GUTHRIE, WARREN A. (30 June 1911-25 February 1986) used his academic background as a teacher of speech to set an unsurpassed standard as a pioneer television newscaster. A native of Syracuse, Nebraska, he earned degrees from Nebraska Wesleyan University, the University of Michigan, and Northwestern University. Guthrie came to Cleveland in 1934 to join the Speech Department of WESTERN RESERVE UNIVERSITY, serving as the chairman of the department from 1946 until 1964.
Following a stint as the university's public relations director from 1940 until 1942, he served as a lieutenant commander in the U.S. Navy during WORLD WAR II. Guthrie launched his radio career in 1939 as a moderator of the Western Reserve University Forum, a faculty roundtable broadcast over WTAM and WGAR. He began his television career in 1951 as the "Sohio Reporter" for WJW-TV (Channel 8). He wrote the 15-minute newscast himself and delivered it with only the aid of a brief outline. Although he won several awards for his work, WJW dismissed in 1963 in favor of the news team format then gaining popularity. In protest, SOHIO dropped its sponsorship of the program and a viewer asked "Are brains taboo on TV?" in the CLEVELAND PRESS.
After briefly returning to radio for the morning newscast on WHK, Guthrie joined Sohio's public relations department, becoming director in 1966. He retired in 1976 and died in Venice, Florida in 1986. Guthrie was married three times, first to Catharine Weller Guthrie, then Kathleen Donaldson Guthrie, and then Jane Marshman Guthrie. He was survived by a son, Gary and three daughters, Gayle, Patricia, and Deborah.
Warren A. Guthrie Biographical File, CWRU Archives.