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This is an interview with John B. Oakes, winner of the 1961 Catherwood Award for
responsible and enlightened international journalism.
Mr. Oakes, could we begin perhaps by talking about your earliest interests in journalism?
I was born on April 23rd, 1913. My earliest interests in journalism came about
because of my family background. I'd heard about newspapers and journalism from the
time that I was old enough to first understand anything, I guess. My father was at the time
I was born the editor of the Philadelphia Public Ledger and he just about two years later
left the Ledger, which was then owned by Cyrus H.K. Curtis, and came to New York to edit
a magazine which was then being started under the aegis of the New York Times, called
Current History Magazine. He in effect started it and was its editor until his death. It still
exists, but under totally different ownership. He was editor of Current History Magazine
from 1915. It started originally as a repository for documents and for authoritative articles
dealing with the First World War and then it expanded into general political articles during
and after the War until his death in 1931. It was published through this period by the New
York Times but as a totally independent magazine.
And so, of course, with that background, obviously, I heard, lived and breathed newspapers
right from the beginning, and various aspects of journalism. At school I was interested
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