Egbert Roscoe Murrow, who would grow to be a highly influential
individual and inspirational leader
in the field of broadcast journalism, was born on April 25, 1908 in North Carolina
to Roscoe and Ethel Murrow. His Quaker parents strictly forbade their children from smoking, drinking and gambling, and Murrow worked on the family farm with his brothers, Dewey and Lacey, until the family moved to Washington when he was still young. Murrow attended three different universities: Leland Stanford University, the University of Washington, and Washington State College. Murrow was very active in college, becoming class president
and joining the National Student Federation
. After graduating (majoring in speech) he officially switched his name to Edward R. Murrow. He established a student travel bureau and arranged international student debates, and during an NSF conference in New Orleans
he met and later married Janet Brewster.
Murrow joined CBS as Director of Talks and Education in 1935, although when World War II came along his role changed. He made a special trip to Vienna in 1938 to report on Nazis entering the city. Murrow continued boradcasting reports in London at the BBC studios during the Battle of Britain, with the sound of bombs and air raid sirens often heard behind him. He returned to the United States when the war ended and in 1949 was elected Director of CBS.
Murrow continued his coverage of the chaos of conflict when the Korean war began in 1950. He and a fellow reporter began a weekly digest of news, which they called “Hear It Now,” and which grew immensely popular as it allowed viewers to get a glimpse of previously unfilmed newsworthy items such as submerged submarines, a fighter plane performing air defense excerises and the Arkansas General Assembly in session. "I Can Hear It Now" paved the way for the future of telvision news. The program also spotlighted Senator Joseph McCarthy in one show, which earned Murrow a Peabody Award. The show's revelations of McCarthy were thought of as the turning point in the Red Scare. "I Can Hear It Now" was selected as “Program of the Year” in 1952, and won an Emmy among numerous other honors.
Murrow’s broadcasting success made a great impact on the nation and he became an inspiration to many. He retired from CBS in 1961 and became head of the U.S. Information Agency until his health declined in 1964. Murrow died of lung cancer on April 27, 1965 on his farm in Pawling, New York.