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“And That's the Way It Is”: 70 Years of TV News

Afternoon Lecture/Seminar

Tuesday, April 5, 2022 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET
Code: 1J0163
This program is part of our
Smithsonian Associates Streaming series.
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Walter Cronkite, 1976 (Library of Congress)

Television news has undergone remarkable transformations in the last seven decades. Beginning with the “Camel News Caravan” with John Cameron Swayze in 1948, evening newscasts drew tens of millions of viewers nightly, and expanded from 15-minutes to 30-minutes when Walter Cronkite became the anchor of the “CBS Evening News” in 1963.

With the launch of CNN in 1980, TV news expanded to 24 hours a day, 7 days a week—and a new era in television journalism was born. Americans no longer had to wait until 6:30 p.m. to get their news but could tune in any time to find out what was happening, all over the world. In 1996, TV news would change once again with the launch of two new 24/7 cable channels: MSNBC and 6 months later the Fox News Channel, which introduced a more partisan approach to news coverage that would have enormous implications on American political life.

Brian Rose, professor emeritus at Fordham University, looks at these sweeping changes and examines the impact—both good and bad—of television journalism, and the way it is today.

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