June 6, 1944: Allied forces land on the beaches of Normandy, launching a long-awaited invasion of Nazi-occupied France. CBS listeners learned of the invasion from Robert Trout, who covered the its first crucial days from CBS Studio 9 in New York. Events unfolded so quickly that Trout was forced to improvise from teletype and shortwave bulletins. He took to the microphone 35 times in 24 hours. One particular stretch lasted for more than seven hours. No wonder he garnered the nickname, “the iron man of radio.” The audio clip below is from one of his earliest reports on June 6. At the time, only German radio was reporting “an invasion.” At the time, no formal announcement had been made by Allied forces. Trout warned listeners it might all be a ruse.
The Briscoe Center has announced five finalists for the first Morley Safer Award for Outstanding Reporting. The award, created in partnership with the family of the late CBS News correspondent Morley Safer, recognizes a story or series of stories that reflects Safer’s journalistic legacy.
“We are delighted to have such an exceptionally worthy group of finalists for the inaugural Morley Safer Award,” said Don Carleton, executive director of the Briscoe Center. “Our jury panel faced a difficult challenge in selecting these five finalists from the many excellent submissions.”
The Briscoe Center has acquired the papers of Rod Nordland, an award-winning correspondent for the New York Times. Currently based in Afghanistan, where he serves as the Times’s Kabul bureau chief, Nordland has worked as a foreign correspondent across the world, including postings in Bangkok, Beirut, Baghdad, Cairo, Rome, Sarajevo, San Salvador, Islamabad, and London. He is the author of The Lovers: Afghanistan’s Romeo and Juliet, which tells the true story of Zakia and Ali, an Afghan couple who eloped and then escaped their community’s violent reaction.
Thanks to all those who applied. First impressions: this is an outstanding crop of work. Jurors will meet later this spring to select finalists. An announcement will follow in May. The Morley Safer Award recipient will be honored at a lunch in Manhattan on October 18. More to follow.
The Briscoe Center has acquired the papers of award-winning news producer and investigative journalist Steve Singer.
“I’m grateful to Steve for donating his papers,” said Don Carleton, executive director of the Briscoe Center. “His exceptionally varied career—having worked for the Houston Chronicle, PBS, CBS, ABC News, CNN, and ESPN—will help scholars and students understand the connections across America’s news media landscape in new and distinctive ways.”
Austin, TX—The Morley Safer Award for Outstanding Reporting announces its inaugural call for entries. A program of The University of Texas at Austin’s Briscoe Center for American History, where Safer’s archival papers are preserved, the Safer Award seeks to recognize a story or series of stories of creativity, vision and integrity. Applicants have until midnight on February 28, 2019, to submit their entries through this site.
“This is Robert Trout in Paris with a dimension on that popular pastime, rioting”
Robert Trout wasn’t a fan of the Parisian students who resisted and persisted in May 1968, nor of the police with whom they tussled. Together, they made his grocery man late and closed his favorite restaurants. The sting of tear gas made getting home a chore — you had to cover your face “like the bad guy, the bandit in an old style Western movie,” as he put it to his radio listeners. And that was if one could get home. Once during “Mai ’68,” Trout was stuck in Paris traffic for so long the people in front of him started playing chess on the hood of their car.
Trout’s press pass for an international conference in Paris, 1968. Robert Trout Papers.
The Briscoe Center proudly announces the eight-person steering committee that will govern the Morley Safer Award for Outstanding Reporting. The Safer Award seeks to recognize a story or series of stories of creativity, vision and integrity.
“We want to honor reporters who embody Morley’s journalisticlegacy,” said Don Carleton, executive director of the Briscoe Center, where Safer’sarchival papers are preserved.
The steering committee comprises Dr. Carleton, Lynn Goldberg, JohnMarks, Dr. Kathleen McElroy, Dr. Horace Newcomb, Jane Safer, Sarah Safer, and Mark Updegrove.
“In 1967, a 56-year-old lawyer met a young inmate with a brilliant mind and horrifying stories about life inside. Their complicated alliance—and even more complicated romance—would shed light on a nationwide scandal.” Ethan Watters’s article for Texas Monthly on the state prison system represents many months of research in the Briscoe Center’s Jalet-Cruz Papers.
The Eyes of the People
The Briscoe Center has acquired the photographic archive of Pulitzer Prize–winning photographer Carolyn Cole. A staff photographer at the Los Angeles Times since 1994, Cole is perhaps best known for her conflict photography, including assignments to Iraq, Afghanistan, Kosovo, and Liberia. In addition, she has covered many major national news stories such as the shooting at Columbine High School in 1999 and Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Still active, Cole continues to capture American history, documenting the 2016 presidential election as well as recent border patrol operations in the Southwest. In each situation her goal is the same: to be “the eyes of the people.”
“I’ve always had a very clear definition of what my role was,” says Cole. “I’m making images that speak to what I’m seeing, building a bridge between readers and the outside world. I want to draw people in.”