You Are There
You Are There
Edward R. Murrow and the Proximity Effect
In the late 1930s and early 1940s, nearly all of America was listening to the voice of Edward R. Murrow, which seemed to be right there in the living room. Chapter four shows how Murrow’s keen attention to the acoustic effects of the London Blitz was one of the signature marks of his reports. Though rarely viewed as an essayist, Murrow achieved a style that was essentially a literary feat, the function of which was to evoke a participatory sense of history that would infiltrate the collective mind of a United States filled with deep-seated isolationist prejudices. To achieve this, Murrow constructed a new voice for radio, one that could not be mistaken for that of the traditional commentator, the reigning king of radio news. Ironically enough, Murrow devised a form of broadcast that had as much in common with CBS’s Columbia Workshop as with print journalism, inventing a hybrid genre that borrowed equally from the modern literary essay (exemplified by Stephan Crane and George Orwell) and from American radio drama.
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