The Changing Face of Network News




Introduction: December 7, 1941

            Spreading the News

           Washington Reacts

            Murrow’s Influence

Part One

The Pioneers

Chapter One

Edward R. Murrow

            A Brass Set

            Anschluss . . . Get There!

            The Murrow Boys Go to War

            A Rising Star

            A Radio Blitz

            From a Uniform to a Suit

            Hear it Now, See it Now

            Taking on McCarthy            

            Hail Murrow

            The Legacy

Chapter Two

Douglas Edwards, CBS

            The Right Stuff

            There’s a Radio Announcer Upstairs in the Bedroom

            Joining the Murrow Gang . . . Sort Of

            The Sweet Smell of Television News

            The Birth of Network News

            A Guiding Light Fades Out

Chapter Three

John Cameron Swayze, NBC

            Growing Up on the Chisholm Trail

            Chances and Camels

            Making Impressions   

  He Keeps on Ticking

Chapter Four

John Charles Daly, ABC

            We Interrupt This Program…”

            Hold on to Patton

            “Will the Next Guest Enter and Sign in, Please?”

            The Politics of News

            Live—at What Cost?

            He Did It All!


Part Two

The Golden Years

Chapter Five

Chet Huntley and David Brinkley, NBC

            From Quiz Shows and Westerns

            Huntley Gets “Train-ed”

            Brinkley’s Voice Change

            Huntley and Who?: Conventional Wisdom

            Pumped Up by Texaco

            The Kennedy Years

            A Ratings War: Who Crosses the Line?

            “I’m Not Going to Get Into the Gutter . . .”

            Goodnight David, Goodnight Chet

Chapter Six

Walter Cronkite, CBS

            A True Trailblazer

            Setting a (President) or Two

            The Murrow-to-Cronkite Transition

            Thirteen Days of Hell

            “And That’s the Way It Is”

            “Three Shots Were Fired”

            Of Ratings and Hurt Feelings

            “Go, Baby, Go”

            A War and a Scandal

            How Dare the CIA!

            He Reports, You Decide

            And That’s the Way It Will Be           

Chapter Seven

Frank Reynolds, ABC

Early Values

Conventional Wisdom

Reynolds versus Agnew

The Roone Years

“Damn It, Somebody Get Me . . .”

Reynolds Wrap: A Hollywood-Style Sendoff

Chapter Eight

Howard K. Smith, ABC

            The Story Man from Storyville

            Lost in Love

            I Pledge Allegiance?

            Howard and Harry

            As the Network Turns

Chapter Nine

Harry Reasoner, ABC

            Lou Grant

            Reasoner and Smith and Walters

The Stopwatch Winds Down

Chapter Ten

John Chancellor, NBC

            Honest John

            Big Dreams, and Then…

            “I’ve Been Promised Bail”

            The Voice of America

            Riding Off Into…Well, Not Yet

            Two Years and Eighteen Minutes Later

            Knowing His Left from His Right

            Happier Trails

Part Three

The Changing of the Guard

Chapter Eleven

Barbara Walters, ABC

            Today and Tomorrow

            Music Up, Dissolve to the Biography

            It’s Getting Harry

            A Little Ditty ’bout Barbara and Diane

            The Tough Question

Chapter Twelve

Max Robinson, ABC

            Hiding Behind a Slide

            The Crooked Mirror

            Reynolds’s Funeral Was Robinson’s

            It’s Not Always Black and White

Chapter Thirteen

Peter Jennings, ABC

            The Early Years

            The Americanization of Peter

            Not Ready for Prime Time

            The World Tour

            Munich, 1972

            Three’s a Crowd

            Musical Chairs, Jennings Wins

            A Front Row Seat for History

            A Sterling Success

Chapter Fourteen

Dan Rather, CBS

            Rather’s Career “Rockets Forward”

            “I Can’t Be a Robot”

            The Arledge Call

            Filling Cronkite’s Shoes…or Not?


            The Viciously Competitive Pit

             Will There be Life After Dan Rather?

Chapter Fifteen

Tom Brokaw, NBC

            Job Hunting and Fishing

            Today and Tomorrow

            It’s Getting Muddy

            “Fear and Adrenaline!”

            The “Brokaw Law”

            The Need for News

Chapter Sixteen

Connie Chung

            Sunset Boulevard

            Face to Face with Maury

            The “Bitch” Incident

            Good News and Bad News

            Killing the Evening News?

Chapter Seventeen

Robert MacNeil and Jim Lehrer, PBS

            The Robin Landed in News

            Stepping Up to the Plate


 Part Four

The Challenge of Cable News

Chapter Eighteen


         From Billboards to Boardrooms

Breaking Tradition

Turner Wants More

As Atlanta Turns, So Does the World

Changing the Television Landscape


Chapter Nineteen

Since 1995

Chapter Twenty

September 11, 2001

            Tom Brokaw

            Peter Jennings

            Dan Rather

            What Happens If You Subtract the Anchors from the Broadcast?

            What Happens If You Subtract the Evening News From the Equation?

            The Future News Landscape

Suggested Reading



About the Authors