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AP Apologizes For WWII-Era Firing Of Reporter

Sixty seven years later, The Associated Press is apologizing for the way it condemned and then fired one of its correspondents for reporting "perhaps the biggest scoop in its history."

Edward Kennedy was among a small group of reporters taken by Allied military officials to witness the May 7, 1945, surrender by German forces at a schoolhouse in Reims, France.

Military censors swore the journalists to secrecy, saying they couldn't report the surrender until given the OK by Allied commanders.

But German officials went ahead and announced the news. So Kennedy took action.

"He used a military phone, not subject to monitoring by censors, to dispatch his account to the AP's London bureau" the wire service says. "Notably, he didn't brief his own editors about the embargo or his decision to dodge the censors. The AP put the story on the wire within minutes."

For taking that initiative, Kennedy was expelled from France by Allied forces. The AP condemned his actions. And Kennedy was fired.

Now, AP CEO Tom Curley says that was "a terrible day for the AP. It was handled in the worst possible way."

Of the news that Kennedy broke, Curley says that "once the war is over, you can't hold back information like that. The world needed to know."

Kennedy died in 1963.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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