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1941 | On a Day of Infamy, The Times Is On the Air

On the afternoon of Sunday, Dec. 7, 1941, New York needed all the news it could get as soon as it could get it.


And The Times was there, broadcasting some of the first reports of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, as America was plunged into war.


The New York Times has a surprisingly long history with electronic media. It extends from the early decades of radio through television, immersive videos, podcasts and — most recently — an audio show called “The Daily,” with Michael Barbaro.

《纽约时报》的电子媒体有着惊人的悠久历史,从广播创始的最初几十年延伸到电视、沉浸式视频、播客,直至最近迈克尔·巴巴罗(Michael Barbaro)的音频节目“每日”(The Daily)。

Our debut on the air 76 years ago hardly not have come at a better moment.


The moment was 8 a.m. on Monday, Dec. 1. The place was 570 on the dial, radio station WMCA. After a quarter-hour of comedy with Ben Brady, the three-minute “New York Times Bulletins” program, assembled by Times staff members, was broadcast for the first time. It would run every hour on the hour for five years, until moving over to the radio station WQXR, which was then owned by The Times.

时间是12月1日,周一上午8点。位置是收音机拨盘上的570,WMCA广播电台。在本·布雷迪(Ben Brady)时长为一刻钟的喜剧节目之后,由《纽约时报》的工作人员制作的“纽约时报新闻简讯”(New York Times Bulletins)节目首次播出,时长三分钟。在之后的五年里,它每小时都会整点播报一次,直至转移到当时由时报拥有的广播电台WQXR台。

“It is our belief that no radio news program can take the place of the newspaper, because the perspective and completeness of coverage that mark the newspaper are impossible to attain over the radio,” Arthur Hays Sulzberger, the publisher of The Times, had said in announcing the program.

“我们相信,广播新闻节目无法取代报纸,因为报纸媒体报道的视角和完整性无法通过广播获得,”时报的出版商阿瑟·海斯·苏兹伯格(Arthur Hays Sulzberger)在宣布该计划时说。<-->纽约时报中英文网 http://www.qqenglish.com<-->

“Yet for bulletin purposes,” he added, “the radio has become indispensable.”


No kidding.


As the first broadcast was being prepared in The Times’s newsroom at 229 West 43rd Street, President Franklin D. Roosevelt was hurrying back to Washington from Warm Springs, Ga., to face a quickly escalating crisis in the Pacific and the imminent prospect of war with Japan. Perhaps the program noted the current location of the presidential train, which was scheduled to arrive in the capital around noon.


Six days later, a 21-year-old Times reporter named Lester Bernstein — who had been “stuck” with the job of writing the WMCA bulletins — was at home, listening to a football game between the New York Giants and the Brooklyn Dodgers, when the attack was announced.

六天后,一个年方21岁,名叫莱斯特·伯恩斯坦(Lester Bernstein)的时报记者呆在家里,当时他正“陷在”为WMCA写简讯这个任务中,珍珠港受攻击的消息宣布时,他正在收听纽约巨人队和布鲁克林道奇队的橄榄球比赛。

“I rushed to 43rd Street with a sudden new interest in the job,” Mr. Bernstein later recalled, according to an account by his daughter, Nina Bernstein, an investigative reporter at The Times until last year. 纽约时报中英文网 http://www.qqenglish.com

据他的女儿尼娜·伯恩斯坦(Nina Bernstein)在一篇文章中所写,莱斯特·伯恩斯坦后来回忆说:“我匆匆赶到第43街,突然对这份工作有了新的兴趣。”尼娜·伯恩斯坦在时报担任调查记者,直至去年为止。

He found a growing pile of wire copy on his wooden desk and a Teletype operator waiting to transmit his words to WMCA. Collaboration between the paper and the radio station, precursor to a long relationship with WQXR, had been in place for only seven days. It made him the first Times staffer to provide the public with news that was already changing the world, the city and his life. ...


Even then, it was clear the damage was heavy and widespread, with much loss of life. The president was to address Congress the next day. My father remembers writing the line, ‘Full hostilities between the United States and Japan appear inevitable.’


An old timer in charge of the city desk that day, Walter Fenton, was scandalized. ‘Hey,’ he said, ‘You can’t say that!’ But it was too late — the words were already on the air. And after all, they were true.

时报当天负责都市版面的老派人士沃尔特·芬顿(Walter Fenton)发火了。“嘿,”他说,“你不能这么说!”但是太晚了——这些话已经被广播出去了。毕竟,这是真的。

When Mr. Sulzberger announced the first news broadcast to be undertaken by The Times, he said: “The greater the interest in news events, the greater is the interest of our readers to get a full nonsensational statement of these events. We believe that our readers will welcome the opportunity to hear the news at stated times from a source that they have learned to trust.


“We will not try to make the news any more exciting than it is.”


There was no need to do so in December 1941. There’s no need today, either.




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