Bill Monroe

Moderator / Producer


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In his three-and-a-half hour Archive interview, Bill Monroe (1920-2011) talks about growing up in New Orleans, where he became a print and radio journalist. He speaks about his first job in television, at WDSU-TV, where, as news director, he instituted the use of television cameras in the state legislature and pioneered the broadcast of on-camera editorials. He details his move to Washington, D.C., where he became NBC's bureau chief. Monroe presents his perspective on several noteworthy events of the era including the Civil Rights Movement, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and the Kennedy Assassination. He chronicles his work as executive producer and moderator of Meet the Press (from 1975-84) and that of special contributor (from 1984-86). He also recalls of his lifelong commitment as a proponent of First Amendment Rights. Karen Herman conducted the interview on June 13, 2005 in Bethesda, MD.

"I realized that the people running television news organizations had come from newspapers, which is the only place you can find active journalists to take over television news. I quit worrying about it being an honest medium. It's honest if you're there. You can make it honest."

People Talking About ...
Highlights
Bill Monroe on NBC News' coverage of the John F. Kennedy assassination and funeral
Bill Monroe on difficult interviews he conducted on Meet the Press, and his interviewing technique
Bill Monroe on NBC News' coverage of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, and on covering Martin Luther King, Jr. and his relationship with John F. Kennedy, and on covering the assassinations of the era
Bill Monroe on covering politics at WDSU in New Orleans, and on setting up camera in the legislature
Bill Monroe on the preparation he would do each week to moderate Meet the Press
Bill Monroe on how he would like to be remembered
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his early life and influences; on deciding he wanted to get into journalism; on working in local news in New Orleans at the start of his career
On working at the "New Orleans Item" newspaper as an editorial writer, and joining the news department at local New Orleans station WDSU; on his duties at WDSU, and on the news format of the station; on the studios of the station

Chapter 2

On covering politics at WDSU in New Orleans, and on setting up camera in the legislature; on the introduction of editorials on local news shows, like WDSU, and on their editorials on school desegregation for which he won a Peabody Award
On leaving WDSU in New Orleans to work for NBC News as bureau chief in Washington, D.C.; on taking charge as the bureau chief for NBC News in Washington, D.C.; on his bosses at the network, and on his day-to-day duties in the position

Chapter 3

On the correspondents working under him when he was NBC News bureau chief in Washington, D.C.; on his association with The Huntley-Brinkley Report at NBC News, and on working with David Brinkley; on NBC News' coverage of the Civil Rights Movement, and on covering Martin Luther King, Jr. and his relationship with John F. Kennedy, and on covering the assassinations of the era
On covering John F. Kennedy for NBC News, and on how Kennedy handled television; on NBC News' coverage of the John F. Kennedy assassination and funeral; on NBC News' coverage of Vietnam

Chapter 4

On NBC News' coverage of the Vietnam War, and on covering the Lyndon B. Johnson administration; on working with NBC News president Reuven Frank; on working for Today
On covering the presidency of Richard M. Nixon; on being the moderator for Meet the Press, and on asking tough questions; on preparing to moderate Meet the Press, and on booking guests for the show

Chapter 5

On selecting the journalists for the panel on Meet the Press; on what made for a good panelist on Meet the Press, and on the rules they were told to follow; on his duties as moderator of the show, and on working with the crew
On dealing with network brass as the executive producer of Meet the Press, and on the changes he brought to the show; on memorable Meet the Press guests during his stint, including Indira Gandhi; on Yasser Arafat's appearance on the show

Chapter 6

On Carl Sagan's appearance on Meet the Press, and various other memorable guests; on Meet the Press' coverage of Iran circa 1979, during the Iran Hostage Crisis
On interviewing guests via satellite on Meet the Press; on difficult interviews he conducted on Meet the Press, and his interviewing technique; on frequent guest Bob Dole
On being replaced as moderator of Meet the Press; on the legacy of Meet the Press

Chapter 7

On his letters segment on Today; on going to work as an editor for "American Journalism Review" after leaving NBC News; on his greatest career achievements and regrets, and on the role television played in the Civil Rights Movement
On how television news has changed since he started; on the overall impact that television has had on the presidency; on the events that have changed the country the most in the 20th century
On how the public's perception of network news has changed since he started; on the then-future of nightly network newscasts; on television and the First Amendment, and on how he would like to be remembered
Shows

Huntley-Brinkley Report, The

View Show Page
Bill Monroe on his association with The Huntley-Brinkley Report at NBC News, and on working with David Brinkley

Meet the Press

View Show Page
Bill Monroe on being the moderator for Meet the Press
Bill Monroe on asking tough questions on Meet the Press
Bill Monroe on the preparation he would do each week to moderate Meet the Press
Bill Monroe on the booking of guests for Meet the Press
Bill Monroe on selecting the journalists for the panel on Meet the Press
Bill Monroe on what made for a good panelist on Meet the Press, and on the rules they were told to follow
Bill Monroe on his duties as moderator of Meet the Press, and on working with the crew
Bill Monroe on dealing with network brass as the executive producer of Meet the Press
Bill Monroe on changes he brought to Meet the Press when he took over as moderator and executive producer
Bill Monroe on memorable Meet the Press guests during his stint, including Indira Gandhi
Bill Monroe on Yasser Arafat's appearance on Meet the Press
Bill Monroe on Carl Sagan's appearance on Meet the Press, and various other memorable guests
Bill Monroe on interviewing guests via satellite on Meet the Press
Bill Monroe on difficult interviews he conducted on Meet the Press, and his interviewing technique
Bill Monroe on frequent Meet the Press guest Bob Dole
Bill Monroe on being replaced as moderator of Meet the Press
Bill Monroe on the legacy of Meet the Press
Bill Monroe on Meet the Press' coverage of Iran circa 1979, during the Iran Hostage Crisis

NBC News

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Bill Monroe on leaving WDSU in New Orleans to work for NBC News as bureau chief in Washington, D.C.
Bill Monroe on taking charge as the bureau chief for NBC News in Washington, D.C.
Bill Monroe on his bosses at NBC News when he was bureau chief in Washington, D.C., and on his day-to-day duties in the position
Bill Monroe on the correspondents working under him when he was NBC News bureau chief in Washington, D.C., including Pauline Frederick, the first female Washington correspondent for NBC
Bill Monroe on his association with The Huntley-Brinkley Report at NBC News, and on working with David Brinkley
Bill Monroe on NBC News' coverage of the Civil Rights Movement, and on covering Martin Luther King, Jr. and his relationship with John F. Kennedy, and on covering the assassinations of the era
Bill Monroe on covering John F. Kennedy for NBC News, and on how Kennedy handled television
Bill Monroe on covering the Bay of Pigs invasion and the Cuban Missile Crisis for NBC News
Bill Monroe on NBC News' coverage of the John F. Kennedy assassination and funeral
Bill Monroe on NBC News' coverage of Vietnam

Today

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Bill Monroe on working with NBC News president Reuven Frank, and on working for Today
Bill Monroe on his letters segment on Today
Topics

Civil Rights Movement

View Topic
Bill Monroe on the major news stories covered during his time at WDSU in New Orleans, including the Civil Rights Movement and the Emmett Till trial
Bill Monroe on the introduction of editorials on local news shows, like WDSU, and on their editorials on school desegregation
Bill Monroe on winning a Peabody Award in 1960 for his editorials on school desegregation
Bill Monroe on NBC News' coverage of the Civil Rights Movement, and on covering Martin Luther King, Jr. and his relationship with John F. Kennedy, and on covering the assassinations of the era
Bill Monroe on his greatest career achievements and regrets, and on the role television played in the Civil Rights Movement
Bill Monroe on the events that have changed the country the most in the 20th century

Cold War

View Topic
Bill Monroe on covering the Bay of Pigs invasion and the Cuban Missile Crisis for NBC News

Historic Events and Social Change

View Topic
Bill Monroe on the major news stories covered during his time at WDSU in New Orleans, including the Civil Rights Movement and the Emmett Till trial
Bill Monroe on the introduction of editorials on local news shows, like WDSU, and on their editorials on school desegregation
Bill Monroe on winning a Peabody Award in 1960 for his editorials on school desegregation
Bill Monroe on NBC News' coverage of the Civil Rights Movement, and on covering Martin Luther King, Jr. and his relationship with John F. Kennedy, and on covering the assassinations of the era
Bill Monroe on covering the Bay of Pigs invasion and the Cuban Missile Crisis for NBC News
Bill Monroe on NBC News' coverage of the John F. Kennedy assassination and funeral
Bill Monroe on NBC News' coverage of Vietnam
Bill Monroe on NBC News' coverage of the Vietnam War, and on covering the Lyndon B. Johnson administration
Bill Monroe on Meet the Press' coverage of Iran circa 1979, during the Iran Hostage Crisis
Bill Monroe on his greatest career achievements and regrets, and on the role television played in the Civil Rights Movement
Bill Monroe on the events that have changed the country the most in the 20th century

Hollywood Blacklist

View Topic
Bill Monroe on Senator Joseph McCarthy and the Communist witch hunts of the 1950s

Industry Crossroads

View Topic
Bill Monroe on Senator Joseph McCarthy and the Communist witch hunts of the 1950s

Iran Hostage Crisis

View Topic
Bill Monroe on Meet the Press' coverage of Iran circa 1979, during the Iran Hostage Crisis

JFK Assassination and Funeral

View Topic
Bill Monroe on NBC News' coverage of the John F. Kennedy assassination and funeral

John F. Kennedy

View Topic
Bill Monroe on NBC News' coverage of the Civil Rights Movement, and on covering Martin Luther King, Jr. and his relationship with John F. Kennedy, and on covering the assassinations of the era
Bill Monroe on covering John F. Kennedy for NBC News, and on how Kennedy handled television
Bill Monroe on covering the Bay of Pigs invasion and the Cuban Missile Crisis for NBC News
Bill Monroe on NBC News' coverage of the John F. Kennedy assassination and funeral

Lyndon B. Johnson

View Topic
Bill Monroe on NBC News' coverage of the Vietnam War, and on covering the Lyndon B. Johnson administration

Richard M. Nixon

View Topic
Bill Monroe on covering the presidency of Richard M. Nixon

Television Industry

View Topic
Bill Monroe on winning a Peabody Award in 1960 for his editorials on school desegregation
Bill Monroe on Senator Joseph McCarthy and the Communist witch hunts of the 1950s
Bill Monroe on how television news has changed since he started
Bill Monroe on how the public's perception of network news has changed since he started
Bill Monroe on the then-future of nightly network newscasts
Bill Monroe on television and the First Amendment

Television and the Presidency

View Topic
Bill Monroe on NBC News' coverage of the Civil Rights Movement, and on covering Martin Luther King, Jr. and his relationship with John F. Kennedy, and on covering the assassinations of the era
Bill Monroe on covering John F. Kennedy for NBC News, and on how Kennedy handled television
Bill Monroe on covering the Bay of Pigs invasion and the Cuban Missile Crisis for NBC News
Bill Monroe on NBC News' coverage of the John F. Kennedy assassination and funeral
Bill Monroe on NBC News' coverage of the Vietnam War, and on covering the Lyndon B. Johnson administration
Bill Monroe on covering the presidency of Richard M. Nixon
Bill Monroe on the overall impact that television has had on the presidency

Vietnam War

View Topic
Bill Monroe on NBC News' coverage of Vietnam
Bill Monroe on NBC News' coverage of the Vietnam War, and on covering the Lyndon B. Johnson administration

War

View Topic
Bill Monroe on covering the Bay of Pigs invasion and the Cuban Missile Crisis for NBC News
Bill Monroe on NBC News' coverage of Vietnam
Bill Monroe on NBC News' coverage of the Vietnam War, and on covering the Lyndon B. Johnson administration
Professions

Journalists & News Producers

View Profession
Bill Monroe on covering politics at WDSU in New Orleans, and on setting up camera in the legislature
Bill Monroe on the introduction of editorials on local news shows, like WDSU, and on their editorials on school desegregation
Bill Monroe on difficult interviews he conducted on Meet the Press, and his interviewing technique

Moderator

View Profession
Bill Monroe on difficult interviews he conducted on Meet the Press, and his interviewing technique

News Producer

View Profession
Bill Monroe on covering politics at WDSU in New Orleans, and on setting up camera in the legislature
Bill Monroe on the introduction of editorials on local news shows, like WDSU, and on their editorials on school desegregation
Genres

News and Documentary

View Genre
Bill Monroe on working at the New Orleans local station WDSU as news director
Bill Monroe on his time a bureau chief for NBC News in Washington, D.C.
Bill Monroe on working in New Orleans local news at WDSU in New Orleans
Bill Monroe on his time at NBC News as the bureau chief in Washington, D.C.
Bill Monroe on moderating Meet the Press
Bill Monroe on moderating Meet the Press
Bill Monroe on moderating Meet the Press
Bill Monroe on his letters segment on Today
People

Yasser Arafat

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Bill Monroe on Yasser Arafat's appearance on Meet the Press

Bob Dole

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Bill Monroe on frequent Meet the Press guest Bob Dole

Reuven Frank

View Interview Page
Bill Monroe on working with NBC News president Reuven Frank, and on working for Today

Pauline Frederick

View Person Page
Bill Monroe on the correspondents working under him when he was NBC News bureau chief in Washington, D.C., including Pauline Frederick, the first female Washington correspondent for NBC

Indira Gandhi

View Person Page
Bill Monroe on memorable Meet the Press guests during his stint, including Indira Gandhi

Lyndon B. Johnson

View Person Page
Bill Monroe on NBC News' coverage of the Vietnam War, and on covering the Lyndon B. Johnson administration

John F. Kennedy

View Person Page
Bill Monroe on NBC News' coverage of the Civil Rights Movement, and on covering Martin Luther King, Jr. and his relationship with John F. Kennedy, and on covering the assassinations of the era
Bill Monroe on covering John F. Kennedy for NBC News, and on how Kennedy handled television
Bill Monroe on NBC News' coverage of the John F. Kennedy assassination and funeral

Martin Luther King, Jr.

View Person Page
Bill Monroe on NBC News' coverage of the Civil Rights Movement, and on covering Martin Luther King, Jr. and his relationship with John F. Kennedy, and on covering the assassinations of the era

Joseph McCarthy

View Person Page
Bill Monroe on Senator Joseph McCarthy and the Communist witch hunts of the 1950s

Richard M. Nixon

View Person Page
Bill Monroe on covering the presidency of Richard M. Nixon

Carl Sagan

View Person Page
Bill Monroe on Carl Sagan's appearance on Meet the Press, and various other memorable guests

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