Central News Room Photographs

The photographs shown here depict the Central News Room in full operation. Some of the pictures were taken in moments of crisis like the Arab-Israeli War of June 1967, thus they convey at least an idea of the atmosphere in the CN during the 1968 invasion of Czechoslovakia.

CN news editors were experienced, professional journalists hailing from Commonwealth countries and the U.S. (as opposed to broadcast desk staff, who were for the most part émigrés – with a variety of backgrounds – from Eastern Europe). CN staff was almost exclusively male and white. Women were rarely hired, and if so, they were employed to handle technical equipment rather than working as news editors.

The variety and quantity of equipment in the CN is amazing: there are telephones, typewriters, radios, television sets, numerous teletype machines and even a Hellschreiber machine — a device used to intercept communications between various European press agencies, especially those behind the Iron Curtain. The photographs also convey a sense of the movements and sounds of the busy, noisy Central News Room, ticking at the rapid pace of typewriters and teletype machines.

The Central News Room was manned 24/7: a number of photographs shot at night (with artificial lighting, blinds closed, and windows darkened) attest to the fact that the CN was a continuous, permanent operation.

Ownership of and copyrights to the photographs belong to RFE/RL, Inc., 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W., Washington, DC 20036, USA. Permission to use the photographs for purposes other than research and education shall be requested from RFE/RL, zvanersm@rferl.org.