Academic journal article Journalism History

Encyclopedia of Television News

Academic journal article Journalism History

Encyclopedia of Television News

Article excerpt

Murray, Michael D., ed. Encyclopedia of Television News. Phoenix: Oryx Press, 1998. 304 pp. $69.

The Encyclopedia of Television News represents the first effort to present comprehensively in one volume the many facets of TV journalism and how they relate to one another. In the foreword, former CBS Evening News Editor Ed Bliss, Jr. calls the scope of the work "unparalleled" He does not overstate his adjective.

More than 100 academics have prepared 309 thumbnail sketches of the notable people, companies, organizations, programs, events, and issues associated with television news, past and present. Michael D. Murray has done a considerable job in compiling the contributors' explanations of the myriad influences upon television news. A former president of the American Journalism Historians Association and chair of the Department of Communications at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, he has authored three other books.

Readers will find items that range from biographies of Edward R Murrow, Roone Arledge, and Christine Craft to outlines of the roles of the Radio Television News Directors Association, Nightline, the Fairness Doctrine, and news consultants. Recognition of the impact upon television news of such landmark events as the Kennedy assassination also are included. Less well-known network executives and producers are discussed as well. Additionally, the encyclopedia is noteworthy for its inclusion of the contributions of local broadcast market personalities to the television news craft.

As with any attempt to include "everyone" who has contributed to the livelihood of television news, some interesting choices have been made. For example, it is questionable that PBS documentarian Alistair Cooke, morning show hosts Joan Lunden and Matt Lauer, and sportscaster Bob Costas should receive individual entries, especially when, in comparison, sportscaster Howard Cosell's coverage of Muhammad Ali and Monday Night Football and Jim McKay's reporting of the 1972 Olympic games massacre at Munich receive only cursory mention. …

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