Downsizing the News: Network Cutbacks in the Nation's Capital

Downsizing the News: Network Cutbacks in the Nation's Capital

Downsizing the News: Network Cutbacks in the Nation's Capital

Downsizing the News: Network Cutbacks in the Nation's Capital

Excerpt

A clash of cultures between two generations of TV journalists splits the Washington TV press corps into competing camps. One camp, idealistic and traditional, mourns the passage of an alleged golden age when TV networks covered the globe and the nation with a mobile corps of fact-oriented news gatherers. They decry the increased influence of the business side of broadcasting in determining the scope of good journalism. Moreover, they are pessimistic over the deterioration of quality reporting and the diminished presence of what they define as hard news on network evening newscasts.

Another side, pragmatic and reconciled to the so-called new realities imposed by competition for audiences, is skilled in the latest arts of video packaging. Persuaded that a new style of evening newscast is needed in the growing competition for television audiences, these professionals pride themselves on what they consider to be their broadcasting abilities as well as their aptitude for spotting and interpreting news trends. Over and above gathering the news, these practitioners see themselves as able to accentuate the principal theme of a news story in terse prose while projecting the message with warmth and sincerity.

Yet a third force, the marketeers, dominates network headquarters in New York, imposing budget cuts and seeking to make news divisions--once viewed . . .

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