April 19, 2017

1944. CBS War Correspondents Prepare for D-Day

Reporters Cover the War on All Fronts
Edward R. Murrow's D-Day team in London on June 1, 1944. Clockwise from top left: Larry LeSueur, Edward R. Murrow, Richard C. Hottelet, Bill Shadel, Charles Shaw, Gene Ryder, Charles Collingwood, Bill Downs
From the Mason City Globe-Gazette, May 29, 1944:
15 Seasoned CBS Correspondents Stationed Abroad Poised for D-Day
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Men on All Fronts for News Breaks

As D-Day draws near and Allied air forces step up their pounding of the continent, American radio listeners are kept posted by a top-notch corps of correspondents stationed in the strategic battle areas.

On battle fronts throughout the world, the Columbia Broadcasting System has 15 full-time correspondents reporting regularly. Nearly a score of other experienced newsmen stand ready to broadcast to KGLO and other CBS listeners from neutral capitals whenever an important story breaks.

Into the newsroom of CBS headquarters in New York pours a swift stream of accurate reports—aggregating 118,000 words a day—from sources all over the world—which are edited and broadcast to CBS listeners from coast to coast at frequent intervals, day and night.

Seven days a week, 24 hours a day, up-to-the-minute bulletins and detailed stories are flashed by 13 press association teletype machines, recorded by the CBS shortwave listening station, and cabled or radioed by CBS correspondents around the world. The shortwave listening station alone, with 8 expert linguists on the job, transcribes about 20,000 words daily in English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese and Russian.

The CBS New York news staff daily condenses these 118,000 words (approximately 2 full-sized novels) into about 22,000 words to make up its numerous regular daily news broadcasts.

Twice each day, and more frequently when occasion warrants, CBS correspondents are heard from widely scattered points around the world.

In England alone, CBS has a staff of 7 crack reporters, headed by Edward R. Murrow, ready to bring the on-the-spot story of the invasion. For months these correspondents have been waiting, watching, and reporting the colossal task of preparing for D-Day.

On other fronts, CBS correspondents are in the thick of fighting. They live in fox holes, they eat army rations, they rub shoulders with generals and non-commissioned men and they report what they see and what they hear to the people back home.

Farnsworth Fowle, for example, landed with the troops at Salerno, stayed with them as they advanced up the Italian mainland, and was the first correspondent to broadcast to America from Naples over the Allied-constructed station.

Many CBS reporters are familiar with more than one battle front and thus have an overall picture of the global war and an insight into the domestic problems of more than one people.

Eric Sevareid is at present broadcasting from Italy, but last year he covered the China-Burma-India front. It was there he almost lost his life when he and 19 others bailed out of their Chungking-bound transport planes over the Burma jungles.

George Moorad, now heard from Cairo and Ankara, was for many years a newspaperman in Shanghai and knows the Chinese-Japanese political situation as well as he does the present complicated problems of the Near East. Less than a year ago, Moorad was with General Douglas MacArthur's staff in Australia.

Ed Murrow's multitudinous duties as chief of CBS' European staff have kept him close to his base in London the past 2 years, but he has found time to accompany raiding missions over Europe. Last December, for instance, he rode a bomber in a raid on Berlin in which 2 of 5 correspondents failed to return. His report of that spectacular mission is one of the most graphic and thrilling accounts ever recorded, especially his description of the melee of flares and flak, bursting bombs and smoke which he termed an "orchestrated hell."

On Murrow's invasion staff are 6 other seasoned newsmen. Charles Collingwood followed close on Rommel's heels across Africa and kept CBS listeners informed on the rout of the Nazis from Africa. He was the first to report Darlan's assassination in December of '42 when he gave the first eye-witness account of the Allies' entrance into Tunis.

Larry LeSueur and Bill Downs of CBS' London staff are both experts on Russia. LeSueur lived in Russia during the dark days of retreat and witnessed the battle of Moscow and the siege of Stalingrad, while Downs reported the great Russian victories of last year.

Dick Hottelet, another of Murrow's men, knows the inside, as well as the outside of Germany—for he was held incommunicado by the Gestapo for several months, before we entered the war. Charles Shaw of the London staff is also an accomplished newsman and was one of a group of American editors invited by the British Ministry of Information to tour the United Kingdom last summer. Gene Ryder, newest London staff member, is a former technician of the CBS New York field engineering department.

From other European points, CBS correspondents come in regularly with their reports. Winston Burdett knows the African scene from Cairo to Casablanca; Howard K. Smith, whose best seller "Last Train From Berlin" describes Germany during the crucial months before Pearl Harbor, has a ringside seat in Bern, and James Fleming is reporting those brilliant Russian gains as the Red Army crashes into Hitler's Fortress Europa.

Over the Pacific area, Bill Dunn keeps CBS listeners informed on our progress against the Japs. He accompanies the troops on new landings whenever possible. Another CBS correspondent in the Pacific is Webley Edwards. He has covered the Pacific operations from Pearl Harbor and reports from headquarters in Honolulu.

The task of coordinating world-wide news roundups, frequently complicated by technical problems, falls upon the shoulders of Paul White, CBS Director of News Broadcasts.

In constant contact with his men all over the globe, he keeps his finger on the pulsating stream of world news, ever ready to call in correspondents from wherever news has just been broken or dispatch them to wherever he thinks it is in the making and will break next.