Electronic Media Reviews: Naked News

Article excerpt

"Naked News," London: Oxford Television Company for Channel 4, 1995. 4:00 in four episodes. I. "The Anchors," II. "The Tycoon," III. "Talk Radio," IV. "The Tabloid."

"Naked News" appeared on British television as a four-part series in March and April 1995. The Arts and Entertainment Network in the United States has repackaged this diverse series on the development of four U.S. media, with Bill Kurtis anchoring, and has made each episode available to educators on a gratis basis. Information on using these videos in the classroom can be obtained by contacting A&E Customer Service at 212-210-1240.

The first episode in the series, "The Anchors," is the best of the four and serves as the first sustained glimpse into the history and process of news consulting. Additionally, "The Anchors" attends to the rise and influence of talent agents. In a revealing vignette, the synergism of consultants and agents is seen shaping the life of an up-and-coming local news anchor in York, Pennsylvania, who barely senses that her destiny is controlled by audience research and the talent procurement process. Good journalism makes little difference. Anchors like her soon find their careers determined by Frank N. Magid Associates, a research-consultant which rates performances, and high-power agents such as Richard Liebner. "The Anchors" will enlighten anyone inclined to minimize the role of consultants and agents in TV news.

The second episode in "Naked News," entitled "The Tycoon," focuses on Ted Turner. While this particular episode received much fanfare as the series centerpiece when it was first televised in 1995, "The Tycoon" seems a waste of time for classroom use. Although titled "The Tycoon," the program avoids a penetrating biographical account of Turner. While his father's suicide and a relative's death from Lupus are portrayed as guideposts in Turner's life, "The Tycoon" focuses on the Cable News Network and the World Games, which venerate Turner. …