Raymond Gram Swing
– December 23
) was an American broadcast journalist born in Cortland, New York
; he died in Washington D.C.
As a radio commentator he was heard by people worldwide as the leading voice from Britain during WWII. He was first known as Raymond Swing but adopted his wife's last name in 1919 becoming known as Raymond Gram Swing.
Swing attended Oberlin College
, in Ohio. Swing lasted one year before he, an eternal prankster, was kicked out of school for bad behavior. He would later come to appreciate how much Oberlin had given him "in music, in the first interest I had in the other arts, in the basic liberalism of racial and sexual equality." After leaving Oberlin, Swing found work in a barber shop.
Swing's first foray into journalism came at age 19, in 1906 with the Cleveland Press
. This was followed by stints for the Richmond Evening News
, the Indianapolis Star
and the Cincinnati Times Star
. At age 23 he became the managing editor of the Indianapolis Sun.
Swing also wrote for the journal The Nation
during this time. Later, Swing became London bureau chief for the Philadelphia Daily Ledger
By 1913 he worked as the Chicago Daily News as Berlin and Germany bureau chief. He covered World War I from all angles, covering many major battles and becoming the first to report on the existence of Big Bertha, a massive 420 mm artillery cannon. In 1915 the Daily News sent him to Turkey where he covered the attack on the Dardanelles. It was in Turkey that Swing made a legend for himself.
Crossing the Sea of Marmora on a Turkish freighter, the Nagara, as a British sub overtook the ship, one of the officers signaled for Swing to do the talking. The British sub commander asked "Who are you?" A question to which Swing should have replied with the ship's name but he instead responded, "I am Raymond Swing, of the Chicago Daily News."
Career after WWI
Swing's rise to prominence in broadcast journalism was facilitated, in large part, by his migration to radio. After covering the 1932 presidential election
he was offered a job at CBS
. Swing turned the job down and it was later given to Edward R. Murrow
. Instead of CBS Swing joined Mutual Broadcasting System
(MBS). At MBS, in 1936 Swing began a series of weekly radio broadcasts on European affairs. As the Nazis rose in power and influence Swing was a strong opponent of Adolf Hitler
and Nazi Germany
. He gave a number of lectures in Europe and the United States on the dangers of Fascism
After World War II Swing worked at ABC, BBC and the Blue Network. He also narrated the 1941 Academy Award nominee in the Best Short Subject, Cartoons category, How War Came cartoon series.
Life outside journalism
In 1919 Raymond Swing married the feminist Betty Gram
. Swing shared her views on gender equality so he adopted her surname and became known as Raymond Gram Swing.