NBC's Capus: Breaking News Can't Come at Expense of Breaking Public Trust
ABC's Raddatz puts in plug for investing in foreign coverage
By John Eggerton -- Broadcasting & Cable, 3/16/2012 12:14:25 AM
Capus was in town to receive the First Amendment Leadership Award from the Radio-Television Digital News Foundation.
He also talked about proposing an "alternative" to the rearview mirror mindset that talks about how good the old days were, and instead look at the heroes currently in uniform in Afghanistan and the journalists "out there reporting and fully dedicating themselves to getting the story right."
He said it was a time to lead the news business into a new golden age, one that "shines the light on the dark recesses of government" including how decisions are made, how money is spent and who benefits. He said that it was especially important in an election year to pay attention to campaign promises and report fairly and accurately so voters know who and what they are voting for.
Capus said it was not just what was reported, but how. "We must be accurate, even-handed, and, indeed, ethical. In the news business we are often presented with options of shortcuts for taking advantage of a situation when it's presented of breaking the news first. And, let's be honest, it is exciting to get exclusive information or the first interview. But under no circumstances is it worth the cost of breaking public trust. Trust is what news organizations live and die by, and it takes an unwavering commitment from every employee to keep that trust alive."
He did not mention News Corp. by name, but he did not have to. "Last fall," he said, "we witnessed a frightening example of a news organization allegedly abusing the privacy rights of citizens in order to access information on their cell phones. Regardless of how this all went down," he said, "it was a scary example of what can happen when we lose sight of ethical journalism and the importance of trust."
Capus gave a shout-out to international coverage. He said exercising the First Amendment meant looking beyond our borders. "We must look closely at what is being done in our name in foreign regions, both in peace and conflict."
He said NBC News does not take its foreign coverage lightly. "We do indeed invest in it and we know there are great risks in sending our people overseas to areas where there is no such thing as press freedom."
Capus was preceded on the dais by ABC correspondent Martha Raddatz, winner of the Leonard Zeidenberg First Amendment award, who was hailed for her coverage of war -- over 20 visits to Iraq -- both the soldiers and their families. She had called on news organizations to continue to invest in foreign coverage. She said that ABC had supported her passion for foreign news coverage and invested in it, and said Capus had invested in such coverage as well. "It is so important to keep doing that to help Americans understand..." Zeidenberg is the late senior correspondent for B&C.
Capus also put in a plug for NBC's new primetime news mag, Rock Center With Brian Williams. Williams presented the award to Capus calling him one of the best network news presidents. "This has not been a ratings play, believe me," he said to laughter from the audience -- the show was down 40% Wednesday night (March 15) to a new series-low 0.6 rating.
He called it "a commitment to something else," saying it was an attempt "to make a commitment to journalism that matters at this incredibly important moment in history."
No related content found.
No Top Articles
Digital Rapids provides market-leading software and hardware solutions, technology and expertise for transforming live and on-demand video to reach wider audiences on the latest viewing platforms more efficiently, more effectively and more profitably. Empowering applications from..more