Academic journal article Journalism History

Sincerely, Andy Rooney

Academic journal article Journalism History

Sincerely, Andy Rooney

Article excerpt

Rooney, Andy. Sincerely, Andy Rooney. New York: Public Affairs, 1999. 336 pp. $23.

In assessing the importance of Andy Rooney's contributions to journalism history consider the following: he worked for every president CBS News ever had. Furthermore, he is seldom shy about communicating views about broadcasting or his company, which is the traditional leader in the industry.

The media historian with an interest in broadcasting should keep all of this in mind in approaching Rooney's book of collected letters, referred by him as a "stiarated" biography.

Rooney's letters are divided into time periods, and most of them concern themselves with things that came up as a result of his writing-before and after he became a household name. He wrote these letters when he was a writer for Arthur Godfrey and Harry Reasoner and later a commentator for 60 Minutes. Some of the letters will be of special interest to journalism historians; many are peppered with stories concerning newsmakers, details of key broadcasts and the planning process.

The second part of the book, entitled "A Funny Business," focuses on the broadcasting industry. It includes letters that Rooney targeted at CBS. The section begins with a collector's item: a memo from a network executive asking employees to sign the non-communist oath during the blacklist era.

Much of the correspondence in this section is addressed to CBS News executives such as Don Hewitt, Elmer Lower, and Van Gordon Sauter, who was then CBS Sports president. …

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