National Press Club Takes Possession of ‘Holy Grail of Broadcast Journalism’
WASHINGTON – The BCC microphone used by CBS journalist Edward R. Murrow during his historic broadcast from war-torn London during World War II is taking up temporary residence at the National Press Club this fall.
Casey Murrow, the legendary journalist’s son, agreed to the loan while donating several of his father’s personal possessions to the club.
Among the items slated to go on permanent display at the club are Murrow’s briefcase, hunting vest, poker chips, assorted items related to the journalist’s post-war television programs and archival photos and art that hung in Ed Murrow’s office and home.
All will be displayed in the Murrow Room and elsewhere in the club over the coming months.
But it is the microphone, which is expected to be on display at the Press Club until January, that National Press Club President Michael Freedman believes will serve as an inspiration for scores of young journalists in the city.
“Modern broadcast journalism was literally invented on that microphone,” said Freedman, during an interview with the club’s Gil Klein.
“It is indeed the Holy Grail of the profession,” he said.
The BBC cut the wires and presented the microphone to Murrow in March 1946.
A small plaque on it reads: “This microphone, taken from studio B4 of Broadcasting House, London, is presented to Edward R. Murrow who used it there with such distinction for so many broadcasts to CBS New York during the war years 1939-1945.” The inscription is dated March 8, 1946.
Murrow himself said during a 1955 interview that the microphone was “the only trophy I ever kept.”
In a piece published on the Press Club’s website on Thursday, Klein tells the story of how the donation and loan arrived at the club.
The club awarded Casey Murrow a lifetime membership in January, and Murrow wanted to respond with something in return. After he decided on the donation, he and Friedman had to work out the logistics of the hand off.
Because Murrow lives in Vermont, he and Friedman decided they should rendezvous at a rest stop on New Jersey’s Garden State Parkway.
It was there, amid weary, unsuspecting travelers, that Murrow handed the artifacts off to the club president.
The microphone will return to active duty on Wednesday, Nov. 18, when Freedman hosts the club’s annual Fourth Estate Awards ceremony, this year honoring CBS News President Susan Zirinsky, the first woman to head a major network news division.
“As our nation confronts unprecedented converging challenges, all reminders of Ed Murrow’s life, work, and legacy serve to strengthen our resolve as journalists to have the courage of our convictions,” Freedman told Klein. “We are deeply grateful to Casey Murrow for his donations to the club.”
In The News
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Treasury Department on Friday imposed sanctions on Saudi Arabia’s former deputy head of Intelligence and the nation’s “Rapid Intervention Force” for their roles in the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The move came just hours after the Biden Administration released... Read More
WASHINGTON -- The news media fell under attack Wednesday in Congress for exacerbating the COVID-19 pandemic, encouraging the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol and irresponsibly downplaying threats of global warming. The criticisms were hurled during a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee hearing. “They engage... Read More
Simon Winchester has spent a lot of time thinking about land. As a student in his native Great Britain, he read geology at St. Catherine's College and, having become involved in the University Exploration Club, soon found himself a member of a six-man sledding expedition onto... Read More
WASHINGTON (AP) — Former President Donald Trump is escalating a political war within his own party that could undermine the Republican push to fight President Joe Biden's agenda and ultimately return the party to power.A day after blistering Mitch McConnell, the Senate's top Republican, as a... Read More
President Joe Biden will visit Wisconsin next week for his first official trip as president, participating in a TV town hall from Milwaukee. Biden will take questions at a socially-distanced, invitation-only event hosted by CNN next Tuesday night, according to the network. The "CNN Presidential Town... Read More
NEW YORK (AP) — Jeff Bezos, who founded Amazon and turned into an online shopping behemoth, is stepping down as the company's CEO, a role he's had for nearly 30 years. He'll be replaced in the fall by Andy Jassy, who runs Amazon's cloud-computing business. Bezos,... Read More