Former Herald editor and associate publisher Ed Kennedy's work on the Peninsula will be forever associated with one of the longest-running newspaper features in the area: the Professor Toro column.
His greatest impact, however, came about through a controversial decision — as an Associated Press bureau chief in Paris — to ignore a government embargo and run the story of Germany's surrender near the end of World War II.
His daughter, Julia Kennedy Cochran, has worked hard to honor her father's memory, editing his memoir "Ed Kennedy's War: V-E Day, Censorship and the Associated Press."
Cochran will reflect on her father's career during a talk at 2:30p.m. Sunday at the Museum of Natural History in Pacific Grove.
Cochran, who also wrote the prologue and epilogue, will read from her father's memoir during her appearance, as well as sign copies of the book.
"Ed Kennedy's War" is an account of Kennedy's career as a newspaper man, recounting his early days as a stringer in Paris to the fireworks created by his World War II scoop.
Kennedy's foreign correspondence career was never the same after the Germans surrendered to the Allies on May 7, 1945. Kennedy, who served as the AP bureau chief in Paris at the time, was one of 17 journalists selected to attend the surrender ceremony. Journalists were given a strict, 36-hour embargo during which they could not publish the story.
The frustrated group of journalists agreed to abide by the embargo.
"It turned out the reason for the embargo had nothing to do with military security," Cochran said. "It was due to the fact that (Joseph) Stalin wanted to have his own surrender ceremony in Berlin a few days later. It was completely a political ploy."
Upon his return to the AP bureau in Paris, Kennedy learned the Germans had broadcast news of the surrender through a radio signal located in Ally-occupied territory. Kennedy knew the Nazis had to have received permission from the Allies to deliver the news.
Kennedy's demand to lift the embargo was refused by military officials, so he took matters into his own hands. He phoned into the AP's London bureau and broke the news. The move infuriated the military and his fellow journalists.
"It was the scoop of the century. The other journalists were irate. The Army was furious. (General Dwight D. Eisenhower) was beside himself," Cochran said.
Kennedy's credentials were revoked and he was flown back to the AP's New York City offices. He was fired a few months later "in an underhanded way," Cochran said.
He spent months getting a written admission from the Army that they had told the Germans to release news to their people while keeping a muzzle on the American press.
"He was exonerated, but it was a little too late," said Cochran.
After a stint at a Santa Barbara newspaper, Kennedy was hired at The Herald in 1959.
Cochran said the Peninsula was a perfect fit for her father.
"I know he wrote the editorial that was on the front page almost every day," said Cochran. "He really liked talking about the current affairs of the time — the civil rights movement, the space program, the Cold War. He could write about it very knowledgeably."
Despite the turn his career took, Cochran said her father never came off as bitter.
"He really put himself into working at The Herald and making it the best newspaper he could make it," she said. "There were times I felt he was thinking about what had happened in the past, perhaps. But I don't think he was a bitter person."
A movement is under way to honor Kennedy with a posthumous Pulitzer Prize. If achieved, it would mark the first posthumous honor for a journalist.
Cochran said she hopes her talk on Sunday will rekindle memories from locals of her father's work on the Peninsula.
"I don't know if there's very many people who remember my dad," said Cochran, "but I'm hoping people will be interested in his story and the fact he spent so much time there and loved it so much."
Follow Marcos Cabrera on Twitter at Twitter.com/MarcosACabrera . He can be reached at 646-4345 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you go
Julia Kennedy Cochran presents a lecture on her father Ed Kennedy's career at 2:30p.m. Sunday at the Museum of Natural History in Pacific Grove. Free. Books available for purchase.
If you go