LIVE AND OFF-COLOR: News Biz by Bob Teague


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Anecdotes from Teague's long career as a local N.Y.C. reporter and anchorman for NBC--with the emphasis on the TV trend toward glamour, sex-appeal, and noncontent. ""Television news, as it is today, is a sort of schizophrenic prostitute--not the honest kind of whore I can respect. Enormous swatches of television news are dumb, irrelevant, tasteless, and insulting to you as a viewer, to me as a reporter."" Teagne lambasts the ""Empty Suits"" (management) who are driven by The Ratings ""to sacrifice solid news reports for pieces of entertaining fluff, and to misuse our technology for meaningless live coverage of nonevents."" He details his struggles to get real stories on the air. He laments the notorious Q ratings. He ponders his own tactics on the beat: elicting quotes from grief-stricken survivors and mourners. He sketches in the role of the producer, the assignment editor--with a few plaudits and lots of grievances on specific staffers. He tells stories about inter-network assistance and rivalry. He gives many (too many) examples of the hated SLR: ""Silly Live Remote""--""just a reporter, surrounded by gawkers and 'Hi-Mom' wavers, talking about something that either happened three hours ago or might happen an hour later."" He rages over unwarranted firings, includes some dullish comic episodes, lashes out at the bosses in general and a few by name (""the most blatant failings among television news executives had more to do with bullshit than bigotry""), and winds up with proposals (some voiced by Brinkley, Cronkite, Sevareid) for de-glorified, deglamorized TV news. Lots of trivia and repetition, but a few good jolts of exposÉ--especially for N.Y.-area readers.

Pub Date: May 31st, 1982
Publisher: A & W