Founding Father: How C-SPAN's Brian Lamb Changed Politics in America/Television News: A Handbook for Reporting, Writing, Shooting, Editing & Producing

By Hackley, Dana C. | Journalism & Mass Communication Educator, Winter 2010 | Go to article overview

Founding Father: How C-SPAN's Brian Lamb Changed Politics in America/Television News: A Handbook for Reporting, Writing, Shooting, Editing & Producing


Hackley, Dana C., Journalism & Mass Communication Educator


* Frantzich, Stephen E. (2008). Founding Father: How C-SPAN's Brian Lamb Changed Politics in America. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc. pp. 208.

Hawkins, Steve and Teresa Keller. (2009). Television News: A Handbook for Reporting, Writing, Shooting, Editing & Producing. Scottsdale, AZ: HoIcomb Hathaway, Publishers Inc. pp. 436.

Too often broadcast journalism course texts fall disparately into two categories: those that focus on production while neglecting the importance of writing a good story, and those that focus on writing without taking into consideration the multimedia necessary to produce the story in a way that provides more meaning to its readers. Unfortunately, no matter the category into which these texts fall, all inevitably disregard the bigger picture of why journalists take up the pen in the first place and gloss over the great responsibility that journalists bear.

Two texts that take a stab at filling these holes, in very different ways, are Stephen E. Frantzich's biography of Brian Lamb, Founding Father: How CSPAN's Brian Lamb Changed Politics in America, and Steve Hawkins's and Teresa Keller's third edition of Television News: A Handbook for Reporting, Writing, Shooting, Editing & Producing.

While one is a narrative biography and the other is a textbook, both put into context the important role a journalist plays in society as a gatekeeper of information.

Setting aside the prolific praise of Lamb's accomplishments, overexposed use of a bridge metaphor, lack of attention to editorial detail (typos), and frenetic topic jumping, Frantzich retells a remarkable story in Founding Father that this generation's journalism students would benefit from reading.

Frantzich's story of Lamb is the hometown boy who makes good by breaking the news media mold and setting out on an unlikely journey to create a television channel and, eventually, an empire founded on the desire to give the public unadulterated news. While idealistic at times, Lamb follows through on his promise to establish one news media outlet without gratuitous sound bites and sensationalist tactics.

While some of Lamb's management style is at times unbelievable, it's easy to see he is well intentioned and wants to get the point across that his management style is quite different than most. Whether Lamb's style goes over with C-SPAN staff as well as Frantzich would like us to believe is dubious, particularly when he mentions the lackluster desire to institute a union.

Most journalism students (at least we hope) know the story of Woodward and Bernstein, but Lamb, through Frantzich, has a different perspective, serving in media relations in the Nixon administration prior to creating C-SPAN. Lamb's story provides an insider's view rarely seen of Beltway politics. Additionally, Frantzich offers a valuable analysis of sensationalist news and an interesting take on various celebrities before they were famous. Observations on Lamb's behalf are worthwhile, particularly surrounding the Vietnam War, as students will most likely never experience for themselves the challenges he faced. The process of getting cameras inside the chambers of Congress, something most take for granted today, is interesting to watch unfold. Frantzich's text is not a history lesson so much as a lesson in what it means to be a serious journalist doing the people's work.

As a book for use in coursework, this work is helpful as a supplemental text. It gives an insightful view into the creation of C-SPAN and offers students a preview of some of the powerful characters who populate the news business. Further, rather than laying out the ABC's of news production, it is a work better suited to capturing students' imaginations, and provoking meaningful classroom discussion in a course geared toward journalism theory.

The Hawkins and Keller text conforms more to mainstream production course books; however, it does something most do not. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Founding Father: How C-SPAN's Brian Lamb Changed Politics in America/Television News: A Handbook for Reporting, Writing, Shooting, Editing & Producing
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.