University Libraries' Special Collections and University Archives Mass Media and Culture hold many related collections, especially in the areas of broadcast journalism and public broadcasting. We also hold the papers of several former White House pool reporters.
Sid Davis (1928- )
Sid Davis was White House correspondent for the Washington news bureau of Group W, a chain of radio and television stations owned by the Westinghouse Electric Corporation, from 1959 to 1977. He was part of the reporter pool when President Kennedy was assassinated in 1963 and later selected to cover the swearing-in of Vice-President Lyndon B. Johnson aboard Air Force One. He subsequently became an NBC News correspondent and Washington bureau chief for a decade, then spent seven years as program director of the “Voice of America,” the international broadcaster funded by the U.S. Congress.
Connie Lawn (1944-2018)
Connie Lawn worked briefly for a congressman before becoming a reporter for WAVA, then Washington’s only all-news radio station, in 1968. She began her nearly 50-year career as a White House correspondent when she created an independent news service called Audio Video News in 1971. Lawn was, and remained, the only employee. Her clients included the BBC, Radio New Zealand, USA Radio Network, and Salem Radio Network. At the time of her death, Lawn was the longest-serving member of the White House press corps. To learn more about this collection, access the finding aid.
Ray Scherer (1919-2000)
Ray Scherer, 81, a stalwart of broadcast journalism, was a former chief White House correspondent for NBC News whose broadcast career spanned six presidential administrations - from Harry S. Truman to Gerald Ford, died of cancer July 1 (2000) at his home in Washington.
He was a native of Fort Wayne, Ind., a son of a newspaper business manager. Mr. Scherer graduated from Valparaiso University and joined the Navy the day after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. He served as a Navy lieutenant assigned to radar and gunnery duties on destroyers, participating in the Normandy invasion.
After the war, he received a master's degree in international relations from the University of Chicago and was working as a reporter for the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, when he accepted a job offer in 1947 to work as a news writer for the NBC bureau in Washington.
He quickly advanced from writer to news editor to radio and television senior reporter, covering the White House and the top stories of the world. His lanky Gary Cooper-like frame, thick dark hair, rich baritone voice and Midwestern demeanor made him an instantly recognizable figure.
He distinguished himself in the 1950s with an uncanny ability to provide live reports seconds after the conclusion of a presidential news conference and repeat verbatim without a script entire segments of the president's words. His object was to be the first on the air with a report. His best time, unofficially, was 15 seconds.
He was among the pioneer television reporters, one of the first to broadcast regularly from inside the White House and among the handful covering the delegates from the floor of the 1956 presidential conventions.
He rode back to Missouri with outgoing President Truman in January 1953; was in Denver the day President Eisenhower suffered a heart attack, and maintained a running report on the air for 12 hours; was in Hyannis Port the night President Kennedy was elected; and accompanied President Johnson on a one-hour television tour of the LBJ ranch. Critics acclaimed The Hill Country, Lyndon Johnson’s Texas as a rare insight into the private life of a president. He was the first newsman to do a daily radio newscast from the White House.
Mr. Scherer logged 250,000 miles on globe-girdling assignments for NBC News, including Vice President Nixon’s visit to Russia in 1959, President Kennedy’s European Mission in 1963, President Johnson’s five-day worldwide tour in December 1968, and Nikita Khrushchev’s visit to the United States.
He later authored (with Robert J. Donovan) the book, The Unsilent Revolution, in which he observed the technological changes in his industry, mainly the advent of color television, videotapes and satellite hook-ups.
In 1969, he became the NBC correspondent in London, where he spent the next four years covering Europe. He then returned to Washington to report on the growing Watergate scandal. He continued as a senior reporter until 1975, when he was named vice president of the Washington office of RCA Corp., of which NBC was a part, retiring from that post in 1986 to spend time at his bucolic retreat in Rappahannock County, VA where he enjoyed fishing.
(The above text is adapted from Mr. Scherer’s obituary in the Washington Post, as well as his official RCA biography, which is posted on the website of the Indiana Journalism Hall of Fame, which inducted Mr. Scherer in 1976.)
Copyright: Copyright The Washington Post Company Jul 2, 2000
To learn more about this collection, access the finding aid.