A Rhetorical/Interpretive Analysis of Edward R. Murrow's Criticism of Broadcast Journalism: Implications for Broadcast Journalism Educators
More InformationShow full item record
Corporate influence has been an ongoing concern for working journalists. Even in the early days of television, Edward R. Murrow saw a bleak future for society if broadcasters succumbed to corporate greed and failed in their responsibility to inform the public. This rhetorical study of Murrow's 1958 speech to the Radio-Television News Directors Association, guided by Perelman's theory of the universal audience and presence, argues that Murrow's speech prioritized broadcast journalism's obligation to a democratic society and warned that commercial intrusion was impacting the profession's moral obligations. At the same time, in appealing to a particular audience, Murrow deemphasized the role of individuals in the process, including both working journalists and the viewing audience. I apply the findings of my rhetorical analysis to a qualitative case study analysis of three collegiate broadcasting textbooks to examine how closely Murrow's vision for the industry is being passed on to the next generation of broadcast journalists. My findings suggest that tensions exist between the two, including Murrow advocating a more proactive rather than a reactive approach to broadcast journalism. I conclude by offering recommendations to broadcast educators in helping young journalists balance the obligations Murrow envisioned for the industry and the corporate realities of broadcasting.