Howard K. Smith

Journalist / News Anchor


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In his three-hour Archive interview, Howard K. Smith (1914-2002) details his time in Europe at the outbreak of World War II, at first as a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford, later as a member of the United Press, and finally as a foreign correspondent for CBS radio. He describes covering the Nuremberg Trials, meeting Edward R. Murrow, and getting into the realm of television. Smith discusses the challenges of writing news for television, and how it differed from writing for print and radio, and chronicles his experiences working on See it Now, CBS Evening News, and Howard K. Smith: News and Comment. He reflects on what it meant to be one of "Murrow's Boys," comments on moderating the first Kennedy-Nixon debate, and speaks of his one-on-one interviews with some of the greatest political figures of the 20th century. George Herman conducted the interview in Bethesda, MD on October 24, 1997.

"When people are doing something wrong, you're not going to ask them, 'will you tell us what you're doing wrong?' They won't tell you. You've got to find a way to get around and get to them when they're not watching."

People Talking About ...
Highlights
Howard K. Smith on meeting Edward R. Murrow
Howard K. Smith on "scoring" the Kennedy-Nixon debates
Howard K. Smith on covering the Nuremberg Trials
Howard K. Smith on "Murrow's Boys"
Howard K. Smith on getting arrested by the Gestapo
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his childhood and early influences; on growing up in Louisiana; on wanting to be a journalist; on his college years at Tulane; on traveling to Germany after college for a summer scholarship; on hearing Hitler in Germany before the start of World War II
On returning to New Orleans and working for newspaper The New Orleans Item; on winning a Rhodes scholarship and returning to Europe - Austria; on President Roosevelt's visit to New Orleans; on his Rhodes scholarship at Oxford and joining the Labor Party to fight appeasement; on visiting Germany; on getting arrested by the Gestapo
On German television; on the outbreak of World War II in September of 1939; on leaving Oxford to work for the United Press in London and Berlin; on leaving United Press to work for CBS; on how American reporters in Germany were treated during the war

Chapter 2

On journalists being arrested in Germany during World War II; on broadcasting from Germany; on not receiving an exit visa to leave Germany; on meeting his future wife; on leaving Germany on Devember 7, 1941
On being a radio broadcaster in Germany; on writing a book while in Switzerland and it almost becoming a Hollywood movie; on his wife arriving in Switzerland; on becoming correspodent for the Europe Underground; on meeting Edward R. Murrow
On meeting Bill Paley; on traveling to Holland with the U.S. Army and reporting on the Battle of the Bulge; on the Signal Corp; on returning to Berlin when the war ended; on broadcasting for all three networks 

Chapter 3

On returning to New York after the war ended and going back to Germany; on radio man Paul White; on covering the Nuremberg Trials; on recording news pieces; on taking over Murrow's role as CBS chief European correspondent; on his 15 minute broadcasts
On how he encountered television - through Edward R. Murrow; on BBC television; on covering the 1948 political conventions in Philadelphia; on pushing for aid to Europe after the war; on Sig Mickelson creating a CBS news network for television; on his first in-studio television work 
On conducting one-on-one news interviews

Chapter 4

On returning to America in 1956-7; on covering Little Rock; on the beginning of the end of his relationship with CBS; on working on Edward R. on Murrow's documentary Who Speaks for Birmingham?  and being suspended from his job as chief Washington correspondent; on the importance of television in the Civil Rights Movement; on being a recognizable face in the South during this time
On his 3 month unemployment after leaving CBS; on returning to television on ABC with Howard K. Smith: News and Comment; on moderating the first of the Kennedy-Nixon Presidential Debates; on preparation for ABC's Howard K. Smith: News and Comment
On The March on Washington; on JFK's assassination; on Lyndon Johnson; on coverage of The Hill; on Edward R. Murrow becoming head of the USIA

Chapter 5

On on his friendship with and the legacy of Edward R. Murrow; on ad-libbing; on his son and the Vietnam War; on how his opinion on the Vietnam War changed; on his retirement; on wanting to write a book on Vietnam
On the 1968 political conventions in Chicago; on working with a co-anchor; on interviewing President Nixon in 1971; on Barbabra Walters replacing him after he left ABC News; on working for public television, lecturing, and moderating presidential debates; on his preparation for presidential debates

Chapter 6

On his proudest career achievements; on career regrets; on the impact of television news and how instant viewing has changed over the years; on the impact of television on the presidency; on what he considers the event of the 20th century; on the cult of personality; on the integrity of the news; on the future of television news; on how he'd like to be remembered
On his thoughts on people with whom he's worked; on Paul White and the invention of broadcast news; on his family
Shows

Howard K. Smith: News and Comment

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Howard K. Smith on returning to television on ABC with Howard K. Smith: News and Comment
Howard K. Smith on preparation for ABC's Howard K. Smith: News and Comment
Topics

Civil Rights Movement

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News Correspondent Howard K. Smith on the importance of television in the Civil Rights Movement

Historic Events and Social Change

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Howard K. Smith on censorship he faced at CBS radio in Berlin during World War II
Howard K. Smith on leaving Germany and arriving in Switzerland on December 7, 1941

JFK Assassination and Funeral

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Howard K. Smith on JFK's assassination
Howard K. Smith on covering JFK's funeral

Jimmy Carter

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Howard K. Smith on moderating presidential debates

Kennedy-Nixon Debates

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News Correspondent Howard K. Smith on moderating the first of the Kennedy-Nixon Debates

Richard M. Nixon

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Howard K. Smith on interviewing President Nixon in 1971

Ronald Reagan

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Howard K. Smith on moderating presidential debates

Television and the Presidency

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News Correspondent Howard K. Smith on moderating the first of the Kennedy-Nixon Debates
Howard K. Smith on the 1968 Chicago conventions

Vietnam War

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Howard K. Smith on his son and the Vietnam War

War

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Howard K. Smith on censorship he faced at CBS radio in Berlin during World War II
Howard K. Smith on leaving Germany and arriving in Switzerland on December 7, 1941

World War II

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Howard K. Smith on getting arrested by the Gestapo
Howard K. Smith on censorship he faced at CBS radio in Berlin during World War II
Howard K. Smith on leaving Germany and arriving in Switzerland on December 7, 1941
Professions

Correspondent

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Howard K. Smith on taking over Murrow's role as CBS chief European correspondent

Journalists & News Producers

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Howard K. Smith on meeting President Franklin Delano Roosevelt - his start as a professional journalist
Howard K. Smith on broadcasting for CBS Radio and writing for "The New York Times" during World War II
Howard K. Smith on doing Edward R. Murrow's year-end television shows 
Genres

News and Documentary

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Howard K. Smith on doing Edward R. Murrow's year-end television shows 
News Correspondent Howard K. Smith on moderating the first of the Kennedy-Nixon Presidential Debates
Howard K. Smith on moderating presidential debates
Howard K. Smith on his friendship with and the legacy of Edward R. Murrow
Howard K. Smith on "Murrow's Boys"
People

Roone Arledge

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Howard K. Smith on not having a great relationship with Roone Arledge at ABC News

David Brinkley

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Howard K. Smith on his thoughts on David Brinkley

Jimmy Carter

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Howard K. Smith on moderating presidential debates
Howard K. Smith on his thoughts on Jimmy Carter

Winston Churchill

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Howard K. Smith on his thoughts on Winston Churchill

Charles Collingwood

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Howard K. Smith on Charles Collingwood getting Smith accredited to the U.S. Army
Howard K. Smith on his thoughts on Charles Collingwood

Walter Cronkite

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Howard K. Smith on Walter Cronkite on television and in front of a podium
Howard K. Smith on his thoughts on Walter Cronkite

Albert Einstein

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Howard K. Smith on his thoughts on Albert Einstein

Gerald Ford

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Howard K. Smith on his thoughts on Gerald Ford

Fred Friendly

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Howard K. Smith on his thoughts on Fred Friendly

Leonard H. Goldenson

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Howard K. Smith on his thoughts on Leonard Goldenson

Jim Haggerty

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Howard K. Smith on returning to television on ABC with Howard K. Smith: News and Comment

Don Hewitt

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Howard K. Smith on his thoughts on Don Hewitt

Lyndon B. Johnson

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Howard K. Smith on President Johnson's speech for the Voting Rights Act
Howard K. Smith on Lyndon B. Johnson
Howard K. Smith on his thoughts on Lyndon Johnson

John F. Kennedy

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News Correspondent Howard K. Smith on moderating the first of the Kennedy-Nixon Presidential Debates
Howard K. Smith on JFK's assassination
Howard K. Smith on his thoughts on John F. Kenendy

Robert F. Kennedy

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Howard K. Smith on his thoughts on Robert F. Kennedy

Martin Luther King, Jr.

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Howard K. Smith on The March on Washington

Ted Koppel

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Howard K. Smith on his thoughts on Ted Koppel

Sig Mickelson

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Howard K. Smith on Sig Mickelson creating a CBS news network for television
Howard K. Smith on his thoughts on Sig Mickelson

Newton N. Minow

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Howard K. Smith on his thoughts on Newton Minow

Edward R. Murrow

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Howard K. Smith on Edward R. Murrow
Howard K. Smith on meeting Edward R. Murrow
Howard K. Smith on meeting up with Edward R. Murrow in London and taking over Murrow's role as CBS chief European correspondent
Howard K. Smith on how his broadcasts differed from Murrow's
Howard K. Smith on getting into television through Edward R. Murrow
Howard K. Smith on Edward R. Murrow advising him to sign a loyalty oath and getting listed in Red Channels
Howard K. Smith on doing Edward R. Murrow's year-end television shows
Howard K. Smith on Murrow's documentary Who Speaks for Birmingham?
Howard K. Smith on returning to television on ABC and interviewing Murrow on air
Howard K. Smith on Edward R. Murrow becoming head of the USIA
Howard K. Smith on his friendship with and the legacy of Edward R. Murrow
Howard K. Smith on his thoughts on Edward R. Murrow

Richard M. Nixon

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News Correspondent Howard K. Smith on moderating the first of the Kennedy-Nixon Presidential Debates
Howard K. Smith on interviewing President Nixon in 1971
Howard K. Smith on his thoughts on Richard Nixon

Laurence Olivier

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Howard K. Smith on Laurence Olivier being scared of television

William S. Paley

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Howard K. Smith on meeting Bill Paley
Howard K. Smith on being fired from CBS by Bill Paley
Howard K. Smith on his thoughts on Bill Paley

Ronald Reagan

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Howard K. Smith on moderating presidential debates
Howard K. Smith on his thoughts on Ronald Reagan

Harry Reasoner

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Howard K. Smith on working with co-anchor Harry Reasoner at ABC
Howard K. Smith on his thoughts on Harry Reasoner

Frank Reynolds

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Howard K. Smith on working with co-anchor Frank Reynolds at ABC
Howard K. Smith on his thoughts on Frank Reynolds

Franklin D. Roosevelt

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Howard K. Smith on FDR visiting New Orleans

Eric Sevareid

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Howard K. Smith on CBS journalist Eric Sevareid
Howard K. Smith on his thoughts on Eric Sevareid

Frank Stanton

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Howard K. Smith on his thoughts on Frank Stanton

Barbara Walters

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Howard K. Smith on Barbabra Walters replacing him after he left ABC News
Howard K. Smith on his thoughts on Barbara Walters

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