As war scoops go, it was as big as they get: The AP's Ed Kennedy filed a story in May of 1945 saying, correctly, that Germany had surrendered. His reward? He got fired because he ignored what he thought was a misguided embargo. Nearly 70 years later, the news agency is apologizing. "It was a terrible day for the AP," says CEO Tom Curley. "It was handled in the worst possible way. ... You can't hold back information like that."
The back story, as explained by AP: Kennedy was among 17 reporters invited to watch the surrender ceremony. They all agreed to hold off publishing until military censors gave the all-clear. Kennedy thought that would mean a few hours, but the censors wanted them to wait more than a full day, so Stalin could stage a ceremony of his own. In other words, it was for political reasons, not to protect troops. On top of that, a German radio station announced the news in that country. Kennedy complained to the top US military censor to no avail, then filed his story, without telling his editors about the embargo. It soon hit the wires. Kennedy died in 1963, but his memoir is just now being published: Ed Kennedy's War: V-E Day, Censorship & The Associated Press.