Cecil Brown was a journalist from the 1930s until 1970 who, although he won all of broadcast journalism’s major awards, has been largely overlooked by media historians until now. After beginning his career as a freelance newspaper reporter, CBS hired Brown to become a member of the famous Edward R. Murrow European radio news team at the start of World War II. Brown reported from Italy, Yugoslavia, North Africa, Singapore and Australia, and survived the Japanese sinking of the British battleship Repulse. Upon returning to the U.S., Brown became a well-known radio commentator who eventually worked for all the major networks. Controversy followed him wherever he worked, as he made his living critiquing military and political issues of the day. Devoted to in-person research, overcoming censorship and employing intellectual analysis, Brown championed social justice and First Amendment freedom. A fellow scribe dubbed him a “crusader for truth.” Brown was often ahead of popular opinion when it came to speaking out about civil rights reform, Senator Joseph McCarthy’s demagoguery, President Dwight Eisenhower’s passivity, and student campus protests. His courage and integrity modeled how an independent journalist should behave. Cecil Brown was Jonathan Brown’s great uncle.
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