|Creator:||Radio-Television News Directors Association|
|Extent:||300.00 linear feet.|
|Repository:||University of Iowa Special Collections|
|Summary:||Correspondence, minutes of the board of directors, conventionreports, financial records, committee files, copies of thepublication RTNDA Bulletin, membership files, audiotapes, videotapes, and other papers.|
THE FORMATIVE YEARS AN HISTORICAL REVIEW OF THE RADIO-TELEVISION NEWS DIRECTORS ASSOCIATION, 1946 -- 1957
During 1956 when Harold Baker was President, he persuaded me to undertake an historical review of the Association from its formation. It is with a great deal of pride and pleasure that I submit herewith the results of that effort.
The writer claims little, if any, credit for the excellent job that has been done in preparing this review. Virtually all of the credit rightfully belongs to Miss Mickie Newbill, Radio Program Director, School of Journalism and Communications, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida. When Miss Newbill was contacted about the possibility of undertaking such a project, she very readily expressed her willingness to do it, and our entire Association owes her a very great debt of gratitude for the excellent job she has done. You will find in these comparatively few pages a complete resume of the Association's work and progress since that October weekend of 1946 when some 65 of us gathered in Cleveland, Ohio to organize this Association.
I also am grateful to all of you who in many ways have contributed material and advice in compiling this review.
F.0. Carver, Jr., WSJS, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Editorial Supervisor
Miss Mickie Newbill, School of journalism and Communications, University of Florida, Research and Editorial Writing
THE FORMATIVE YEARS
In little more than a decade, the Radio-Television News Directors Association has grown from a membership of 65 to a membership of several hundred, has changed its name twice, has received international recognition, and has made its voice heard in several campaigns for the radio and television profession. This is the story of the Association's growth and impact.
THE ASSOCIATION IS FORMED
In the summer of 1946, John Hogan (WCSH, Portland, Maine) began sending letters to radio newsmen across the country. He said that newsmen had proposed a national association of radio newsmen and that a meeting for the organization's formation was suggested for the autumn of 1946.
In late October, 65 newsmen from many parts of the country met at the Allerton Hotel in Cleveland. In just three days, the Constitution Committee, chairmanned by John Murphy (WCKY, Cincinnati) wrote a constitution. And the newsmen present gave the organization its first name and elected the first officers. These 65 men were charter members of the National Association of Radio News Editors. The first president was John Hogan, who set as the general aim of NARNE, the improvement of radio news presentation.
Decisions facing the 1946 convention involved eligibility for membership, methods of electing officers, and objectives of the organization. The Association got its first name change at this convention; because most heads of radio news departments were called "directors" or "managers", the name was changed to the National Association of Radio News Directors. At the convention, NARND went on record as believing "that locally originated news should be gathered, written, and presented by station personnel trained in news writing and evaluation; that this news should be written and presented accurately and without bias, to inform as many as possible, and should remain within the bounds of good taste; that the autonomy of the news director and his news department in the radio station should be recognized; that the news director should be directly responsible only to his journalistic principles and ideals, and to the general manager of the station."
Committees were set up for Awards and Education. A Membership Committee was established to decide "how to handle candidates for membership," and a Board of Directors was appointed. The first Directors were John Hogan, John Murphy, Jack Shelley (WHO, Des Moines), Jack Krueger (WTMJ, Milwaukee), Tom Eaton (WTIC, Hartford), Bob Mahoney (KWKH, Shreveport), Les Ford (WGR, Buffalo), Soren Munkhof (WOW, Omaha), Ben Chatfield (WMAZ, Macon), Sig Mickelson (WCCO, Minneapolis), Milo Knutson (KFBI, Wichita), and Dave Kessler (WHAM, Rochester). Officers were John Hogan, President, Sig Mickelson, First Vice-President, Jack Shelley, Second Vice-President, John Murphy, Treasurer, and Edward Wallace (WTAM, Cleveland) Executive Secretary.
At this first convention, members heard panels on "Writing and Building News Broadcasts," "Personnel Problems, Newsroom Management, and Organization," "Special Events Techniques Employed in News Broadcasts," "Shall We Editorialize on the Air?, "News Gathering and Coverage," and "Contributions of Press Associations to Radio News Broadcasts."
Some of NARND's early problems, according to Jack Shelley's 1955 Convention Keynote Address, were, "a suspicion on the part of management that some sort of union was in the making, doubts that such an organization could become permanent since a previous effort had failed, lack of understanding why voting membership was restricted to news directors, fear that it would become dominated by the network and that officers would be elected on a popularity contest basis, and feelings that the microscopic size of the group in relation to the stations it claimed to represent would make it ineffective."
In April, 1947, the 76 (by then) members of the organization received the first NARND BULLETIN, seven mimeographed pages. The BULLETIN'S purpose was, according to Ed Wallace, "to try and keep up a steady exchange of information about what our stations are doing, what kind of new techniques and experimental approaches to the news we are employing. Also, personal information about our members and their staffs." At a spring meeting in Columbus, the Board of Directors inaugurated a membership drive, endorsed "full and equal recognition" for recording equipment in all public proceedings and news conferences, urged "that radio be given free and equal access to all sources of news," and adopted five expositions as to why radio newsmen should become members of NARND:
1. Some organization is needed to help radio consolidate the position it won through its fine reporting of the Second World War, by becoming what might be described as a "steering committee" for radio news broadcasting.
2. It offers radio news men membership in a professional society, thus establishing their position as a special and responsible segment of the industry.
3. An association offers a clearing house for information.
4. It should help news departments win greater recognition as an important and responsible phase of a station's operation, a phase requiring competent personnel.
5. An organization will help radio in its battle for equal access to news sources.
The resolution concerning recognition for recording equipment was bearing fruit by August. Paul Ziemer of WKBH in La Crosse, Wisconsin, could report that the NARND action helped his station's wire recorder gain access to a city council meeting.
NARND filed an official protest against the White Bill, legislation that would force news broadcasts to identify sources of information. According to the BULLETIN, that protest helped postpone action on the measure.
THE 1947 CONVENTION
After receiving invitations from 14 cities, NARND decided to hold its 1947 convention in Washington, D. C. on November 13, 14, and 15. The convention adopted a code of standards, accepted a resolution on equal access, asked for "proper identification on the air of persons reading news," endorsed the Voice of America, and recommended that NARND make awards for outstanding news coverage. All the 1947 officers would continue through convention time in 1948. The number of committees enlarged that year to include committees on Awards, Education, Membership, Publicity, Standards, and Small Stations.
Convention panels concerned the following topics: "Use of the Wire Recorder in News Broadcasts," "Cultivation of Local News Sources," and "Gadgets and Gimmicks, Newsroom Time Savers." Convention goers heard talks on "Facsimile," "Audience Absorption of News," and "Libel and Other Legal Problems of Radio."
The 1948 spring Board of Directors meeting added a committee on television, chose a Program Committee, and installed a Board of Regional Editors to assist in news-gathering for the BULLETIN.
In the September, 1948, BULLETIN, the first NARND awards were announced. They went to Hollywood's KFWB and Ohio State University.
THE 1948 CONVENTION
The third national convention was set for St. Louis, November 12, 13, and 14, 1948. NARND initiated a Committee on Facsimile, a Special Committee to Study Wire Services, and a Constitution Revision Committee to study the constitution and to evolve a new document for presentation at the 1949 convention. The Board of Directors agreed to permit Canadian news directors to participate in NARND affairs on an informal basis and to substitute certificates of membership for membership cards. A resolution pledged members to report, "fairly and without restraint the activities of the United Nations, UNESCO and like world organizations." The officers for 1948 were Sig Mickelson, President, Jack Shelley, First Vice-President, Ben Chatfield, Second Vice-President, Dave Kessler, Treasurer, and Sorcn Munkhof, Executive Secretary.
According to John Hogan, now editor of the BULLETIN, the top achievement of 1948 was recognition by the NAB. One of the convention panels was based on a NARND pamphlet, "Getting Ready for Televison. Other convention panels concerned "Small Newsroom Operation," "Problems Beween Stations and Local Networks," "Facsimile," and "Documentary Broadcasts." Conventioners heard an address by Professor Mitchell Charnley of the University of Minnesota.
FREEDOM, NEW MEMBERS, AND COOPERATION
In 1949, the Board of Directors unanimously okayed NARND's fight for legislation granting radio newsmen the right to withhold sources of information. Arkansas and Indiana granted newsmen immunity by March. The organization, in February, called upon the House Committee on Un-American Activities to rescind a decision banning microphones and television and newsreel cameras at its public hearings. The April BULLETIN announced that the committee would probably reverse its ruling soon.
In April, 1949, the Membership Committee launched a campaign to triple membership, after NARND accepted its hundredth member in January. By September the total membership was 173 active and associate members from 39 states, the District of Columbia, and Canada. 1949 was the year the BULLETIN went from mimeograph machine to printing press, and in the September issue was news that 150 entries had been received for the awards program.
The Inter-Station Cooperation Committee sent a questionnaire to members asking (1) if they would like a directory for information on stories of interest to news directors in other stations, and (2) if members would like to cover stories automatically for other stations. The two plans for cooperation would be discussed at the November meeting.
THE 1949 CONVENTION
The 1949 convention, held in New York City November 11-13, brought speeches by Benjamin Cohen, Information Director for the United Nations, Erwin S. Canham, Editor of the Christian Science Monitor, Judge Justin Miller, President of the National Association of Broadcasters, and General Omar Bradley, Chairman of the joint Chiefs of Staff. Members attended panels on disaster coverage, television, profitability of professional radio newsrooms, and the effect of television on AM newscasts. The last-mentioned panel was conducted by Commentator Elmer Davis of ABC and Charles Hull Wolfe, Radio and Television Copy Chief of McCann-Ericson, Inc.
The officers for 1950 were Jack Shelley, President, Ben Chatfield, First Vice-president, Jim Bormann (WMT, Cedar Rapids), Second Vice-President, Soren Munkhof, Executive Secretary, and Sheldon Peterson (KLZ, Denver), Treasurer. The 1949 convention ended with a lengthened committee list that included committees on Standards, Awards, Membership Education, Small Stations, Television, Continuing Study of Wire Services, Constitutional Revision, Inter-Station Cooperation, Public Relations, 1950 Convention Arrangements, and Resolutions.
Aside from elections, convention business included approval of the new NARND Constitution, tabling of a proposed code of standards, a recommendation that all news agencies and wire services increase daily coverage of the UN, the naming of Art Barnes (WSUI, Iowa City) new Editor of the BULLETIN, a decision to send the publication to leading journalism schools, and a proposal to strengthen the awards program by "sharper definition of the nature and purpose" of the competition classes.
NARND's three pamphlets, "Analysis of Press Association Reports to Radio Stations," Tips for Small Station Newsrooms," and "Getting Ready for Television," were available at the secretary's office.
By January of 1950, membership certificates were held by more than 200 NARND-ites.
PROGRESS IN 1950
The organization supported the NAB in its criticism of the State Department's handling of Dean Acheson's Far Eastern policy speech. NAB complained that radio did not get a recording of the address until three hours after it was delivered, and asked permission to use recording devices in covering State Department speeches.
The March, 1950 BULLETIN carried a letter from the Inter-Station Cooperation Committee requesting examples, for publication, of such cooperation. Few issues, from that date, failed to have an instance of stations' working together for better news coverage. Also in March, a sub-committee of the Education Committee began to help in producing state pronunciation guides for newsmen. By May, the Council on Radio journalism had offered its assistance in the project.
The BULLETIN began three new features in 1950: publication of a membership roster, the listing of "help wanted" or "situation wanted" ads, and listings of new members.
The spring Board of Directors meeting set the 1950 convention theme: "Profits in News." According to President Shelley, the theme was chosen because the board felt that "one of NARND's main missions ... is to emphasize the strength of news as a profitable type of radio programming...."
The board, at this meeting, also decided to give only two awards, one for outstanding performance in radio news, and another for outstanding performance in TV news. Publication of a brochure was approved as part of a membership drive.
In 1950 President Shelley reported progress in reinstating the listing of news directors in Broadcasting Yearbook. Negotiations were also under way to have directors listed in Radio Annual. The President's efforts were partly successful; the March, 1951 BULLETIN reported that news directors would be named in Broadcasting Yearbook.
A special liaison committee made observations concerning the types of military news that could be broadcast safely during the Korean War. The observations, in condensed form, were: no voluntary or compulsory censorship existed, but every news director and newscaster wanted to disclose no military secrets to the enemy; information released by the Pentagon, military officials, members of Congress, competent civilian authorities, and press associations was generally usable; if a news director had any questions to ask, he should contact the Security Review Branch of the Department of Defense in Washington. President Shelley pledged NARND's cooperation in "any steps necessary for the security of our country."In December of 1950, a letter from NARND President Chatfield and a talk by Ted Koop (CBS, Washington) won NARND a place at meetings on news censorship.
THE 1950 CONVENTION
177 men and women registered at the 1950 convention in Chicago on November 16-18. Convention goers heard panels and discussions on internal and external public relations with the armed forces, radio newsman's relations with doctors and hospitals, wire services, Washington news, profitability of news, the National Safety Council (whose representative praised NARND for promoting the council's work), radio news in government, obligations of a commentator, telephone, crime reporting, television, and research. Speakers were Clifton Utley, NBC commentator, General Hoyt Vindenberg, Air Force Chief of Staff, Charter Heslep of the Atomic Energy Commission, Russell Brines, Associated Press Bureau Chief, Dr. W. R. G. Baker, a Vice-president of General Electric, and Baskette Mosse, Northeastern University Professor of Journalism.
New officers chosen at the convention were Ben Chatfield, President, Jim Bormann, First Vice-President, and Tom Eaton, Second Vice-President. Soren Munkbof and Sheldon Peterson remained at their posts as Executive Secretary and Treasurer.
The convention adopted the code of standards and recommendations to management that appeared in the September, 1950 BULLETIN, as prepared by the Standards Committee, chairmanned by F. 0. Carver (WSJS, Winston-Salem).
Membership had raced past 300 by the 1950 convention's end, but President Chatfield called on NARND to set a goal of 500 members to be reached by the 1951 convention.
RECOGNITION AND NEW COMMITTEES
NARND won recognition from four sources in 1951. The Association was represented on the Radio and Television Committee for Brotherhood Week. More recognition came when the President was elected to membership in the Council on Radio journalism. By amendment of the council's charter, the NARND President automatically became a member of the group. The NARND President also became a member of the Broadcast Advisory Committee in Washington. And in January, 1951, Sponsor carried an article praising NARND for building up "full fledged news staffs."
A new NARND committee was installed to serve members of newspaper affiliated or owned radio stations. First Chairman was John Eure (WDBJ, Roanoke, Virginia). Another new committee began in April. Bill Ray (NBC, Chicago) was first Chairman of the Committee on Freedom of Radio News. In the June BULLETIN, he asked help from all members and said that radio and TV should have the right to "report the news in their most effective way-via direct broadcasts or telecasts of the events as they occur, or by delayed recordings or newsreels." The 1951 spring board meeting changed the name of the Small Operations Committee to "Committee on News Room Operations," and moved that the 1951 convention theme be "Professionalism in Radio News."
The wire-services committee continued its study under the chairmanship of Jim Bormann and journalism Professor Mitchell V. Charnley of the University of Minnesota. For the first time, the Education Committee was composed almost entirely of educators in radio news and other aspects of journalism. By October, 1951, the committee decided to give priority to publication of a national guide to pronunciation of place names.
The year carried forward the battle for access of recorders and cameras to court-room trials and news conferences. When Florida's Governor Fuller Warren banned recorders from a public hearing, President Chatfield wrote letters in protest. The NARND Freedom of Information Committee asked the American Bar Association to withdraw "any objections . . . to broadcasts or telecasts of public functions of government."
SURVEYS AND EDUCATION
NARND's cooperation with a graduate student at Boston University produced the information that "despite the lack of money and equipment necessary for presenting the best type of illustrated news, great strides are being made in the television industry news-wise." In this study of TV newscasts, three trends were noted: "(1) expansion of time lengths, (2) increase in the number of daily newscasts, and (3) integration of the best known audiovisual standards of production into one type of news show."
Another NARND study was launched to determine the status of radio and TV news over the country. Questionnaires went to more than 1000 station managers and news editors. Many stations were adding news personnel; most favored editorializing if trained personnel was available and replied that coverage had improved during the preceding year.
By September, 1951, NARND was operating a speakers bureau to help the nation's journalism schools. The most experienced newsmen in the organization would lecture in schools and assist with courses in radio journalism. That same September, NARND asked for an explanation of alleged news suppression in Elkton, Maryland and Lake Charles, Louisiana. Both incidents were investigated by the Freedom of Information Committee. Concerning another matter, a presidential letter went to State and Defense Department heads explaining NARND's view that radio-TV newsmen should be included in State and Defense Department special inspections of foreign installations. The President also recommended that wire service release times be changed from 7 a.m. and p.m. to 6 a.m. and p.m. and earlier on Sundays.
THE 1951 CONVENTION
The 1951 Chicago convention brought, in addition to the regular awards, the first NARND citation to newsmen who had been in the industry ten years or longer. The Association had 283 paid members and 90 memberships in process. Conventioners discussed a name change that would include television. The proposed name was returned to committee. NARND-ites heard discussions of crime reporting, Democrat and Republican convention plans, war coverage, documentary programs, the Navy in Korea, and saleability of news. Principal speakers were Oliver Gramling, Assistant General Manager of AP, Phil Newsom, Radio News Manager of UP, Bernard Mullens, Coordinator of Election Coverage at WTIC, Hartford, Captain D. A. Flarris, Commanding Officer of the Naval ROTC at Illinois Institute of Technology, Kenneth Fry, Radio Director of the Democratic National Committee, and Ed Ingle, Radio Director of the Republican National Committee.
At the convention discouraging news came from the wire services. They admitted that the release times were not always equitable, but said that the 7 a.m. and p.m. times were the best possible compromise. The convention adopted a resolution viewing "with grave concern" President Truman's order imposing security regulations on information given out by government agencies, and heard a letter requesting passage of the Bricker-Capeliart-Ferguson Bill, legislation that would help in keeping the 11 channels of information ... open." Near the convention's close, members approved constitutional amendments abolishing the office of Second Vice-President, declaring that officers must have served on the Board of Directors, and leaving the spring board meeting to the directors' discretion.
The election of officers brought the following list for 1952: Jim Bormann, President, Tom Eaton, Vice-President, and Sheldon Peterson and Soren Munkhof remaining in their posts as Treasurer and Executive Secretary.
FREEDOM OF INFORMATION
1952 was a year for progress and defeat with regard to admission of recorder and camera into hearings, trials, and news conferences. In February, 1952, Speaker Sam Rayburn ruled that all coverage of the House and its committees must be restricted to paper and pencil reporting. NARND asked members to resist the ruling. The April BULLETIN reported that the American Bar Association was open-minded and might modify its stand opposing radio and video coverage of court trials and legislative hearings. The networks were given permission to record Dean Acheson's news conferences, and the Kentucky legislature gave radio and TV reporters immunity equal to that of newspapermen with regard to revealing sources of information. NARND President Jim Bormann sent a letter to Senator Pat McCarran protesting the resolution to bar microphones and cameras from all Senate hearings. Bormann asked the Senator not to take permanent action against a temporary problem. Senator McCarran answered that trials were open to protect witnesses -- not to give the public a show. He admitted that the ruling might some day need re-examination.
The Freedom of Information Committee received nationwide attention when Ted Koop and President Bormann were asked to write articles for Quill, Broadcasting-Telecasting, and U. S. A. magazines. A Freedom of Information Questionnaire revealed that few stations broadcast live government proceedings and that only 4 of 23 stations had been refused permission to air such proceedings.
In the spring of 1952, President Bormann protested to the Police Committee of the Minneapolis City Council concerning its refusal to let KSTP-TV cover activities on city property without permission of the city council. The President also asked Wisconsin Attorney General Vernon Thompson to clarify a ruling concerning access to news in that state. Thompson answered, quoting sections of the law that upheld his decision to the President's satisfaction. President Bormann congratulated NARND-ite William Ray for winning permission to cover Chicago City Council Crime Investigation Committee hearings. Radio and TV newsmen received permission to be present except when witnesses were examined. Bormann also sent a telegram to a Miami civil service board after a WTVJ news cameraman was banned from a hearing of two policemen charged with brutality. After receiving Bormann's wire, the board held a special meeting to consider the protest and asked the city attorney for an opinion. His reply stated that such hearings could be broadcast or televised when such broadcasting would not be an interference or interruption. The attorney also said that the public body had the right to regulate preparations for the broadcast, and added that airing of a trial should be left to the judge's discretion.
Another NARND presidential letter on a similar subject was reported in Variety magazine. Bormann answered a statement by Representative Emanuel Celler to the effect that Celler would "shudder to think what would happen if the Senate and House proceedings were televised. "Bormann asked Representative Celler, "whether you would shudder as violently if a dictator were to deprive the American people of their right to know what their government is doing."
OTHER PROJECTS: 1952
For the first time, in 1952, NARND set up headquarters at the Republican and Democratic National Conventions. The headquarters were sponsored jointly by NARND and the Chicago News Broadcasters' Association. Recordings of the convention were made available at a small charge to any radio station requesting them.
Another first for NARND began in April when the BULLETIN started printing bibliograpies of booklets, newspaper stories, and magazine articles of interest to members.
An Education Committee report showed that most newsrooms used an unabridged dictionary as a pronunciation guide, but that 78 per cent of the respondents favored publication of a national pronunciation guide to place names.
Senator Blair Moody, Chairman of the Anti-Censorship Committee of the Senate Investigating Committee, answered a letter from President Bormann. The Senator, to help in exposing censorship and correcting abuses, asked NARND to supply examples of news suppression by government officials. Another request came from the radio and television reference library operated by NBC in New York. The library wanted two copies of the NARND survey of station news practices. Also in 1952 NARND members were asked to aid in publicizing Education Week and the National Blood Program. NARND was receiving recognition from many sources.
THE 1952 CONVENTION
The 1952 NARND convention in Cleveland departed from tradition in scheduling fewer sessions and more discussion time. Especially expanded was the time given to opening reports, the awards session, and the business meeting. During this convention, NARND became the Radio -- Television News Directors Association. The word "national" was dropped to admit members from Canada, Mexico, and other countries; the word "television" was added to recognize members who were broadcasting pictures as well as sound. A second change in the constitution involved creating regional vice-presidents whose duties would be largely recruiting members and "explaining RTNDA to management and the public." Still another constitutional amendment provided that members at the convention would choose the following year's convention site. The convention ordered a special committee to codify constitutional changes.
A resolution expressed thanks to convention speakers and panel participants, especially Paul White, N. R. Howard, Louis B. Seltzer, Walter Ridder, John Meagher, Ted Koop, and Lee Ruwitch, General Manager of WTVJ. Members heard a panel, "Covering the Big Story," organized by F. 0. Carver, a TV workshop, organized and presented by Ed Wallace (KNBK) and Rob Rowley (WXEL), and a discussion of radio and TV's effect on news conferences and the quality of news dissemination generally, conducted by Walter Riddcr, Washington correspondent for the Ridder newspapers, N. H. Howard, Editor of the Cleveland News, and John Meagher of the Radio- TV Branch of the State Department Information Division.
One resolution that was passed with some dissent urged the State Department to increase and give greater publicity to its activities in behalf of former AP correspondent William Oatis, imprisoned by Communists. According to the BULLETIN, "Objectors were concerned with the advisability of entering controversial discussion on governmental procedure rather than any lack of concern with Oatis' fate."
In the President's report, Bormann cited several examples of progress for radio and TV journalism in 1952. In a sense, he said, the electorate overruled such blows as the executive order authorizing heads of federal agencies to withhold information on a public interest basis, the decision by Speaker Sam Rayburn to exclude radio and TV from hearings, and the ruling by Senator McCarran barring the media from Senate judiciary Committee proceedings. Another favorable sign was what Bormann called "willingness to accept reasonable requests," shown by Eisenhower in heeding the protests over emission of radio and TV newsmen from the Korean party. Bormann added that newspapers were showing "indications of a tendency to relent" in their attitude toward radio and television.
The officers for 1953 were Tom Eaton, President, James Byron (WBAP, WBA-TV, Ft. Worth), Vice -Presideiit, and Sheldon Peterson, Treasurer. The first regional Vice-Presidents were William Nictfeld (KCBS, San Francisco), Godfrey Hudson (CFQC, Saskatoon), Richard Cheverton (WMT, Cedar Rapids), Beckley Smith (KQV, Pittsburgh), and F. 0. Carver. At the convention, Soren Munkhof resigned after five years of service as Executive Secretary to be replaced by Rob Downey (WKAR, Michigan State College, Lansing).
President Tom Eaton announced that membership participation would be the theme of his administration. In his first statement as President, Eaton stressed the value of inter- station cooperation. The report from the Inter-Station Cooperation Committee, chairmanned by Russ Van Dyke (KRNT, Des Moines), encouraged the convention to instruct the BULLETIN editor to run a monthly column reporting examples of such cooperation. Van Dyke said that such exchange of news by RTNDA members could be one of the organization's greatest sales points with management. The convention instructed the BULLETIN Editor to run such a column.
RESULTS IN 1953
RTNDA, in 1953, stood behind Houston's KNUZ in its stand for equal rights to broadcast city council meetings. The council gave the station broadcast rights only if the entire meeting were aired. The KNUZ news editor protested broadcasting all of the meeting, and was joined by NARTB, Sigma Delta Chi, and the Texas Association of Broadcasters, as well as RTNDA. Also concerned with access to meetings was House Speaker Martin's reversal of Rayburn's order banning radio -- TV in Senate committee meetings. Martin said each committee should decide whether to grant access to radio and television.
RTNDA studies of the wire services resulted in a greater number of news items in AP's five - minute summaries. UP announced recommendations for "More news in fewer words," "More news topics," and "More light, odd quirks and personality stories."
RTNDA again entered the field of education by sponsoring a news session at the Institute for Education by Radio and TV at Ohio State University in April, and by co-sponsoring a National Television News Seminar, with Northwestern University's Medill School of journalism. The five-day session covered "practical application of the latest methods and techniques of TV news operations." Fifty members from 22 states heard 20 experts in TV news operations who served as faculty. One result of the seminar was a 15 chapter Television News Handbook published by the seminar sponsors.
RTNDA protested seeming violations of freedom of information in North Carolina, Texas, Maryland, Florida, and California. According to Freedom of Information Chairman, Jim Bormann (WCCO, Minneapolis), remedial act on followed in Texas, Maryland, and Florida. At the 1953 spring Board of Directors meeting, Borinann said that violations "have been numerous, but not quite so numerous as last year." That spring, the committee launched a survey to "determine the status of freedom of information legislation in U. S. state legislatures. "The committee also wrote California Governor Earl Warren, expressing concern that Warren had opposed legislation imposing penalties for assaulting news photographers and reporters engaged in their profession in a public place.
That spring the Board of Directors accepted 14 new members, bringing total membership to 318: 181 active and 137 associate members. The board also made it the responsibility of officers and directors to pass upon names of applicants by contacting the Executive Secretary. The BULLETIN was authorized to carry names of new applicants each month, and a special committee was appointed to study format and other changes for the publication.
THE 1953 CONVENTION
The President's report at the 1953 convention in Washington, D.C., stated, "RINDA is stronger in numbers, stronger financially, and richer by greater membership participation than at any time in our history." Executive Secretary Rob Downey, in the Membership Committee report, received praise for returning many former members "to the fold." And convention-goers were told that for the first time RTNDA had no worries about breaking even on convention expenses.
The Wire Service Study Committee recommended that its name he changed to "Wire Service Policy Committee" and that future studies be conducted so as to "determine our own importance in the general news scene, determine what we expect and can reasonably demand from AP, UP, and INS, and know, actually, what we want." The convention accepted this report. The Freedom of Information Committee stated that the cause "gained more than it lost in 1953, and the outlook for further progress seems bright." The committee wired President Eisenhower, thanking him for "abolishing needless censorship of government information." RTNDA was represented in hearings concerning passage of a bill permitting radio-TV coverage of Illinois proceedings where witnesses were under subpoena unless the witnesses objected.
The convention supported the Cleveland Press in a contempt case involving a photograph published over a judge's objection. RINDA also went on record as favoring opening as many congressional committee sessions to the public as possible, and permitting radio-TV coverage on an equal basis with other media.
The Inter-Station Cooperation Committee was dropped, but in its place came a continuing policy of printing in the BULLETIN instances of such cooperation. The Bulletin Committee recommended that no changes be made in the BULLETIN's format. At the convention, radio and TV stations took awards for "outstanding radio news operation of 1953," "outstanding television news station," "outstanding investigative reporting," and "television reporting." The President was empowered to name a three-man committee to survey and choose, for recommendation to the convention, a convention site two years in advance.
Officers for 1954 were Jim Byron, President, Russ Van Dyke, Vice-President, and Sheldon Peterson, Treasurer.
PROJECTS IN 1954
Early in 1954, the BULLETIN carried three articles about facsimile as well as several stories about the Second National Television News Seminar in Evanston, Illinois. The seminar, sponsored by RTNDA and Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism, emphasized recent developments in television news and proven news techniques. Delegates from more than 20 states and Canada attended sessions conducted by 25 experts.
The Board of Directors, at the 1954 spring meeting, decided to offer members a problem-solving service. Any member of RTNDA could contact any officer or board member. The person contacted would outline the member's problem to all other officers and board members and ask for action or instructions. To provide the BULLETIN with news, the Directors set up a Bulletin Editorial Board, headed by Charles Harrison (WFIL, Philadelphia) and including all Regional Vice-Presidents. Also at the spring meeting, a committee for constitutional authentication and codification was begun.
In May, 1954, Charles Roeder (WCBM, Baltimore) protested in the name of the Freedom of Information Committee a Massachusetts ruling that would have banned broadcasting, telecasting, and newsreel recordings from proceedings when witnesses testified under oath. The bill was later reconsidered and killed in the Massachusetts House. And in September, RINDA joined WOI of Ames, Iowa and the IRTNA in a dispute over broadcasting rights for a public hearing of the Iowa Board of Engineers for Rivers and Harbors. The chairman of the Iowa board reversed his opinion and allowed WOI to carry complete proceedings.
THE 1954 CONVENTION
The 1954 convention in Chicago included radio and television workshops, a panel on "The Sponsor's Viewpoint," films on editorializing and content in TV news, local coverage, sports and special events, use of stills and facsimile, one-camera newscasts, and low budget regional coverage. The keynote address was delivered by Paul White (KFMB, San Diego and author of News on the Air). Other speakers were Sig Mickelson, Air Force General Benjamin W. Chidlaw, NARTB President Harold Fellows, and Dr. W. R. G. Baker, Vice-President of General Electric Corporation.
Not only were the tenth year officers new to their jobs, but also some of them bore titles new to RTNDA. Russ Van Dyke was President and James Byron was Board Chairman. Vice-President for Radio was Harold Baker (WSM, Nashville), and Vice-President for Television was Charles Harrison. Sheldon Peterson remained as Treasurer. As 1954 ended, RTNDA's membership stood at 328.
In 1955, Ted Koop of CBS represented RTNDA in a panel discussion of government information problems, to determine availability of information from federal executive agencies. Shortly before the panel, Nick Basso (WSAZ-TV, Huntington, West Virginia), Chairman of the Freedom of Information Committee, complained to Defense Secretary Charles E. Wilson that the Defense Department was "withholding legitimate news information from newsmen on the grounds of 'security' even though the news material was not classified."
THE TENTH ANNIVERSARY CONVENTION
By convention time, 1955, membership had reached 342, 35 of that number from Canada. Of these, more than 140 attended the Denver convention. Three of the convention speakers were Hugh B. Terry, President and General Manager of Denver's KLZ-TV, General Hubert Harmon, Head of the Air Force Academy, and Frank P. Fogarty, Vice-President and General Manager of WOW-TV in Omaha. Part of the radio workshop, chairmanned by Harold Baker, was an address on the "Monitor Concept" by John Chancellor, NBC General Assignment Reporter in Chicago. Chairman of the television workshop was Charles Harrison. Conventioners toured the Air Force Academy site at Colorado Springs and heard a briefing session by General Earl Partridge of the Continental Air Defense Command. Banquet speaker was John Daly of ABC.
The Wire Service Policy Committee reported that no service seemed vastly superior to the others. Many RTNDA-ites were critical of cliches, and some criticized readability of AP and INS copy. A large percentage regretted the lack of pronunciation guides, and some commented on the amount of repetition.
At the convention some committees were dropped, and some were added. The committees appointed were Freedom of Information, Membership, Integration Study, Awards, Editorial and Publicity, Releases, Wire Policy, and Local Arrangements.
The 1956 officers were Harold Baker, President, Russ Van Dyke, Board Chairman, Ted KOOP, Vice-President in charge of Program, Charles Day (WGAR, Cleveland), Vice-President for Radio, Jack Knell (WBT-TV, Charlotte), Vice-President for Television, Sheldon Peterson, Treasurer and Rob Downey, Executive Secretary. The BULLETIN got a new Editor, E. F. Andrews of the School of Journalism, State University of Iowa.
FREEDOM FOR MIKE AND CAMERA
Early in 1956, the battle against Canon 35 in Denver roused radio and TV reporters. Canon 35 of the American Bar Association Code of Ethics bans cameras and electronic equipment from Colorado courts. Justin Miller, a former Board Chairman of NARND, said Canon 35 was invalid in the light of broadcast media advances toward unobtrusiveness of equipment. Several members of RINDA helped in presenting radio and TV's case against the canon. President Harold Baker and Nick Basso, Chairman of the Freedom of Information Committee, sent a joint statement asking revision of the canon, to justice 0. Otto Moore, referee in the hearing. By March of 1956, the Colorado Supreme Court had approved without dissent justice Moore's recommendation that microphone-camera coverage of a courtroom could operate without disturbing proceedings. The decision meant that each Colorado judge would decide whether to admit radio and TV equipment to his courtroom. In the February 13 issue of Broadcasting was a discussion of efforts by RTNDA, NARTB, and other groups to have Canon 35 changed.
Spring of 1956 brought victory to RINDA and other groups fighting for freedom of mike and camera in Rhode Island. The state's Governor Roberts vetoed two bills passed in the last hours of the legislative session. One of the bills would have made libel and slander criminal offenses; the other would have banned all news photographers and radio broadcasters from reporting court proceedings in Rhode Island.
A letter from President Baker protested an article in the May 21, 1956, issue of TIME magazine. The article told of newspaper reporters' complaints that preference was shown to television cameramen. President Baker replied that television reporters admitted "shortcomings and inconveniences in their methods of news coverage," but that with technical advances, newspapermen in the near future would have "little cause to grumble about TV obtrusiveness." The letter was printed in the May 28 issue of Broadcasting-Telecasting.
During 1956, membership increased to 371, a gain of 29 members. And late in the year, a new membership campaign began.
THE 1956 CONVENTION
The 1956 convention in Milwaukee had an attendance of more than 140. At the meeting, Jack Shelley presented the first Paul White Memorial Award to Hugh B. Terry for his fight to open Colorado courts to electronic reporting.
The 1957 President, Ted Koop, named eight committees to work for the association through the year: Freedom of Information, Membership, Awards, Publicity, Techniques, Convention Sites, Wire Policy, and Vocational Film. In addition to President Koop, the 1957 officers were Harold Baker, Chairman of Board, Jack E. Krueger, Vice-President in charge of Program, Lee White (KROS, Clinton, Iowa), Vice-President for Radio, Ralph Renick (W'n7j, Miami), Vice-President for Television. Sheldon Peterson and Rob Downey were again Treasurer and Executive Secretary respectively.
The convention panel on radio news brought ideas on what management, the listening public, advertisers, and news program producers expected from news on radio. Jim Bormann was moderator. Jack Knell moderated a television technique panel composed of representatives from four television news departments. In his keynote address, Sig Mickelson spoke of TV election coverage.
President Koop listed three objectives for RTNDA in 1957: "(1) To strive constantly for higher standards of radio and television news reporting, writing, and presentation. (2) To acquaint the broadcasting industry and the public with the importance, reliability, and value of radio and television news. (3) To champion aggressively the cause of freedom of information."
COMMITTEES IN ACTION
1957 began with RINDA in the thick of a fight for freedom of information. Julian Goodman (NBC, Washington), Chairman of the Freedom of Information Committee, sent a letter to New York's Mayor Wagner protesting the exclusion of CBS and NBC film cameras from a city council meeting on December 18, 1956.
Heartening news came in the February BULLETIN. For the first time in Rhode Island history, a radio station carried a full business session of the House of Representatives. And for the first time in Iowa's court history, television sound-on-film cameras recorded progress of a trial.
The Integration Study Committee recommended that a campaign for RTNDA integration with state news groups be postponed. Under Chairman Bill Small (WITAS, Louisville), the committee proposed that RINDA accept (as affiliated organizations) state groups having a significant number of RTNDA members, that RTNDA encourage existing state groups by offering suggestions, help in freedom of information campaigns, and speakers for meetings, and that the Association also encourage the formation of new state organizations.
In May, 1957, came word that Los Angeles newspaper reporters were trying to prevent radio and television coverage of news conferences. The May BULLETIN carried a letter from President Koop requesting mutual respect from newspapers, and saying that separate conferences were not the answer.
A new committee came into being during the 1957 spring Board of Directors meeting. RTNDA set up a Professional Standards Committee to "seek fair and equal treatment for all news media at public events." The Directors invited the cooperation of the American Society of Newspaper Editors to deter incidents arising when microphones and television cameras were set up for news conferences and other public events. Also at the spring meeting the board considered constitutional amendments that would clarify memberships by network representatives and that would split up the associate membership into three categories: associate, for persons directly connected with broadcast news but who are not news directors; professional, for journalism teachers; and participating, for persons outside the news broadcast field.
RTNDA joined other news organizations in protesting the State Department's refusal to permit American newsmen to visit Communist China. The Senate Committee on Constitutional Rights invited the RTNDA President to testify about the matter. Instead of appearing personally, he sent the committee a copy of his earlier letter to Secretary of State Dulles.
And in November of 1957, with a membership increased by several hundred percent, with memories of several victories in the fight for freedom of information, with firm recognition by both government and industry, with problems still to be solved, members of the Radio-Television News Directors Association converged on Miami for the Twelfth National Convention.
Alternate Extent Statement: Photographs: Boxes 82; 84; 86; 100; 115; 132; Oversized folder 140a; 87?; 88?
Access: This collection is open for research.
Use: Copyright restrictions may apply; please consult Special Collections staff for further information.
Acquisition: The core of this collection was donated to the University of Iowa Libraries by Ernest Schulz in 1981. RTNDA continues to send records periodically
Preferred Citation: Records of the Radio-Television News Directors Association, The University of Iowa Libraries, Iowa City, Iowa.
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