Lehrer and Hart

The list goes on and on. As if they could fit another Vietnam War memorial wall, but this one, for broadcasting.

Someone observes that on campus, the dorm lounge during news hour is a quietest place to make a phone call.

I still remember when Peter Jennings, Frank Reynolds and Max Robinson  shared the ABC newscast.

NBC got two anchors, PBS two and CBS, just one. That’s 8 talking heads sharing pre-CNN Evening news prime time.

America has always had an appetite for news (and TV dinners) besides eating while driving.

Over-the-top pay services such as Netflix and soon, Apple and Google will take us, the audience, further down the road of our self-initiated programming. Combo number 1 (Panda video, consists of hard news, soft porn and targeted advertising etc…).

This paradigm shift is telling us that even seasoned broadcast journalists still can’t command digital native audience. TV viewing used to be a family affair. Now, news is what being sent and recommended by friends. We are transitioning from broadcasting to narrow-casting,

one-to-many to many-to-many (“followers”). Bin Laden raid was announced via a Tweet by, of all people, an engineer who wanted to take a vacation away from it all “can I catch some sleep now”!

My guess is we will end up getting the information via aggregators like Facebook or Alltop.com, the new priesthood of the information age.

BTW, LinkedIn starts publishing its own news headlines.

Black-and-white TV used to be the only “game” in town ( I grew up waiting for the sign-on at 6PM. The whole country turned on their TV sets to warm up with the Indian-head poster – I found out later, used by studio engineers to calibrate their white balance, and align broadcast signals).

As portrayed best by William Hurt in Broadcast News “what do you do when your life exceeds your dream”, we can now wish farewell to those veteran broadcasters with “what do you do when your retirement exceeds your entitlement”. They know when to hold, and when to fold. After all, they are the ones who have set the tone and the pace of conversation in America. Now the burdens are on those who try to sell soup, soap and cereal to know exactly which half of their marketing dollars fails. Again, someone observed that they should at least try Gagaville, a private-label site from Farmville before having bouncers on the set like Jerry Springer .

Before signing-off, I just want to quote Ishiguro through the observation of Madam (dean of “clones” in Never Let Me Go) “When I watched you dancing that day, I saw something else. I saw a new world coming rapidly. More scientific, efficient, yes. More cures for the old sicknesses. Very good. But a harsh, cruel world.And I saw a little girl, her eyes tightly closed, holding to her breast the old kind world, one that she knew in her heart could not remain, and she was holding it and pleading, never to let her go.” “That’s the way it is” once a nightly sign-off by Walter Cronkite,  America’s most trusted man.


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