Open Mike

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Journalists Aren’t Sales People

Editor: Terry Heaton, in his Airtime column (“TV Journalists, Welcome to the Future,” 5/16, page 36), says it will take two things to rectify the slump in TV sales. Newspeople need to: 1) get involved in online journalism; 2) help their stations in their economic well-being.

First, I can say Seattle has three TV stations—KOMO, KING and KIRO—that have Web sites that are superb at breaking news and enterprise reporting.

Second, Heaton needs to be educated. It is not the job of TV reporters to personally aid the economic well-being of a station. That is the job of sales. In 55 years in media, I have observed it is strictly prohibitive for a Seattle newsperson to aid sales directly in anyway. It crosses the line of news integrity.

God forbid that Heaton’s philosophy becomes a reality.

Bill Wippel

Normandy Park, Wash.

(Wippel is a former anchor at Seattle’s KTNT, now called KSTW.)

What About Bob?

Editor: Gosh, I was flabbergasted to read Howard Rosenberg’s column in Broadcasting & Cable (“Dudes You Can Lose,” 4/18, page 64) about the search for a permanent anchor for The CBS Evening News—and his classification of Bob Schieffer as “a pop-gun” replacing a “loose cannon”!

I’ve admired Rosenberg’s serious criticism of television—both in the Los Angeles Times and Broadcasting & Cable. But I’m beginning to think that those years of exposure to the ever-changing anchor picture in Los Angeles local news have given him a jaded view of broadcast journalism.

The column only reinforces the need for substance over gimmick, and sincerity over artificiality. An anchor who exudes natural goodness and who commands deserved trust is invaluable. Credibility and experience make Schieffer the right choice for a prominent role on The CBS Evening News.

Aviva Radbord KDKA-TV News Pittsburgh

(Editor’s Note: Rosenberg’s reference to Schieffer’s pop-gun style was meant to convey his presence compared with the “loose cannon”aura of Dan Rather, not criticism of Schieffer’s ability or professionalism.)

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