Thursday, March 9, 2017

When News Was News Week: CBS Evening News (1948)

The CBS Evening News was the first network newscast to make the jump from 15 minutes a night to 30, followed closely by The Huntley-Brinkley Report a week later. As it nears its 70th anniversary next year, it remains the industry standard.

The nightly newscast launched in 1948 as CBS Television News to differentiate from its radio counterpart, and was anchored by Douglas Edwards for 14 years, the last 10 of which under the title, Douglas Edwards With The News. In 1962, Edwards was reassigned, and Walter Cronkite took over the evening news, which adopted its current title a few years later.

I have to say I grew up with "Uncle Walter", as my folks watched the CBS Evening News for much of his tenure (1962-81). Cronkite, as we've previously documented, also served as host-narrator for the documentary series, The 21st Century, during this period. Dan Rather began a 24 year run by succeeding Cronkite. Save for a 2 year period where he shared the anchor desk, albeit reluctantly, some say, with Connie Chung, perhaps mindful of ABC's similar experiment with Barbara Walters & Harry Reasoner nearly 20 years earlier, Rather wasn't quite must-see-TV at home. Just sayin'.

Today, Scott Pelley is the weekday anchor, and while I haven't seen the CBS newscast in several years, I can't say for sure if the standards of the golden age are being kept.

Just to get this in, Douglas Edwards was still with CBS as I was growing up, as he was doing 5 minute mid-day micro-newscasts, back when they were still fashionable.

Let's go back in time to 1968, and the incomparable Walter Cronkite.

Like the man said, that's the way it is.

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