"Our job is not to make up anybodyís mind, but to open minds, and to make the agony of decision-making so intense you can escape only by thinking."
Fred W. Friendly (1915–98)
Faculty 1966-79, Emeritus 1980-92
LLD (hon.) 1986
In a 60-year career, Fred Friendly was an influential force for quality and integrity in broadcast journalism. As the producer for CBS correspondent Edward R. Murrow, Friendly helped enliven and popularize television news documentary in the decade after World War II, when television news was still in his infancy. Two of their programs, See It Now (1951-58) and CBS Reports (1959-64), examined issues of the day such as McCarthyism, the plight of migrant workers, and tobaccoís link to lung cancer. Friendlyís success and stature propelled him to the presidency of CBS News in 1964. By then, his outspoken defense of the news divisionís independence from CBSís corporate imperatives led to clashes with network management. The tension culminated with his dramatic resignation in 1966, after the network chose to air I Love Lucy reruns rather than live U.S. Senate hearings on the war in Vietnam. Friendly then became an advisor to the Ford Foundation and, in that capacity, helped to establish the Public Broadcasting Service. A passionate defender of the First Amendment who carried a copy of the U.S. Constitution in his pocket, Friendly wrote books on the subject, such as Due to Circumstances Beyond Our Control (1967), The Good Guys, the Bad Guys, and the First Amendment (1977), and The Constitution: That Delicate Balance (1984). The year he left CBS, he also came back to Morningside Heights, the neighborhood where he had spent his first 10 years, as the Edward R. Murrow Professor of Broadcast Journalism at Columbiaís Graduate School of Journalism.