May 23, 2024

Event Coverage Highlight

VIDEO: Book Night – ‘Newshawks In Berlin – The Associated Press and Nazi Germany’

 

 

The OPC held a book night on March 13 to feature Newshawks in Berlin by Larry Heinzerling and Randy Herschaft with Ann Cooper. The book delves into The Associated Press’ editorial decisions and reporting on Nazi Germany, spanning from its inception in the 1930s to the post-World War II era. Click the window above to watch a playlist of video clips from the program.

Heinzerling and Herschaft accessed previously classified government documents; plumbed diary entries, letters, and memos; and reviewed thousands of published stories and photos to examine what the AP reported and what it left out. Their research uncovers fierce internal debates about how to report in a dictatorship, and it reveals decisions by AP that sometimes prioritized business ambitions over journalistic ethics. The book also documents the AP’s coverage of the Holocaust and its unveiling.

Heinzerling (1945–2021) was a reporter, foreign correspondent, and news executive during a forty-one-year career at the AP. Herschaft has been an investigative journalist at the AP for three decades. Cooper, Heinzerling’s wife, worked with Herschaft to complete the book following Heinzerling’s death in 2021. She is professor emerita at the Columbia Journalism School.

Moderating the discussion was Andrew Nagorski, a journalist and author who spent more than three decades as a foreign correspondent and editor for Newsweek.

During the program, Herschaft discussed how he and Heinzerling pored over formerly classified government records, diary entries and correspondence, and reviewed countless published articles and images to analyze what the AP covered and what was omitted. Cooper emphasized the significant role the AP had at the time, with a global reach of tens of millions of readers, and highlighted differences in the placement of AP stories about Nazi atrocities among newspapers using the wire service. Herschaft talked about some of the photographs featured in the book and the factors influencing their selection. The guests addressed audience questions about how they maintained historical context, gained access to records, and how AP’s coverage compares with other wire services. Herschaft and Cooper also talked about the roles of Louis P. Lochner, AP’s Berlin bureau chief from 1924 to 1946, and Kent Cooper, AP’s general manager at the time. Lochner served as president of the OPC in the early 1950s.

“Newshawks In Berlin” is available for purchase here.

https://cup.columbia.edu/book/newshawks-in-berlin/9780231217170

Heinzerling worked in foreign bureaus in Nigeria, South Africa, and Germany and served as director of AP World Services and deputy international editor. Herschaft was recipient of a George Polk and an Overseas Press Club Award in 2000 for The Bridge at No Gun RI, which uncovered, nearly 50 years later, a massacre of civilians by U.S. troops during the Korean War. He was part of the team that won a Pulitzer Prize in 2000 for their work on the story. Cooper is a former executive director of the Committee to Protect Journalists, and former NPR bureau chief in Moscow and Johannesburg.