The First Televised War


Ronald Steinman’s press card, 1972.

“I arrived in Saigon in mid-April 1966 as the new NBC bureau chief. My job, simply defined, was to supply NBC News with an endless story of the war. I understood there would be no letup, no relief day to day as our stories poured from the bureau. Vietnam was the first truly televised war; the war and the medium through which millions of Americans experienced it were inextricable. To understand the war, one needs to understand how NBC — and our colleagues at CBS and ABC — shaped how that story was told. Those of us in broadcast news understood our role clearly. We went all out. NBC News had bureaus around the world, but in size and scope, there was nothing like the one in Saigon. Usually, a correspondent with one two-man crew and a small staff ran a foreign bureau. Saigon was different. We had five correspondents, five camera crews made up of a cameraman and a sound man, a full-time radio reporter and an engineer to keep the equipment running. My staff consisted of Japanese, Germans, South Koreans who had fled the north during the Korean War, French, English, Irish, Israelis — and even a few Americans. I had five Vietnamese drivers who owned their own cars, which they often drove out to cover the fighting, especially in the Saigon area. I used many freelance cameramen, often South Koreans who covered parts of the country where NBC News rarely went. With some 500,000 American troops in South Vietnam, there was only so much of the country we could cover. As bureau chief, I had a full-time office manager, a young Vietnamese woman responsible for exit and entry visas to and from Saigon, who kept us in local supplies, paid the bills and served as a negotiator and translator when needed. I also had two experienced Vietnamese reporters on my staff, who wandered the streets and the halls of the Vietnamese government, reporting back what they learned. Much of what I heard from them helped me understand Vietnam, but little of what they told me found its way into stories. Still, they were invaluable. …”
NY Times
Vietnam On Television
Television – The first television war


A television cameraman filmed as Marines charged against a sniper down the trail of Phu Thu peninsula southeast of Hue in March 1966.

About 1960s: Days of Rage

Bill Davis - 1960s: Days of Rage
This entry was posted in 1968 DNC, Cronkite, Henry Kissinger, John Kennedy, Lyn. Johnson, Nixon, R. McNamara, Saigon, Tet 1968, Viet Cong, Vietnam War and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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