A group of professional journalists from different networks and newspapers came together at a local nonprofit organization yesterday to speak about George Clooney’s recent film, “Good Night, and Good Luck,” and to share their talents with the organization.
Former NBC correspondent Sander Vanocur, former CBS correspondents Robert Pierpont and Murray Fromson and author and journalist Lou Cannon attended a press reception at noon at the Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic (RFB&D) Center in Goleta. During the event, the journalists answered questions and delivered anecdotes about Fred Friendly and Edward R. Murrow, the main characters of last year’s award-winning film, “Good Night, and Good Luck.” The journalists also recorded parts of the film’s official companion book, written by George Clooney and Grant Heslov, for RFB&D – a nonprofit organization that supplies textbooks in recorded audio formats to people with visual or perception impairment or other physical disabilities.
Both the book and the movie tell the true story of television newscaster Edward R. Murrow and his staff, who fought to publicize the truth about Senator Joseph McCarthy’s attacks on alleged Communist Party members in the 1950s.
Tim Owens, the executive director of RFB&D, said the center is recording Good Night, and Good Luck because he thinks the book’s message is important and that people with disabilities can benefit from hearing Murrow’s story.
“Murrow knew the power of words. … He knew that words and understanding them were the key to empowering America,” Owens said. “As an organization, we strive to give everyone access to the printed word, we convert texts and other educational material to audio. In short, RFB&D reads so others can read.”
During the reception, the journalists shared stories about Murrow and Friendly, and spoke about their own experiences as journalists in the 1950s through the 1990s. Vanocur said he thinks the book and movie help publicize a story that has never been fully acknowledged by the American public.
“What Murrow did against McCarthy wasn’t appreciated because no one had stood up to him before,” Vanocur said. “It was a great moment for America.”
Cannon said he thinks Murrow’s story is inspirational because it is an example of someone publicly expressing an unpopular viewpoint.
“Murrow stood up and took a position against something,” Cannon said. “Today, we are a much more hesitant society, a much more frightened society.”
Fromson said he has always admired Murrow as a journalist.
“I remember hearing Murrow live on the radio when he covered Hitler marching into Vienna,” Fromson said.
Owens said RFB&D has 21 chapters across the nation and provides approximately 150,000 students with over 100,000 audio books. He said the center records about 600 audio books every year.