Newshawks in Berlin
The Associated Press and Nazi Germany
by Larry Heinzerling and Randy Herschaft, with Ann Cooper
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Pub Date 05 Mar 2024 | Archive Date 12 Jun 2024
After the Nazis came to power in Germany in 1933, the Associated Press (AP) brought news about life under the Third Reich to tens of millions of American readers. The AP was America’s most important source for foreign news, but to continue reporting under the Nazi regime the agency made both journalistic and moral compromises. Its reporters and photographers in Berlin endured onerous censorship, complied with anti-Semitic edicts, and faced accusations of spreading pro-Nazi propaganda. Yet despite restrictions, pressures, and concessions, AP’s Berlin “newshawks” provided more than a thousand U.S. newspapers with extensive coverage of the Nazi campaigns to conquer Europe and annihilate the continent’s Jews.
Newshawks in Berlin reveals how the Associated Press covered Nazi Germany from its earliest days through the aftermath of World War II. Larry Heinzerling and Randy 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 that sometimes prioritized business ambitions over journalistic ethics. The book also documents the AP’s coverage of the Holocaust and its unveiling. Featuring comprehensive research and a memorable cast of characters, this book illuminates how the dilemmas of reporting on Nazi Germany remain familiar for journalists reporting on authoritarian regimes today.
ABOUT THE AUTHORS:
Larry Heinzerling (1945–2021) was a reporter, foreign correspondent, and news executive during a forty-one-year career at the Associated Press. He worked in foreign bureaus in Nigeria, South Africa, and Germany and served as director of AP World Services and deputy international editor.
Randy Herschaft has been for the past three decades an investigative journalist with the Associated Press. The recipient of a George Polk and an Overseas Press Club Award, he was a member of the Pulitzer Prize–winning AP team that, nearly fifty years later, uncovered a massacre of civilians by U.S. troops during the Korean War.
Ann Cooper is professor emerita at the Columbia Journalism School. She is the former executive director of the Committee to Protect Journalists and was a foreign correspondent for NPR, including serving as Moscow bureau chief from 1987 to 1991.
"Well researched and cogently argued, Newshawks in Berlin provides a compelling account of the challenges and compromises the Associated Press had to make when covering the Third Reich."
— Steven Casey, author of The War Beat, Pacific: The American Media at War Against Japan
"Newshawks in Berlin reveals how the Associated Press operated in Nazi Germany, and how Nazi officials infused propaganda into some of AP’s news coverage. Filled with surprises and rich in detail, a well-written, inside account of the tension between ethics and professional opportunism. Very relevant to totalitarian regimes today."
— Richard Breitman, author of The Berlin Mission: The American Who Resisted Nazi Germany from Within
"Faced with the task of investigating the controversial record of the AP’s Berlin bureau in the Nazi era, the authors resisted any rush to judgment. Instead, they let the often-ambiguous evidence speak for itself. The result is a meticulously researched account that exemplifies the virtues of old-fashioned journalistic fairness."
— Andrew Nagorski, author of Hitlerland: American Eyewitnesses to the Nazi Rise to Power