Concise Encyclopedia of Tufts History
Murrow, Edward R., 1908-1965
Edward R. Murrow (1908-1965) was a radio and television broadcaster who was the most influential and esteemed figure in American broadcast journalism during its formative years. The Murrow Center of Public Diplomacy at the Fletcher School is named in his honor. Murrow's library and papers, along with memorabilia from his career were donated to Tufts and are held by the University Archives.
Murrow graduated from Washington State College (now University), Pullman. While a student, he worked to bring German scholars displaced by Nazism to the United States. He joined the Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) in 1935 and was sent to London in 1937 to head the network's European Bureau. Murrow's highly reliable and dramatic eyewitness reportage of the German occupation of Austria and the Munich Conference in 1938, the German takeover of Czechoslovakia in 1939, and the Battle of Britain during World War II brought him national fame and marked radio journalism's coming of age.
After the war Murrow became CBS vice president in charge of news, education, and discussion programs. He returned to radio broadcasting in 1947 with a weeknight newscast. With Fred W. Friendly he produced Hear It Now, an authoritative hour-long weekly news digest, and moved on to television with a comparable series, See It Now. Murrow was a notable force for the free and uncensored dissemination of information during the American anticommunist hysteria of the early 1950s. In 1954 he produced a notable expos#x00E9; of the dubious tactics of Senator Joseph McCarthy, who had gained prominence with flamboyant charges of communist infiltration of U.S. government agencies. Murrow also produced Person to Person (1953-60) and other television programs. He was appointed director of the U.S. Information Agency in 1961 by President John F. Kennedy.
Illness, however, cut Murrow's tenure at USIA short. After leaving USIA in 1965, Murrow accepted an invitation from the Dean of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Edmund Gullian, to head a Center for Public Diplomacy named after him. Gullian had previously coined the phrase 'public diplomacy' to describe the mix of cultural and student exchange and outreach programs as well as the use of radio and other media to inform, educate and entertain foreign publics as well as to learn the views of others about the United States and U.S. policy actions. Unfortunately, Murrow died before he assumed the position of heading the newly created center which was instead dedicated to his memory.