NEW YORK -The Associated Press has released a new book that takes the reader through a gripping tour of 160 years of national and international news, written by Pulitzer Prize-winning reporters and punctuated by iconic, unforgettable photos.
Written by 13 reporters and editors of AP, with a foreword written by the late David Halberstam, the stories behind some of the great stories in history, and the daring and dedication of the reporters who told them are vividly recounted in Breaking News: How The Associated Press has Covered War, Peace, and Everything Else (Princeton Architectural Press, June 2007).
"At a time when journalists are risking their lives to bring us the news from around the world, this new book provides a valuable reminder of the unique and crucially important role that the media plays in our society," Tom Curley, President and CEO of AP said. "AP has been breaking news since it was created in 1846. Breaking News is the first book about AP to be published in sixty-six years, and the first fully documented chronicle of AP's coverage of the news. Many of the journalists who have been a part of the AP are legendary in their own right, and this book tells their stories - which are now part of history."
Breaking News takes readers out on "the beat" to witness the unfolding of major stories through the eyes of the journalists who were on the ground, and on the story. While an obvious choice for news and history buffs, Breaking News also has something of interest for everyone, with chapters organized by topic for easy reading: WW I & WWII, Trials, Foreign Correspondents, The White House, Elections, Sports, Photographs, Disasters, Civil Rights, Aviation, and Freedom of Information.
Walter Cronkite said of Breaking News, "Nobody who ever read a newspaper or listened to a broadcast should miss these gripping stories of how the intrepid and ingenious reporters of The Associated Press have gotten the scoop and recorded our history, from Indian wars to baseball's World Series."
A few of the "stories behind the stories" and other facts in Breaking News include:
* In 1849, Daniel H. Craig was hired to establish the agency's first office outside the U.S., in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where newspapers on ships from Europe could be obtained before they reached Boston. As AP's first foreign correspondent, Craig delivered exclusive news of an attempt to assassinate Queen Victoria in London that year, and it was relayed to AP in New York by ship, horseback and telegraph.
* On the road to Burma in 1944, AP correspondent Frank Martin, observing a tribe of Naga headhunters singing "Old MacDonald Had a Farm" as the skeletons of 30,000 refugees lay nearby, reported that the tribe had learned the song from a missionary they had later beheaded.
* AP photographer Max Desfor stood among the refugees as they crossed over the mostly destroyed, frigid bridge at the Tae Dong River in December, 1950, fleeing from the advancing North Koreans, to capture his Pulitzer-prize winning image. This photo is among the collection featured in the book.
* Five days after Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated outside the Motel Lorraine in Memphis, Tennessee, AP reporter Kathryn Johnson stood in the King family's kitchen cooking bacon and eggs for mourners and hungry children.
* As the last Americans fled Vietnam, AP bureau chief George Esper served Coca Cola and stale pound cake to two North Vietnamese soldiers before calmly writing the bulletin announcing the fall of Saigon.
* AP photographer James "Ike" Altgens, who happened to be positioned 30 feet from the Presidential motorcade when the shots rang out, captured the only professional images from the scene of President Kennedy's assassination.
* April 14, 1970, AP correspondents Pail Recer and Hoke Nobel decided to stay on the scene after filing their stories that Apollo 13 was on its way to the moon, while the rest of the press corps at the Houston Space Center attended a fancy reception. When Mission Control first heard the calm words: "Houston, we've had a problem," only AP was there, and they had filed thousands of words on the near-disaster before other media knew what was going on.
* Will Grimsley, one of the most honored sports writers in history, donned a blazer and a souvenir Olympic shield and strode through the Olympic Village gate, looking every bit the Olympic official to become the only print reporter to get in to the Olympic Village compound in Munich to cover what was eventually referred to as the Munich Massacre in 1972.
* On September 11, 2001, as the world watched in horror the collapse of the World Trade Center, an AP report referenced a phrase that has become part of our national lexicon: Ground Zero.