Bernard S. Redmont
Class of 1938
Bernard S. Redmont, Dean Emeritus of the College of Communication of Boston University, was an 18-year-old City College student when he broke into the business as a reporter and book reviewer for the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. Since then, as an award-winning broadcaster and writer, he has covered more events in more places than most reporters dream of doing. In a journalism career that began before the start of World War II and continued for the next four decades, Redmont filed stories from 55 countries for news agencies, newspapers, magazines, radio and television. He interviewed heads of state and Nobel Prize winners. He was arrested by the KGB. Twice. Then he embarked on a short but distinguished career in academia.
He was based in Paris for 27 years, Moscow for three and Buenos Aires for three, working for such news organizations as World Report (the predecessor to U.S. News & World Report), Agence France-Presse, Westinghouse Broadcasting Co. (Group W) and CBS News. Later, as chief of Group W’s Paris News Bureau, Redmont covered the 1967 Six-Day War from Egypt and the 1973 Yom Kippur War from Israel, the Vietnam peace talks and the French-Algerian War.
Born in New York on Nov. 8, 1918, Redmont received his B.A. from the College in 1938 and his M.S. from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in 1939. Armed with a reading and speaking knowledge of French and Spanish, he launched his career as a foreign correspondent in Europe and in Mexico City during the Pulitzer Traveling Fellowship he was awarded while a student at Columbia. In 1940, he began working as a reporter and telegraph editor on The Herkimer (N.Y.) Evening Telegram, then headed to Washington, where during and immediately after WWII, he was head of the news division of the Office of Inter-American Affairs (OIAA). In 1943, he enlisted in the Marines, and was a combat correspondent in the Pacific, where he was wounded by shrapnel during fighting on Kwajalein in the Marshall Islands and awarded a Purple Heart. Following a medical discharge, he rejoined the OIAA.
In the late 1940s, when Argentina was ruled by Juan and Eva Peron, Redmont was Buenos Aires bureau chief for World Report. In the early 1950s, he was in Paris as head of the English desk of Agence France-Presse. In 1961, he was named president of the Anglo-American Press Association. His career as a broadcaster began with the Canadian Broadcasting Company and continued with Group W. While stationed in Paris for Group W, he managed to get an exclusive interview with North Vietnam’s chief negotiator, who said there would be peace talks. Other events he covered include the rise and fall of Charles De Gaulle; the Prague Spring and Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia; and the struggle for human rights of Soviet dissidents Andrei Sakharov, Anatoly Sharansky and others. As bureau chief for CBS News, Redmont reported on radio and television from Moscow from 1976 to 1979 and from Paris in 1980 and 1981.
Following his return to the U.S., Redmont became a journalism professor and subsequently, dean of the College of Communication at Boston University, serving there through the 1980s. In 1980, he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Florida International University. During that period, Redmont did not lose his taste for travel, lecturing in the U.S., France, Britain, Italy, Morocco, Russia and China. He wrote about it in “Risks Worth Taking: The Odyssey of a Foreign Correspondent,” a memoir published in 1992. Since leaving academia, Redmont has been a volunteer consultant for the Executive Service Corps of New England as well as the International Executive Service Corps, offering journalism training to TV stations in Bulgaria and Albania following the collapse of the Iron Curtain.
He won awards from the Overseas Press Club in 1969 for radio coverage of the Six-Day War and in 1974 for radio reporting on the Vietnam peace talks in Paris; was named a Chevalier in the French Legion of Honor in 1973 and promoted to “Officier” of the Legion in 2011; received a Columbia University Alumni Award “for the advancement of responsible journalism in all its forms” in 1986; a Townsend Harris Medal from City College in 1991; and the Yankee Quill Award for “distinguished contributions” to journalism in 1995.