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."

Highlights
Howard K. Smith on meeting Edward R. Murrow
01:58
Howard K. Smith on "scoring" the Kennedy-Nixon debates
01:00
Howard K. Smith on covering the Nuremberg Trials
01:17
Howard K. Smith on "Murrow's Boys"
00:31
Howard K. Smith on getting arrested by the Gestapo
00:47
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
13:34
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
08:08
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
04:54

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
06:37
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
12:35
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 
07:51

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
13:24
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 
10:15
On conducting one-on-one news interviews
03:11

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
10:45
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
08:17
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
08:25

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
11:28
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
15:41

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
10:29
On his thoughts on people with whom he's worked; on Paul White and the invention of broadcast news; on his family
16:53
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
03:10
Howard K. Smith on preparation for ABC's Howard K. Smith: News and Comment
01:30
Topics

Civil Rights Movement

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News Correspondent Howard K. Smith on the importance of television in the Civil Rights Movement
00:48

Historic Events and Social Change

View Topic
Howard K. Smith on censorship he faced at CBS radio in Berlin during World War II
00:35
Howard K. Smith on leaving Germany and arriving in Switzerland on December 7, 1941
01:29

JFK Assassination and Funeral

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Howard K. Smith on JFK's assassination
01:55
Howard K. Smith on covering JFK's funeral
01:07

Jimmy Carter

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Howard K. Smith on moderating presidential debates
01:21

Kennedy-Nixon Debates

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News Correspondent Howard K. Smith on moderating the first of the Kennedy-Nixon Debates
02:05

Richard M. Nixon

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Howard K. Smith on interviewing President Nixon in 1971
03:23

Ronald Reagan

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Howard K. Smith on moderating presidential debates
01:21

Television and the Presidency

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News Correspondent Howard K. Smith on moderating the first of the Kennedy-Nixon Debates
02:05
Howard K. Smith on the 1968 Chicago conventions
02:30

Vietnam War

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Howard K. Smith on his son and the Vietnam War
01:11

War

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Howard K. Smith on censorship he faced at CBS radio in Berlin during World War II
00:35
Howard K. Smith on leaving Germany and arriving in Switzerland on December 7, 1941
01:29

World War II

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Howard K. Smith on getting arrested by the Gestapo
00:47
Howard K. Smith on censorship he faced at CBS radio in Berlin during World War II
00:35
Howard K. Smith on leaving Germany and arriving in Switzerland on December 7, 1941
01:29
Professions

Correspondent

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Howard K. Smith on taking over Murrow's role as CBS chief European correspondent
01:37

Journalists & News Producers

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Howard K. Smith on meeting President Franklin Delano Roosevelt - his start as a professional journalist
00:55
Howard K. Smith on broadcasting for CBS Radio and writing for "The New York Times" during World War II
01:45
Howard K. Smith on doing Edward R. Murrow's year-end television shows 
01:03
Genres

News and Documentary

View Genre
Howard K. Smith on doing Edward R. Murrow's year-end television shows 
01:03
News Correspondent Howard K. Smith on moderating the first of the Kennedy-Nixon Presidential Debates
02:06
Howard K. Smith on moderating presidential debates
01:21
Howard K. Smith on his friendship with and the legacy of Edward R. Murrow
03:06
Howard K. Smith on "Murrow's Boys"
00:31
People

Roone Arledge

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Howard K. Smith on not having a great relationship with Roone Arledge at ABC News
01:24

David Brinkley

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Howard K. Smith on his thoughts on David Brinkley
00:12

Jimmy Carter

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Howard K. Smith on moderating presidential debates
01:21
Howard K. Smith on his thoughts on Jimmy Carter
00:08

Winston Churchill

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Howard K. Smith on his thoughts on Winston Churchill
00:19

Charles Collingwood

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Howard K. Smith on Charles Collingwood getting Smith accredited to the U.S. Army
00:36
Howard K. Smith on his thoughts on Charles Collingwood
00:23

Walter Cronkite

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Howard K. Smith on Walter Cronkite on television and in front of a podium
00:31
Howard K. Smith on his thoughts on Walter Cronkite
00:31

Albert Einstein

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Howard K. Smith on his thoughts on Albert Einstein
00:30

Gerald Ford

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Howard K. Smith on his thoughts on Gerald Ford
00:34

Fred Friendly

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Howard K. Smith on his thoughts on Fred Friendly
00:09

Leonard H. Goldenson

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Howard K. Smith on his thoughts on Leonard Goldenson
00:12

Jim Haggerty

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Howard K. Smith on returning to television on ABC with Howard K. Smith: News and Comment
01:16

Don Hewitt

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Howard K. Smith on his thoughts on Don Hewitt
00:24

Lyndon B. Johnson

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Howard K. Smith on President Johnson's speech for the Voting Rights Act
00:36
Howard K. Smith on Lyndon B. Johnson
01:24
Howard K. Smith on his thoughts on Lyndon Johnson
00:15

John F. Kennedy

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News Correspondent Howard K. Smith on moderating the first of the Kennedy-Nixon Presidential Debates
02:05
Howard K. Smith on JFK's assassination
01:55
Howard K. Smith on his thoughts on John F. Kenendy
00:22

Robert F. Kennedy

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Howard K. Smith on his thoughts on Robert F. Kennedy
00:27

Martin Luther King, Jr.

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Howard K. Smith on The March on Washington
00:42

Ted Koppel

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Howard K. Smith on his thoughts on Ted Koppel
00:07

Sig Mickelson

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Howard K. Smith on Sig Mickelson creating a CBS news network for television
01:15
Howard K. Smith on his thoughts on Sig Mickelson
00:12

Newton N. Minow

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Howard K. Smith on his thoughts on Newton Minow
00:19

Edward R. Murrow

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Howard K. Smith on Edward R. Murrow
00:20
Howard K. Smith on meeting Edward R. Murrow
02:34
Howard K. Smith on meeting up with Edward R. Murrow in London and taking over Murrow's role as CBS chief European correspondent
01:14
Howard K. Smith on how his broadcasts differed from Murrow's
01:39
Howard K. Smith on getting into television through Edward R. Murrow
02:22
Howard K. Smith on Edward R. Murrow advising him to sign a loyalty oath and getting listed in Red Channels
01:34
Howard K. Smith on doing Edward R. Murrow's year-end television shows
01:03
Howard K. Smith on Murrow's documentary Who Speaks for Birmingham?
02:40
Howard K. Smith on returning to television on ABC and interviewing Murrow on air
01:16
Howard K. Smith on Edward R. Murrow becoming head of the USIA
00:50
Howard K. Smith on his friendship with and the legacy of Edward R. Murrow
03:06
Howard K. Smith on his thoughts on Edward R. Murrow
00:58

Richard M. Nixon

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News Correspondent Howard K. Smith on moderating the first of the Kennedy-Nixon Presidential Debates
02:05
Howard K. Smith on interviewing President Nixon in 1971
03:23
Howard K. Smith on his thoughts on Richard Nixon
01:13

Laurence Olivier

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Howard K. Smith on Laurence Olivier being scared of television
00:33

William S. Paley

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Howard K. Smith on meeting Bill Paley
00:45
Howard K. Smith on being fired from CBS by Bill Paley
00:35
Howard K. Smith on his thoughts on Bill Paley
00:49

Ronald Reagan

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Howard K. Smith on moderating presidential debates
01:21
Howard K. Smith on his thoughts on Ronald Reagan
00:30

Harry Reasoner

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Howard K. Smith on working with co-anchor Harry Reasoner at ABC
00:50
Howard K. Smith on his thoughts on Harry Reasoner
00:35

Frank Reynolds

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Howard K. Smith on working with co-anchor Frank Reynolds at ABC
00:50
Howard K. Smith on his thoughts on Frank Reynolds
00:16

Franklin D. Roosevelt

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Howard K. Smith on FDR visiting New Orleans
03:25

Eric Sevareid

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Howard K. Smith on CBS journalist Eric Sevareid
01:08
Howard K. Smith on his thoughts on Eric Sevareid
00:19

Frank Stanton

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Howard K. Smith on his thoughts on Frank Stanton
00:17

Barbara Walters

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Howard K. Smith on Barbabra Walters replacing him after he left ABC News
01:24
Howard K. Smith on his thoughts on Barbara Walters
00:10

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