes to do is major work. If a man is going to be a reporter in a field of education for example he needs to know as much about education as he can if he's going to be a reporter in the field of. Labor Relations You need to know as much about that as he can. But first of all comes a liberal arts. That's a point I think that we attended a few years ago out of sight out as a real reporter needs a good well rounded education. First of all if he doesn't have that. Rust out is of no avail.
Editor of the Minneapolis Star Tribune Oh another of the country's leading newspapers is Wilbur Elst and his thoughts on the direction of education for the journalist of the future. Well I think that I think it's apt to go in probably in both directions. I happen to be a journalism school graduate myself but I think that you can make a good argument. That a good background can be obtained in a liberal arts college for the work of journalism. Many of our people have just this liberal arts background and basically Perhaps this is an indictment of journalism schools. We find that the people who are graduates of journalism schools get a faster start. They find it easier to get jobs with us they know the answers to some of the questions we want to ask them at the very outset. But after six months or a year the graduates of the liberal arts colleges are doing just as well and perhaps even better.
So that it seems to me what we're going to require is in the future a person whether we take him from the liberal arts school or from a journalism school who is who has a better background who has a more depth of understanding in specific fields other demands of the smaller newspapers going to be any different from those of their big city cousins. What sort of reporter does Robert Barton editor of the Lima Ohio citizen look for. Primarily when we're looking for. People who. Are. Versatile. Who have knowledge of. Some knowledge of a good many things because we are not a large enough paper to paper to be able to afford a lot of specialists. And I'm not sure that specialists are good except in a. In a few fields.
We feel that we feel that our reporter should have a broad enough background and a knowledge of enough things such as a liberal arts education as as opposed to. A course with too many purely journalism subjects. Because that background is going to be valuable in writing. A good many types of stories. That if a man goes down to talk to a banker. He should certainly be able more to do more than ask a few academic questions that if he can sit down and converse intelligently with that banker. He is going to come up with with more background which will give his readers a better a better understanding of the total picture. Not all editors and educators think we are heading into an era of specialization. For instance Morris Fisher a city editor of The Chicago Daily News. I don't think so. It may be true elsewhere I liken a con
or a speak for is our own experience. We have people who are our specialists. Mr. Snyder Our Snyder who is rated as one of the top minimum in science and medicine are running on sand cement. But Art Snyder is basically a a reporter. And if the circumstances warrant it if necessity required I would not hesitate to send out to cover a police story a murder a fire or any any act of violence. And as a matter of fact we use him a good deal and some of such major stories of that kind were some expertness in medicine or scientific approach to crime is required. But basically our sniper is a is a reporter. He's a newspaper reporter and his specialty is science medicine. Bob Dylan is is our specialist time and labor basically balloon is a newspaper reporter I can stand by Lou not in any kind of a story. If if the
circumstances would be required and feel sure that he would come back with an expert Jack. Charlie Cleveland our legal expert our political writer. During the time during this this last December when we had this this tragic fire here in our Lady of Angels School Charlie Cleveland was taken away from his normal beat of politicking and was assigned to do a story on the scene at the morgue with the parents of the children who were victims. We're going through this horrible situation of trying to find their missing child. And he came up with one of the best pieces that was written on that on that fire at that time. Charlie Cleveland's background. He's writing politics now but his background is as a solid newspaper man. Because what you mean anything a case requiring all these people develop specialties at
least in the in the general NEWSROOM. But they also have in their in their hip pocket a good deal of honest to goodness basic newspaper ability that they can pull out and use any time we require or they require it. Now in the other departments let us say for instance in the features departments especially the women's features there. I think you have to have people who begin with with a specialty special training in food fashions and home furnishings and so on. I think there are they specially is more important almost Stanley than the newspaper aspect of what's required of those people. They have to know first of all be well qualified on these on these particular fields and then be a newspaper writer. Our people are in this department are well qualified in their fields but they're just as well
qualified as an all around newspaperman to start with. And Mitchell Chartley professor of journalism at the University of Minnesota. Will the electronic news man of the future differ markedly from the newsman on magazines and newspapers. Now to my eyes I think that a newsman is a newsman that good news man is a good newsman on the news paper and as he is on the radio a good man can move from one field to the other and do a good job. In fact there's a very large body of opinion among broadcasting people and I share this opinion that much better on the air than the golden voiced announcer presenting you is the newsman because he obviously knows what he's talking about he gives authority to the new is even though his voice may be a little graphic. So my my
belief is that though we need ever better equipped news man ever better educated man ever to impart more devoted man. We need them for all the media and not any one kind of man for one medium rather than for another. What should the journalist of the future be taught. We have had some general answers to this question today. Next week on this program we will explore education for journalism in more detail. You have been listening to the news man of the future one of a series of programs on news in 20th century America. In this series we explore all facets of gathering writing and dissemination of news in this country today by means of recorded interviews with leading news men and women interviewers for the series are Glenn Phillips and Ed Burroughs. Professor Kenneth Stewart of the University of Michigan Department of journalism served as consultant.
- The newsman of the future
- Producing Organization
- University of Michigan
- National Association of Educational Broadcasters
- Contributing Organization
- University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
- AAPB ID
- Episode Description
- This program focuses on the differences between the journalists of the past, the present, and the future.
- Other Description
- A series of documentaries on the gathering, writing and dissemination of news in this country today, compiled from interviews with journalists. Guests in this series include H.V. Kaltenborn, Roy Larsen, John Daly, Douglass Cater, Drew Pearson, Quincy Howe, Mike Wallace, Norman Cousins, David Brinkley, James Hagerty, Howard K. Smith, Marquis Childs, Merriman Smith, Gilbert Seldes, Fulton Lewis, Jr., Sig Mickelson, H.R. Baukhage, Roscoe Drummond, and many others.
- Broadcast Date
- Media type
Host: Gardiner, C. Harvey (Clinton Harvey)
Interviewee: Cater, Douglass, 1923-1995
Interviewee: Lamoe, Wallace
Interviewee: MacDonald, Kenneth, 1905-
Interviewee: Howe, Quincy, 1900-
Interviewee: Ethridge, Mark F. (Mark Foster), 1896-1981
Interviewee: Baukhage, Hilmar R. (Hilmar Robert), 1889-
Producing Organization: University of Michigan
Producing Organization: National Association of Educational Broadcasters
- AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 59-48-28 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
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- Chicago: “News in twentieth century America; The newsman of the future,” 1959-01-01, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed October 23, 2021, http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-930nwx7w.
- MLA: “News in twentieth century America; The newsman of the future.” 1959-01-01. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. October 23, 2021. <http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-930nwx7w>.
- APA: News in twentieth century America; The newsman of the future. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-930nwx7w