02/16/2012 04:42 PM
BATON ROUGE – On May 7, 1945, Associated Press reporter Ed Kennedy became the most
famous – or infamous – American correspondent of World War II.
On that day in France, Gen. Alfred Jodl signed the official documents as the Germans
surrendered to the Allies. Army officials allowed a select number of reporters, including
Kennedy, to witness this historic moment, but then instructed the journalists that
the story was under military embargo. In a courageous but costly move, Kennedy defied
the military embargo and broke the news of the Allied victory. His scoop generated
instant controversy. Rival news organizations angrily protested, and the AP fired
him several months after the war ended.
“Ed Kennedy’s War: V-E Day, Censorship, and the Associated Press,” to be published
in May by LSU Press, is an absorbing and previously unpublished personal account where
Kennedy recounts his career as a newspaperman from his early days as a stringer in
Paris to the aftermath of his dismissal from the AP. During his time as a foreign
correspondent, he covered the Spanish Civil War, the rise of Mussolini in Italy, unrest
in Greece, and ethnic feuding in the Balkans. During World War II, he reported from
Greece, Italy, North Africa and the Middle East before heading back to France to cover
its liberation and the German surrender negotiations. His decision to break the news
of V-E Day made him front-page headlines in the New York Times. In his narrative,
Kennedy emerges both as a reporter with an eye for a good story and an unwavering
foe of censorship.
“Ed Kennedy’s War” begins with a powerful introduction by Tom Curley, president and
CEO of the Associated Press, and John Maxwell Hamilton, author of “Journalism’s Roving
Eye.” They describe Kennedy’s story as one of integrity and courage:
“Perhaps in some small way we bring posthumous recognition to an American hero and
embrace – too belatedly – what … the AP board could not admit. Edward Kennedy was
the embodiment of the highest aspirations of the Associated Press and American journalism.”
In addition to the introduction, a prologue and epilogue by Kennedy’s daughter, Julia
Kennedy Cochran, is also included. Their work draws upon newly available records held
in the Associated Press Corporate Archives.
Events honoring this publication will be held on May 7 and 8 in New York and Washington,
D.C., hosted by the AP.
Cochran worked as a journalist in New York for the Associated Press, Reuters and Business
Week magazine. She obtained an MBA at Columbia University and worked as a marketing
manager at high-tech companies in New York and Seattle. Curley, who recently announced
his retirement, has lead the AP since June 2003. Hamilton is founding dean of the
Manship School of Mass Communication at LSU and currently serves as LSU executive
vice chancellor and provost. He is the author or coauthor of six books, most recently
“Journalism’s Roving Eye.”
Posted on Thursday, February 16, 2012