Of course real life journalists are a large part of the history of radio, with names like H. V. Kaltenborn and Edward R Murrow firmly engraved in media history textbooks. And real life newspaper reporters made it to radio, sometimes as commentators, and sometimes altering their entire careers, most notably newspaper columnists Walter Winchell and Ed Sullivan, and United Press correspondent Walter Cronkite.
But in addition to presenting the voices of real working reporters doing their jobs, the Golden Age of radio also added drama to real newspaper lives, telling the stories of dozens of historical and currently living journalists, but their “roles” in their own stories voiced by radio actors.
These real life newsies’ lives were sometimes presented as action dramas, sometimes as biographies or elegies by quite a few anthology radio series. They rarely drew the audience of fictitious reporter-sleuths on detective series and reporter-superheroes on adventure series, but they were there, adding to the public’s image of what it is that reporters did in the Golden Age of newspapers… with various degrees of embellishment, airbrushing and ellipsis to fit the stories into radio’s usual 25 and 50 minute formats.
Pages about these series, individual whose lives were presented on radio and themes in radio’s presentation of journalism history are listed on the growing “Real Life” menu of JHeroes’ main pages.
Pages are marked “protected” while they are in development; if you have special interest in a series or issue that appears to be locked, or that you believe should appear here, feel free to contact “rstepno (at) Radford dot edu.”
- The Big Story
- Biographies in Sound
- Captains of Industry
- Cavalcade of America
- Destination Freedom
- Front Page Drama
- Soldiers of the Press
- The March of Time
Some historical figures appeared in more than a single radio episode or series, and have their own sections here…
did the character of sabra cravat in the movie “cimarron” really exist and did she go on to serve in congress as portrayed in 1931 version??
While the Cravats were fictional and Ferber said she had several sources, Sabra’s career has several similarities with the life of Elva Shartel Ferguson, newspaperwoman and governor’s wife. I will add some references about her to the page about Cimarron. Thanks for asking.