Friday, December 25, 2009

View From the Phlipside - Stale TV News Anchors

These are the scripts from my weekly media commentary program on WRFA-LP Jamestown

My name is Jay Phillippi and I've spent my life in and around the media. TV, Radio, the movies and more. I love 'em and I hate em' and I always have an opinion. Call this the view from the Phlipside

One of the interesting points about the end of an old year and the beginning of a new one is the chance to look back and decide if you want to keep doing it. That's why we make resolutions at New Year's, it's a dividing point between the fixed past and the future that we hope to fix. That can be a very good thing too. For example this year the family Phlipside will take time at the New Year to clean out certain cupboards. Like the one where we discovered a cake mix that was a full two years out of date. Time to discard the old and move into a new, brighter and slightly less stale future.

All of which leads me to some end of year thoughts on the retirement of what one newspaper referred to as the "...last old school TV anchor". They were referring to the end of Charlie Gibson's tenure on the evening news at ABC. Eric Deggans at said the following about Gibson and it got me thinking:

"He's not very active online and takes his anchor role seriously. ...He is not willing to pop up in comedy sketches the way NBC anchor and frustrated stand up comic Brian Williams does. ... And he's not about to become a fixture in either tabloid news or the online world, in the way Katie Couric has managed."

Now I'm second to none when it comes to my respect for old school news anchors. Give me Edward R. Murrow and Walter Cronkite, thank you very much. But as I read that bit from the St. Petersburg Times my initial feelings began to change. You may or may not like the new world of the internet. I've got plenty of misgivings about the wisdom of trying to communicate anything of importance in 140 characters or less. But if you're going to simply ignore the most important step in modern communications then maybe it's TIME to step aside. Like it or not it's a brave new world out there. I would remind you that the phrase comes originally from Shakespeare. It's an expression of wonder at the amazing and new people confronting Miranda in the play "The Tempest". This is a time when new things are happening all around us, when new opportunities present themselves and new challenges require new responses. A stubborn adherence to "old school" in defiance of that smacks far too much of Don Quixote. Even Murrow looked for new ways to bring news and information to people. A new year is coming. Sounds like it's time for something a little fresher in the news anchor cupboard.

Call that the view from the Phlipside

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