Friendlyvision: Fred Friendly and the Rise and Fall of Television Journalism

Overview

Fred Friendly (1915-1998) was the single most important personality in news and public affairs programming during the first four decades of American television. Portrayed by George Clooney in the film Good Night and Good Luck, Friendly, together with Edward R. Murrow, invented the television documentary format and subsequently oversaw the birth of public television. Juggling the roles of producer, policy maker, and teacher, Friendly had an unprecedented impact on the development of CBS in its heyday, wielded ...

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Friendlyvision: Fred Friendly and the Rise and Fall of Television Journalism

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Overview

Fred Friendly (1915-1998) was the single most important personality in news and public affairs programming during the first four decades of American television. Portrayed by George Clooney in the film Good Night and Good Luck, Friendly, together with Edward R. Murrow, invented the television documentary format and subsequently oversaw the birth of public television. Juggling the roles of producer, policy maker, and teacher, Friendly had an unprecedented impact on the development of CBS in its heyday, wielded extensive influence at the Ford Foundation under the presidency of McGeorge Bundy, and trained a generation of journalists at Columbia University during a tumultuous period of student revolt.

Ralph Engelman's biography is the first comprehensive account of Friendly's life and work. Known as a "brilliant monster," Friendly stood at the center of television's unique response to McCarthyism, Watergate, and the Vietnam War, and the pitched battles he fought continue to resonate in the troubled world of television news. Engelman's fascinating psychological portrait explores the sources of Friendly's legendary rage and his extraordinary achievement. Drawing on private papers and interviews with colleagues, family members, and friends, Friendlyvision is the definitive story of broadcast journalism's infamous "wild man," providing a crucial perspective on the past and future character of American journalism.

Columbia University Press

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Editorial Reviews

Columbia Journalism Review
[A] complex, rewarding portrait of one of network television's most memorable figures.

— James Boylan

Wall Street Journal
A revelation.... Engelman ably brings [Fred Friendly] to life.

— J. Max Robins

Choice

Richly detailed... The book opens a singular window on an important vision that Friendly shared with others... Recommended.

Media International Australis
Friendlyvision will likely become not only the authoritative biography of Fred Friendly, but also a valuable secondary text.

— Ben Eltham

Journal of American History
A nuanced and thoughtful portrayal of one of the foremost figures in the history of American broadcast journalism.

— Michael Curtin

Bill Moyers
Broadcast news might have been saved if we had figured out how to clone Fred Friendly. Read this book and you'll understand the gruff, restless, brilliant, temperamental, and driven giant of a man who fought to make the vast wasteland safe for journalism.
Everette Dennis
Friendlyvision is an important and rigorous piece of scholarship that is also well written and highly readable. A first-rate biography of an important figure, this book conveys the values Fred Friendly enunciated and the industry he helped forge, which remains more important than ever.
Don Carleton
This book is a significant and original contribution, not only because it is the first scholarly biography of an important figure in television, but also because it uses new archival sources to fill gaps in our knowledge and give us an opportunity to reinterpret key events in Fred Friendly's life.
Columbia Journalism Review - James Boylan
[A] complex, rewarding portrait of one of network television's most memorable figures.
Wall Street Journal - J. Max Robins
A revelation.... Engelman ably brings [Fred Friendly] to life.
Media International Australis - Ben Eltham
Friendlyvision will likely become not only the authoritative biography of Fred Friendly, but also a valuable secondary text.
Journal of American History - Michael Curtin
A nuanced and thoughtful portrayal of one of the foremost figures in the history of American broadcast journalism.
Choice
Richly detailed... The book opens a singular window on an important vision that Friendly shared with others... Recommended.
Kirkus Reviews
The man behind Murrow and much more. Engelman (Journalism/Long Island Univ.; Public Radio and Television in America: A Political History, 1996) examines the life and career of influential and controversial news producer Fred Friendly (1915-98), best known for his long association with crusading journalist Edward R. Murrow. Born Ferdinand F. Wachenheimer, Friendly was one of the most profoundly influential figures in the history of broadcast journalism. After successfully producing a series of innovative news programs for radio, he caught the attention of CBS News, where he teamed with Murrow to create Hear It Now and See It Now, radio and TV documentary series that re-created historic events for audiences. The Friendly/Murrow partnership capitalized on these successes to pursue increasingly provocative subject matter, such as an investigation of Senator Joseph McCarthy's anticommunist campaign, that frequently brought them into conflict with CBS founder William Paley. Named head of CBS News in 1964, Friendly resigned his post two years later when the network refused to preempt a rerun of I Love Lucy for live coverage of the Senate Foreign Relation Committee's hearings on Vietnam. Dramatic, outsized, principled and self-promoting (he sent his letter of resignation to the New York Times), this action encapsulated the many contradictions at the heart of Friendly's persona. Quotes from colleagues and friends describe him by turns as dynamic and domineering, warm and bullying and passionately idealistic and wearyingly petulant. Friendly continued to wield vast influence over his field after leaving CBS. He taught at Columbia's Journalism School, established a highly regarded series of publicseminars on media and virtually invented the concept of public television. Engelman's comprehensive research-he cites the dyslexic Ferd Wachenheimer's school report cards-brings his driven subject into vivid relief. The prose may be dryly academic, but the man, his times and his achievements come through. A substantial and useful study of the underknown pioneer whose conviction and energy did much to shape the content and character of American broadcast journalism.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780231136914
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press
  • Publication date: 4/13/2011
  • Pages: 440
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 8.70 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Ralph Engelman chairs the Journalism Department at the Brooklyn Campus of Long Island University. A member of the jury of the George Polk Awards and the coordinator of the annual George Polk Awards Seminar, he is the author of Public Radio and Television in America: A Political History.

Columbia University Press

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Table of Contents

Foreword by Morley SaferAcknowledgmentsPrologue: Salesman Introduction 1. Ferd 2. "My Rhodes Scholarship"3. "Willing to Be Lucky" 4. See It Now 5. Friendly and Murrow 6. Encounter with McCarthyism 7. Aftermath 8. CBS Reports 9. Camelot 10. News President 11. At the Top of His Game 12. Vietnam 13. Resignation14. Policy Maker 15. Professor 16. PBL 17. PBS 18. The Press and the Bar 19. Seminar 20. Last Years 21. Friendlyvision NotesIndex

Columbia University Press

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