Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Edward R. Murrow rises as zombie, makes beeline for CBS Headquarters

CBS Said to Consider Use of CNN in Reporting - New York Times
Not that I'm a huge fan of television news --although my wife shared an elevator with Walter Cronkite in Vienna. Demographics and logistics have been working against evening news broadcasts for years, so blaming Katie Couric isn't an appropriate response.

The truth of the matter is that network news coverage has always been about profits by way of enhanced ratings. People listening to Edward R. Murrow on Sunday night were likely to stay tuned for what came on later. Now the question remains: why were they listening to him in the first place? Because there was a demand for instant news coverage that no print media could satisfy at the time of Murrow's ascendancy. Remember that in 1939, all of the major U.S. radio networks were pulling reporters out of Europe out of fear of violating the Neutrality Acts. Murrow cajoled his boss into letting him stay on and giving him carte-blanche to set up operations. But at the end of the day, it was the fact that Murrow brought huge listenership to CBS Radio that made him relevant to the network.

All of the other network newsies may laugh at poor CBS News now, but they're whistling past the graveyard. I live in the Central Time Zone: who's at home at 5:30 anyway? And why can't they watch Fox or CNN or MSNBC --or just get online and get after it, for that matter?

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