Mitchell Stephens

The Voice of America

Lowell Thomas and the Invention of 20th Century Journalism

St. Martin's Press 2017

New Books in American StudiesNew Books in BiographyNew Books in CommunicationsNew Books in HistoryNew Books in JournalismNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books Network June 27, 2017 Bruce Wark and Laura Landon

Mitchell Stephens‘s new book, The Voice of America: Lowell Thomas and the Invention of 20th Century Journalism (St. Martins Press, 2017), could be described,...

Mitchell Stephens‘s new book, The Voice of America: Lowell Thomas and the Invention of 20th Century Journalism (St. Martins Press, 2017), could be described, in part, as an entertaining book of stories about a legendary American storyteller.

Stephens, professor of journalism at New York University, traces Lowell Thomas’s long career from his early days in the rough and tumble world of Chicago newspapers to his later fame as one of America’s earliest and longest-running radio newscasters and its first TV news host.

Stephens tells how Thomas documented the First World War, weaving together photos, films and his own remarkable gift for oratory in multimedia presentations that he delivered live to two million people in theaters all over the world. It was Lowell Thomas who first reported the war exploits of Lawrence of Arabia, making both T.E. Lawrence and Thomas himself household names.

As a journalism historian and author of the previous book, A History of News, Mitchell Stephens argues that Lowell Thomas helped invent the fact-based, authoritative and non-partisan style that characterized American journalism in the 20th century. In this interview with the New Books Network, Stephens talks about how Lowell Thomas forged a path as a broadcast celebrity that was later followed by his CBS colleague Edward R. Murrow and such TV anchors as Walter Cronkite, Huntley and Brinkley and Tom Brokaw.


Bruce Wark is a freelance journalist and retired journalism professor based in the Canadian town of Sackville, New Brunswick.

Laura Landon is a librarian at Mount Allison University in Sackville, New Brunswick.

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