How amazed Emerson would be to see the world we live in now, where instant news spills over us 24/7.
A couple of weeks ago I met a woman who is an ace news spreader - the BBC's chief international correspondent, Lyse Doucet. In silk blouse and slender skirt she looked more like a corporate exec than a woman who thrives in the smoke, blood and chaos of international conflict.
She'd been in Syria only three weeks earlier and at a small Auckland event (see pic) told us how Syria is a "war on children" – a war between neighbourhoods, the worst kind of war.
She's seen a lot of war in her long career. Doucet spoke of perilous rides through shattered streets, of the feverish tension she still senses in the air in places where the guns have only just fallen silent, of friends she has lost and the many journalists missing – either dead or kidnapped.
It sounds burnout-inducing, but Doucet, 54, clearly loves her job. She takes pride being not just first with a story but being accurate. But that's hard to achieve in Syria where, she says, the terrain is increasingly dangerous. She and her crews never go out on a job without telling their London base where they're going and what time they'll be back.
"We used to say no story is worth dying for. Now we say there are stories worth taking risks for, but the trouble is you don't know how big the risks are."
Even in Syria though, normal life goes on. She showed us a short report she'd filed showing Damascus residents buying ice-cream cones in a shop where the same family has hand-made frozen treats for generations. She showed us teenagers who looked relaxed about their lives and said they were confident their president will protect them. But only a few blocks away, where fighting has ripped up previously peaceful streets, she spoke with another girl who just wants to go home... but there is no home to go back to.
Doucet is at home all over the Middle East because she lived there for years and has favourite haunts and friends scattered all over. She might have breakfast in Amman, lunch in Beirut and be back home in London for breakfast. She can speak some Arabic and Persian, is fluent in French (her Canadian background helps there), and can say at least "hello" and "how are you" in a host of other languages. "I live in a country called the world," she says.
Her term for her calling is simply 'story teller'. And in her world of fast travel, fast comms, fast link-ups and fast-moving crises, she employs an age-old device for settling into her role each time she faces a camera.
"You remember how in your childhood you had imaginary friends?" she asked. Well, that's how she thinks of us, the countless news consumers, every time the camera person says "go". It's important for her to feel that the BBC's millions of viewers are willing to accept her into their lives.
As she told UK newspaper The Independent in a recent interview: "I take you with me, as far as it is possible. I want you to come out of your living rooms and let me take you with me. Let me bring you to the story."
On this big, blue disturbed planet of ours, we need more storytellers like her.
* Since I wrote this we've seen awful pictures from Ghouta, Syria, of gassed children. Doucet quickly voiced her dismay on Twitter: "What happened? The truth of this massacre & many many others must...and will...emerge." We can be sure she'll be working on it.