Murray Fromson

News Correspondent


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 interview, Murray Fromson (1929-2018) talks about his early years and growing up during the Depression and World War II, and his early interest in journalism. He discusses writing for the "Los Angeles Mirror," being drafted during the Korean War, and writing for "Stars and Stripes." He shares stories of his continued work overseas, reporting for the Associated Press in Japan, Singapore, and Sumatra. Fromson then recalls his switch to broadcast journalism, first for NBC News, where he covered the 1960 presidential election, before moving over to CBS News, where he covered political campaigns and the Civil Rights Movement. He describes the creation of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, following the trial of the Chicago 8. He then discusses his time reporting on the Vietnam War for CBS News and in Moscow in the 1970s. He concludes by touching on his teaching career at USC, giving advice to aspiring journalists, and sharing how he would like to be remembered. Robert Markowitz conducted the interview on November 12, 2007 in North Hollywood, CA.

"[Television news] has been changed by the fact that money means everything to the people who run it now. I mean, everything is dictated by how much will it cost, why do we need it, should we cover it? In the old days when a story broke, we just went and we did it."

Highlights
Murray Fromson on what he told Walter Cronkite on his visit to Vietnam
03:15
Murray Fromson on covering Barry Goldwater's 1964 whistlestop tour, and an on-air error that occurred during Roger Mudd's reporting on the CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite
06:33
Murray Fromson on how his transfer to the Chicago bureau of CBS News came about due to an experience in Vietnam
05:38
Murray Fromson on some of his most striking memories of reporting for "Stars and Stripes" in Korea during the Korean War
04:29
Murray Fromson on what it was like to live in Moscow during the Cold War and to report for CBS News
03:12
Murray Fromson on how he would like to be remembered
03:00
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his childhood and early influences; on his experiences growing up during the Great Depression and World War II; on moving to California in junior high school, and changing his last name to Fromson
On getting into journalism in junior high school; on being drafted during the Korean War and writing for "Stars and Stripes"

Chapter 2

On reporting for "Stars and Stripes" during the Korean War; on working for the Associate Press following his military service; on being transferred to Japan to cover post-war Korea and Japan
On how he came to be sent to Moscow to report for CBS News; on being transferred to Singapore in 1956; on reporting on Cambodia and Vietnam on his way to Singapore

Chapter 3

On reporting for the Associated Press in Sumatra and Singapore; on Edward R. Murrow encouraging him to get into broadcast journalism; on how he came to work for NBC News; on covering the 1960 presidential election for NBC News
On his impression of Lyndon B. Johnson from covering him during the 1960 presidential election for NBC News; on how the parameters of what the press reports on and has access to has changed over time; on the technology used to cover presidential conventions in the 1960s

Chapter 4

On covering Barry Goldwater's 1964 presidential campaign for CBS News; on why he moved from NBC News to CBS News; on covering the 1962 California gubernatorial race for CBS News
On covering the Cuban Missile Crisis for CBS News; on the assassinations of John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr., and covering the marches in Selma; on the formation of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press

Chapter 5

On covering the trial of the Chicago 8; on covering the Vietnam War for CBS News
On the My Lai Massacre; on a piece he wrote about the Vietnam War for "The New York Times"; on transferring to the Chicago bureau of CBS News; on Walter Cronkite's visit to Vietnam

Chapter 6

On what he told Walter Cronkite on his visit to Vietnam; on moving to Moscow in 1972 to cover the Soviet Union for CBS News
On the biggest stories he covered while he was in Moscow for CBS News; on how he came to go back to Vietnam to cover the end of the war

Chapter 7

On covering the end of the Vietnam War; on moving to Los Angeles, working various jobs, and eventually becoming a professor at USC; on his proudest career achievements and on the then-current state of journalism; on the Iraq War and 9/11
On the then-current state of television news and journalism; on advice to aspiring journalists; on how he would like to be remembered
Shows

CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite

View Show Page
Murray Fromson on covering Barry Goldwater's 1964 whistlestop tour, and an on-air error that occurred during Roger Mudd's reporting on the CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite
06:33
Murray Fromson on Walter Cronkite's visit to Vietnam
01:56
Murray Fromson on what he told Walter Cronkite on his visit to Vietnam, which led to Cronkite's statement on his show that the war was not winnable
03:15

CBS News

View Show Page
Murray Fromson on how he came to be sent to Moscow to report for CBS News, and his insistence on studying some Russian before going abroad
04:11
Murray Fromson on covering the 1962 California gubernatorial race for CBS News between Richard M. Nixon and Pat Brown
03:35
Murray Fromson on covering the Vietnam War for CBS News
03:53
Murray Fromson on torture he witnessed while covering the Vietnam War for CBS News, and a court martial trial he covered
04:46
Murray Fromson on how his transfer to the Chicago bureau of CBS News came about due to an experience in Vietnam
05:38
Murray Fromson on going to Moscow to cover the Soviet Union for CBS News in 1972
02:45
Murray Fromson on what it was like to live in Moscow during the Cold War and to report for CBS News
03:12
Murray Fromson on covering a press conference with Leonid Brezhnev before his visit to the United States in 1973 for CBS News
04:02
Murray Fromson on the biggest stories he covered while he was in Moscow for CBS News
04:45
Murray Fromson on how ended up going back to Vietnam for CBS News, despite his attempts to go to China instead
05:57
Murray Fromson on covering the end of the Vietnam War for CBS News
05:21
Murray Fromson on moving to the Los Angeles bureau of CBS News in 1976
02:23

NBC News

View Show Page
Murray Fromson on how he came to work for NBC News
03:19
Murray Fromson on covering the 1960 presidential election for NBC News
02:02
Murray Fromson on covering Lyndon B. Johnson for NBC News during the 1960 presidential election, and a trip he took to report on military bases in Asia during that time
03:46
Murray Fromson on covering the 1960 Democratic National Convention for NBC News
02:14
Murray Fromson on his impression of Lyndon B. Johnson from covering him during the 1960 presidential election for NBC News
04:03
Topics

9/11

View Topic
Murray Fromson on 9/11 and its aftermath
01:42

Advice

View Topic
Murray Fromson on advice to aspiring journalists
01:39

Bloopers

View Topic
Murray Fromson on covering Barry Goldwater's 1964 whistlestop tour, and an on-air error that occurred during Roger Mudd's reporting on the CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite
06:33

Civil Rights Movement

View Topic
Murray Fromson on his response to Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assassination, having met King while covering the marches in Selma, AL
04:46

Cold War

View Topic
Murray Fromson on covering the Cuban Missile Crisis for CBS News
01:49
Murray Fromson on going to Moscow to cover the Soviet Union for CBS News in 1972
02:45
Murray Fromson on what it was like to live in Moscow during the Cold War and to report for CBS News
03:12
Murray Fromson on a press conference with Leonid Brezhnev before his visit to the United States in 1973
04:02
Murray Fromson on the biggest stories he covered while he was in Moscow for CBS News
04:45

Creative Influences and Inspiration

View Topic
Murray Fromson on getting his first byline in his junior high school newspaper
01:12
Murray Fromson on finding inspiration from Edward R. Murrow's broadcasts from London during World War II
01:11

Historic Events and Social Change

View Topic
Murray Fromson on catching a glimpse of the Hindenburg flying over the Bronx on the day of its crash, on May 6, 1937
03:04
Murray Fromson on his experiences growing up during the Great Depression
01:47
Murray Fromson on seeing his Japanese-American classmates taken out of their classroom a few weeks after the attack on Pearl Harbor, and the discrimination he witnessed against Japanese-Americans
02:07
Murray Fromson on what the atmosphere was like during the Great Depression, and how this inspired his interest in journalism
01:12
Murray Fromson on being drafted during the Korean War, and he came to write for "Stars and Stripes"
02:24
Murray Fromson on what it was like to write for "Stars and Stripes" during the Korean War, and how a story he wrote got him transferred from being stationed in Japan to Korea
02:38
Murray Fromson on some of his most striking memories of reporting for "Stars and Stripes" in Korea during the Korean War
04:29
Murray Fromson on getting in trouble for a story he wrote about a Marine while reporting for "Stars and Stripes" during the Korean War, and how this led to him being hired by the Associated Press
06:17
Murray Fromson on being a correspondent in Japan, reporting on Japan and Korea following the end of the Korean War
03:02
Murray Fromson on stopping in Saigon and Cambodia on his way to reporting in Singapore in 1956
03:29
Murray Fromson on covering Henry Cabot Lodge (Richard M. Nixon's running mate) for NBC Newsduring the 1960 election, and watching the Kennedy-Nixon debates with Lodge
01:04
Murray Fromson on covering the Cuban Missile Crisis for CBS News
01:49
Murray Fromson on news coverage of the assassination of John F. Kennedy
01:19
Murray Fromson on his response to Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assassination, having met King while covering the marches in Selma, AL
04:46
Murray Fromson on covering the Vietnam War for CBS News
03:53
Murray Fromson on torture he witnessed while covering the Vietnam War for CBS News, and a court martial trial he covered
04:46
Murray Fromson on the My Lai Massacre and the horrors of war
01:44
Murray Fromson on a piece he wrote for "The New York Times," which was an interview with an unnamed general who said the war in Vietnam was unwinnable - the general did not allow his name to be revealed until 2006 (it was Frederick C. Weyand)
03:23
Murray Fromson on how his transfer to the Chicago bureau of CBS News came about due to an experience in Vietnam
05:38
Murray Fromson on Walter Cronkite's visit to Vietnam
01:56
Murray Fromson on what he told Walter Cronkite on his visit to Vietnam
03:15
Murray Fromson on going to Moscow to cover the Soviet Union for CBS News in 1972
02:45
Murray Fromson on what it was like to live in Moscow during the Cold War and to report for CBS News
03:12
Murray Fromson on a press conference with Leonid Brezhnev before his visit to the United States in 1973
04:02
Murray Fromson on the biggest stories he covered while he was in Moscow for CBS News
04:45
Murray Fromson on covering the end of the Vietnam War, including the plane crash of a flight taking orphans out of Vietnam
05:20
Murray Fromson on the parallels between the Iraq War and the Vietnam War
01:19
Murray Fromson on 9/11 and its aftermath
01:42

JFK Assassination and Funeral

View Topic
Murray Fromson on news coverage of the assassination of John F. Kennedy
01:19

Kennedy-Nixon Debates

View Topic
Murray Fromson on covering Henry Cabot Lodge (Richard M. Nixon's running mate) for NBC Newsduring the 1960 election, and watching the Kennedy-Nixon debates with Lodge
01:04

Korean War

View Topic
Murray Fromson on being drafted during the Korean War, and he came to write for "Stars and Stripes"
02:24
Murray Fromson on what it was like to write for "Stars and Stripes" during the Korean War, and how a story he wrote got him transferred from being stationed in Japan to Korea
02:38
Murray Fromson on some of his most striking memories of reporting for "Stars and Stripes" in Korea during the Korean War
04:29
Murray Fromson on getting in trouble for a story he wrote about a Marine while reporting for "Stars and Stripes" during the Korean War, and how this led to him being hired by the Associated Press
06:17
Murray Fromson on being a correspondent in Japan, reporting on Japan and Korea following the end of the Korean War
03:02

Pivotal Career Moments

View Topic
Murray Fromson on getting his first byline in his junior high school newspaper
01:12
Murray Fromson on finding inspiration from Edward R. Murrow's broadcasts from London during World War II
01:11

Technological Innovation

View Topic
Murray Fromson on the technology they used to report on the 1960 presidential convention for NBC News, and a problem he had with film when reporting for CBS News
02:38

Television Industry

View Topic
Murray Fromson on the then-current state of television news
01:54
Murray Fromson on advice to aspiring journalists
01:39

Television and the Presidency

View Topic
Murray Fromson on covering the 1960 presidential election for NBC News
02:02
Murray Fromson on covering the 1960 Democratic National Convention for NBC News
02:14
Murray Fromson on covering Barry Goldwater's 1964 whistlestop tour, and an on-air error that occurred during Roger Mudd's reporting on the CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite
06:33

Vietnam War

View Topic
Murray Fromson on stopping in Saigon and Cambodia on his way to reporting in Singapore in 1956
03:29
Murray Fromson on covering the Vietnam War for CBS News
03:53
Murray Fromson on torture he witnessed while covering the Vietnam War for CBS News, and a court martial trial he covered
04:46
Murray Fromson on the My Lai Massacre and the horrors of war
01:44
Murray Fromson on a piece he wrote for "The New York Times," which was an interview with an unnamed general who said the war in Vietnam was unwinnable - the general did not allow his name to be revealed until 2006 (it was Frederick C. Weyand)
03:23
Murray Fromson on how his transfer to the Chicago bureau of CBS News came about due to an experience in Vietnam
05:38
Murray Fromson on Walter Cronkite's visit to Vietnam
01:56
Murray Fromson on what he told Walter Cronkite on his visit to Vietnam
03:15
Murray Fromson on covering the end of the Vietnam War, including the plane crash of a flight taking orphans out of Vietnam
05:20

War

View Topic
Murray Fromson on seeing his Japanese-American classmates taken out of their classroom a few weeks after the attack on Pearl Harbor, and the discrimination he witnessed against Japanese-Americans
02:07
Murray Fromson on being drafted during the Korean War, and he came to write for "Stars and Stripes"
02:24
Murray Fromson on what it was like to write for "Stars and Stripes" during the Korean War, and how a story he wrote got him transferred from being stationed in Japan to Korea
02:38
Murray Fromson on some of his most striking memories of reporting for "Stars and Stripes" in Korea during the Korean War
04:29
Murray Fromson on getting in trouble for a story he wrote about a Marine while reporting for "Stars and Stripes" during the Korean War, and how this led to him being hired by the Associated Press
06:17
Murray Fromson on being a correspondent in Japan, reporting on Japan and Korea following the end of the Korean War
03:02
Murray Fromson on stopping in Saigon and Cambodia on his way to reporting in Singapore in 1956
03:29
Murray Fromson on covering the Cuban Missile Crisis for CBS News
01:49
Murray Fromson on covering the Vietnam War for CBS News
03:53
Murray Fromson on torture he witnessed while covering the Vietnam War for CBS News, and a court martial trial he covered
04:46
Murray Fromson on the My Lai Massacre and the horrors of war
01:44
Murray Fromson on a piece he wrote for "The New York Times," which was an interview with an unnamed general who said the war in Vietnam was unwinnable - the general did not allow his name to be revealed until 2006 (it was Frederick C. Weyand)
03:23
Murray Fromson on how his transfer to the Chicago bureau of CBS News came about due to an experience in Vietnam
05:38
Murray Fromson on Walter Cronkite's visit to Vietnam
01:56
Murray Fromson on what he told Walter Cronkite on his visit to Vietnam
03:15
Murray Fromson on going to Moscow to cover the Soviet Union for CBS News in 1972
02:45
Murray Fromson on what it was like to live in Moscow during the Cold War and to report for CBS News
03:12
Murray Fromson on a press conference with Leonid Brezhnev before his visit to the United States in 1973
04:02
Murray Fromson on the biggest stories he covered while he was in Moscow for CBS News
04:45
Murray Fromson on covering the end of the Vietnam War, including the plane crash of a flight taking orphans out of Vietnam
05:20
Murray Fromson on the parallels between the Iraq War and the Vietnam War
01:19

War on Terror

View Topic
Murray Fromson on the parallels between the Iraq War and the Vietnam War
01:19

World War II

View Topic
Murray Fromson on seeing his Japanese-American classmates taken out of their classroom a few weeks after the attack on Pearl Harbor, and the discrimination he witnessed against Japanese-Americans
02:07
Professions

Journalists & News Producers

View Profession
Murray Fromson on the language barrier that foreign correspondents face, and his particular challenges when he was covering Japan and Korea after the Korean War
00:56
Murray Fromson on the experience of an American reporting in a foreign country, and the inevitable cultural biases that appear in reporting
04:05
Murray Fromson on how the parameters of what the press reports on and has access to has changed over time
03:33
Murray Fromson on what was involved with being the field producer for CBS News' coverage of Barry Goldwater's 1964 presidential campaign
00:40
Murray Fromson on threats to journalistic freedom from Richard M. Nixon's administration, and the formation of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press
03:43
Murray Fromson on how he reported conversations with dissidents in the Soviet Union while working there in the 1970s
01:20
Murray Fromson on his proudest career achievements and on the then-current state of journalism
01:55
Murray Fromson on the centrality of a free press to a free society
00:58
Murray Fromson on the idea of a professional code of ethics for journalists
00:52
Murray Fromson on advice to aspiring journalists
01:39

News Producer

View Profession
Murray Fromson on what was involved with being the field producer for CBS News' coverage of Barry Goldwater's 1964 presidential campaign
00:40
Genres

News and Documentary

View Genre
Murray Fromson on covering the 1960 presidential election for NBC News
15:45
Murray Fromson on covering Barry Goldwater's 1964 whistlestop tour, and an on-air error that occurred during Roger Mudd's reporting on the CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite
06:33
Murray Fromson on covering the 1962 California gubernatorial race for CBS News between Richard M. Nixon and Pat Brown
03:35
Murray Fromson on covering the Vietnam War for CBS News
20:10
Murray Fromson on living in Moscow to cover the Soviet Union for CBS News
14:47
Murray Fromson on returning to Vietnam to cover the end of the war for CBS News
People

Walter Cronkite

View Interview Page
Murray Fromson on Walter Cronkite's visit to Vietnam
01:56
Murray Fromson on what he told Walter Cronkite on his visit to Vietnam
03:15

Lyndon B. Johnson

View Person Page
Murray Fromson on covering Lyndon B. Johnson for NBC News during the 1960 presidential election, and a trip he took to report on military bases in Asia during that time - and relaying the story of his trip to Johnson
03:46
Murray Fromson on covering the 1960 Democratic National Convention for NBC News, and Lyndon B. Johnson getting the vice presidential nomination
02:14
Murray Fromson on his impression of Lyndon B. Johnson from covering him during the 1960 presidential election for NBC News
05:53

Roger Mudd

View Interview Page
Murray Fromson on covering Barry Goldwater's 1964 whistlestop tour, and an on-air error that occurred during Roger Mudd's reporting on the CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite
06:33

Edward R. Murrow

View Person Page
Murray Fromson on finding inspiration from Edward R. Murrow's broadcasts from London during World War II
01:11
Murray Fromson on meeting Edward R. Murrow, and Murrow encouraging him to get into broadcast (rather than print) journalism
02:57

Richard M. Nixon

View Person Page
Murray Fromson on covering the 1962 California gubernatorial race for CBS News between Richard M. Nixon and Pat Brown
03:35

Eric Sevareid

View Person Page
Murray Fromson on working on Eric Sevareid's Chronicle
00:28

Frank Stanton

View Interview Page
Murray Fromson on Frank Stanton loaning him money to go cover a story for CBS News
00:41

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