September 6th, 2012

Recalling Fred Friendly


Coming up soon is the annual Edward R. Murrow Symposium at my alma mater, Washington State University. The event, which will honor Dan Rather, reminded me that I had photos of another CBS giant: Fred Friendly (died 1998). I photographed Friendly, Murrow’s one-time partner, at a symposium in the Eighties. The local connection on this story is the fact that Murrow spent much of his youth in Skagit County, in the community of Blanchard. He attended Edison High School (later incorporated to become Burlington-Edison) before heading east to WSC. In the 1950′s, he and Friendly created See It Now, the most critically-acclaimed series on television at the time. In 1954 they took on Senator Joseph McCarthy, who was waging a campaign against suspected Communists inside the United States government. In 1959, Friendly became the executive producer of CBS Reports, a documentary news series on such issues as civil rights, migrant workers, government secrecy and the link between tobacco and lung cancer. Friendly was named president of CBS News in 1964, but he resigned in 1966 when the network pre-empted Congressional hearings on America’s involvement in the Vietnam War to air reruns of I Love Lucy. After leaving CBS, Friendly became a professor at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. He was the Ford Foundation’s adviser on communications for 14 years, and created the Columbia University Seminars on Media and Society, a public television series that tackled a wide variety of issues.

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About Photographer Steve Berentson

A fourth generation Skagit County native who was moved kicking and screaming from this island community in 1960. I finally reclaimed an Anacortes address in 1980, and I have been in constant celebration of my return since that time. Many of us who call Anacortes home love Fidalgo Island for its natural assets: among them are rugged beaches, pristine lakes, thousands of acres of forestland and some awesome views of the Skagit Valley and surrounding islands. Another element of my love affair with this community is its people, both natives and immigrants. They will “star” in many of my journal entries.

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