Time was, professional media photographers typically used 35mm, SLR cameras requiring several skills to produce printable pictures for newspapers and magazines.
At the same time, the primary requirement for getting one’s writing into newspapers was the ability to correctly spell “cemetery,” not necessarily an easy task when toiling under floating deadlines.
These days, a cell phone/camera is sufficient for generating photos and text to be uploaded into cyberspace for millions of inquiring minds worldwide to see.
As we speak, “Sunrise at Campobello” is being screened in the House of Adams Big Moroccan Theatre as part of Turner Classic Movies’ salute to Ralph Bellamy on what would’ve been the actor’s 115th birthday.
The movie begins in 1921, on the day Franklin D. Roosevelt, 39, was stricken with polio, and ends at the 1924 Democratic National Convention where Roosevelt nominated Al Smith for president.
Eight years later, FDR was elected U.S. President for the first of four terms … cut short by his April 12, 1945, death in Warm Springs, Georgia.
Into the 1960s, most Americans saw presidents in newspaper/magazine pictures and/or in newsreels shown in picture shows nationwide; that was it.
At FDR’s behest, pictures showing him in a wheelchair weren’t published … except for ONE mistake.
Roosevelt’s world was saturated with troubles, and journalists typically celebrated good news and simply reported tragedies during the Great Depression and World War II.
Sports pages weren’t filled with off-field exploits of Babe Ruth and other athletes whose scandalous behavior was somewhat comparable to that of modern college/professional athletes.
A couple of decades after WWII ended, such mess as TMZ and even traditional media outlets could’ve slobbered all over themselves cutting their teeth on late-night activities involving Mickey Mantle, Whitey Ford and Billy Martin … but didn’t.
Television changed all that.
For many Americans, TV ownership was simply a dream until the middle of the 20th Century and network news practices were largely set by what Edward R. Murrow began at CBS Radio during WWII.
Murrow, stationed in London, hired capable news reporters Charles Collingwood (later the first American reporter in Vietnam), Eric Severeid, Howard K. Smith, Winston Burdett, Richard C. Hottelet, John Charles Daly, Troy-native Douglas Edwards, Daniel Schorr, Robert Pierpoint and Marvin Kalb.
CBS later added Robert Trout, Don Hewitt and Walter Cronkite.
NBC countered with Lowell Thomas, John Cameron Swayze, David Brinkley, Chet Huntley, Roy Neal, Jay Barbree, Peter Hackes, Dave Garroway, Frank Blair, Floyd Kalber, Martin Agronsky, Hugh Downs, Robert Goralski, Bernard Kalb, Jack Lescoulie, J. Fred Muggs, Irving R. Levine, Catherine Mackin, Boyd Matson, Roger Mudd, Jack Perkins, Jessica Savitch, Gene Shalit, Lawrence E. Spivak, Garrick Utley, Richard Valeriani, Charles Van Doren and the Four Horsemen of political conventions in the 1960s, John Chancellor, Sander Vanocur, Frank McGee and Edwin Newman.
ABC, an NBC spinoff, hired Jules Bergman, Bill Beutel, Mort Crim, Morton Dean, Sam Donaldson, Bill Downs, Tom Jarriel, Peter Jennings, Herb Kaplow, Joan Lunden, Frank Reynolds, Pierre Salinger and Marlene Sanders.
We baby boomers grew up hearing those reporters’ distinct voices mostly on real news programs.
Years later came the unforgettable voice of the first physician who’d attended Pres. John F. Kennedy at Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas Nov. 22, 1963.
“From the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston, I’m Dr. Red Duke.”