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Friendlyvision: Fred Friendly and the Rise and Fall of Television Journalism 1st Edition

5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0231136907
ISBN-10: 0231136900
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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Friendly is the man who brought Edward R. Murrow into television and later developed the Public Broadcasting System, putting his huge fingerprints on American television in its first 40 years. Journalism scholar Engelman chronicles the life and career of this volatile man, whose memory elicited strong emotions in colleagues interviewed for the book. Although Murrow and Friendly gained heroic status for standing up to McCarthyism, Engelman notes that the pair were late in challenging the rabid anti-communism that put many colleagues on a blacklist. Together, Friendly and Murrow burnished CBS Reports into a major news feature. Friendly’s incendiary temper, challenging CBS corporate heads over coverage of the Vietnam War, led to his departure. But it moved him on to head the Ford Foundation, where he realized an old dream of a public-supported television network. Friendly later went on to the Columbia University journalism school, where he insisted on recruiting more minorities into television. A big man with a big ego, Friendly was so passionate and visionary that his ideals came to be known as Friendlyvision. --Vanessa Bush


Broadcast news might have been saved if we had figured out how to clone Fred Friendly. Read this book and you'll understand the gruff, restless, brilliant, temperamental, and driven giant of a man who fought to make the vast wasteland safe for journalism.

(Bill Moyers, award-winning journalist and public commentator)

Friendlyvision is an important and rigorous piece of scholarship that is also well written and highly readable. A first-rate biography of an important figure, this book conveys the values Fred Friendly enunciated and the industry he helped forge, which remains more important than ever.

(Everette Dennis, Fordham University)

This book is a significant and original contribution, not only because it is the first scholarly biography of an important figure in television, but also because it uses new archival sources to fill gaps in our knowledge and give us an opportunity to reinterpret key events in Fred Friendly's life.

(Don Carleton, Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin)

[A] complex, rewarding portrait of one of network television's most memorable figures.

(James Boylan Columbia Journalism Review)

A substantial and useful study of the underknown pioneer whose conviction and energy did much to shape the content and character of American broadcast journalism.

(Kirkus Reviews)

A revelation.... Engelman ably brings [Fred Friendly] to life.

(J. Max Robins Wall Street Journal)

Richly detailed... The book opens a singular window on an important vision that Friendly shared with others... Recommended.


Friendlyvision will likely become not only the authoritative biography of Fred Friendly, but also a valuable secondary text.

(Ben Eltham Media International Australis)

A nuanced and thoughtful portrayal of one of the foremost figures in the history of American broadcast journalism.

(Michael Curtin Journal of American History)

The latest book club pick from Oprah
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 440 pages
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press; 1 edition (April 24, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0231136900
  • ISBN-13: 978-0231136907
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,785,792 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

By Jon Steinberg on May 24, 2010
Format: Hardcover
A fascinating book. Ralph Engelman convincingly shows that from the time of his collaboration with Edward R. Murrow in the early 1950s, Fred Friendly was a major force in the rise and decline of television news over the next three decades. Friendly was an invented surname, and only half appropriate. Physically imposing and emotionally fearsome, this TV giant inspired both adoration and contempt while charming and scheming his way to the top of his profession. Friendly was a liberal idealist. He made strenuous efforts to arrest the decline of television journalism. In meticulous detail, Engelman conveys how quixotic this attempt was, even backed by millions of dollars from the Ford Foundation. If you want to understand how the corporate imperative to maximize profits can squeeze the juice out of a major medium of public culture and flatten news into entertainment, this book is essential reading.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Great history on the history of broadcast journalism. Sadly, the media prefers to make economic decisions over substantial issues of the day. We do not need cheerleaders but responsible information.
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