Tuesday, March 7, 2017

When News Was News Week: Camel News Caravan (1949)

John Cameron Swayze, to folks of a certain generation, may be better remembered for shilling for Timex watches. However, he was a newsman first, before turning into a commercial pitchman.

Swayze was NBC's first news anchor. In 1948, the network launched the NBC Television Newsreel, which morphed a year later into the Camel News Caravan, a 5-days-a-week, 15 minute newscast that swapped out the newsreels for actual, same day filmed news footage. This may have been the only network newscast that included a sponsor in its title. Toward the end of the Caravan's run, R. J. Reynolds, makers of Camel, pulled back on their sponsorship, cutting it from 5 days to 3. Chrysler's Plymouth division took over the other two days.

Among the staff of reporters was a young David Brinkley, who would move into the anchor chair himself in 1956, beginning a 14 year run as one-half of the Huntley-Brinkley Report.

Let's go back to October 1954, on the eve of that year's World Series between the Giants and Indians.......

Swayze would ultimately leave NBC for ABC to finish his news career.

We will not be rating the nightly newscasts.

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