Eleanor S. Fischer was a foreign correspondent for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and the founder of National Public Radio’s New York office. She passed away on August 7, 2008, at the age of 73.
Fischer attended the High School of Music and Art in New York City, where she became an accomplished classical pianist. She received a degree in political science from Cornell University before graduating from Columbia Law School in 1959. Fischer began her career as a lawyer practicing civil rights law, poverty law, and criminal law but in the early 1960s, she changed course and left the law to produce radio documentaries for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation for whom she also covered the Israeli Six-Day War. In the early 1970s, she opened the New York City office of NPR, where she continued to produce radio features.
In March, 1972, reporter Eleanor Fischer interviewed Congresswoman Bella Abzug as she was fighting to hold on to her congressional district in Manhattan encompassing, in part, the Battery, the Lower East Side, Little Italy, Chinatown, Greenwich Village and Chelsea. Representative Abzug talks about this effort to marginalize her. She also calls for pulling U.S. troops out of Vietnam, endorses Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm's campaign for the Presidency and (there may be some debate over it) lays claim to starting the honorific "Ms."
In 1961, a radio reporter named Eleanor Fischer spoke to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for a CBC called Project 62. As far as we know, these unedited interviews have never been presented in their entirety until now.
WNYC presents a rare interview with Malcolm X conducted by reporter Eleanor Fischer in 1961 when Malcolm X was still an active spokesman for Elijah Muhammad and the Nation of Islam.