Philadelphia last hosted the Democratic National Convention in 1948. The ‘48 conventions were the first covered live on television. The New York Times published an article in 1988 about how the networks handled it:
The big names in radio news wanted nothing to do with television. Edward R. Murrow and Eric Sevareid at CBS, Morgan Beatty and Richard Harkness at NBC, were convinced by their employers only with great difficulty that they should take part, at least occasionally. The key job, the one we now call “anchorman,” fell to men who, if not unknown, were of lower status.
At NBC, John Cameron Swayze no longer had serious radio assignments, but largely filled in on special broadcasts. At CBS, the same was true of Douglas Edwards. Their work at the conventions made them genuinely famous, and each became his network’s first authentic “anchorman” - a term still not used - when the first daily network newscasts were inaugurated later in 1948…
…What happened at NBC had never happened before, nor has it ever happened since. NBC, the biggest and richest of the commercial radio networks and well on its way to becoming, at least for a while, the same in television, gave away editorial control of its most important journalistic undertaking of that year to an outsider - to a sponsor. In fact, the arrangement made for better, livelier television and reporting, and everybody said so. In principle, however, it violated all the rules.That sponsor was Life Magazine. All the commercials during all three conventions were Life commercials, intended to sell magazines. Every visual element or presentation, from the badges worn by the reporters from both organizations to the sign on the studio door, said “LIFE-NBC.”
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