"Window on Washington" promotional brochure, 1953
Henry oversaw the press pool for the first televised political nomination conventions in 1952, the first instance in which television significantly affected how Americans perceived presidential candidates, and had a profound effect on how Americans made political decisions in the future (Halberstam, 226). In this letter, the editor in chief of CBS News expresses his dissatisfaction with the convention booth selection process, revealing the competitive nature of early television news broadcasting.
A Times reader writes to Henry in support of televising U.S. Senate hearings during the Vietnam War. His argument reflects the public’s growing mistrust of the government and the media that resulted partly from televised images of graphic violence that brought the brutality of war into the living rooms of Americans across the country.
In the 1950s and 60’s, publicized travel became an increasingly important method of improving a politicians’ image. Henry accompanied Presidents Truman, Eisenhower, and Kennedy on various international trips. Here is an organizational chart showing Henry as Vice President Nixon's Press Advisor during a 1957 trip to Africa.
If radio influenced America’s ability to make political and consumer choices, television accelerated the power of mass media over the national consciousness of the American people. A “quantum jump in journalistic and political power,” (Halberstam, 138) television transformed the way Americans understood the news.
As a print reporter, news broadcaster for Mutual Broadcasting System (MBS), Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS), and the National Broadcasting Company (NBC), president of the Radio Correspondents' Association from 1947-1948, and chairman of the Political Conventions Committee of the Radio-Television Correspondents Association from 1952-1968, Bill Henry witnessed this shift of journalistic power from print to radio to television.