ANCHORS: Brokaw, Jennings, and Rather by Robert & Gerald Jay Goldberg Goldberg

ANCHORS: Brokaw, Jennings, and Rather

Email this review


A gossipy, albeit informative, rundown on TV news and the three superstars who anchor the major networks' prime-time broadcasts. Wall Street Journal correspondent Goldberg and his father (English/UCLA) trace the upwardly mobile careers of Tom Brokaw (NBC), Peter Jennings (ABC), and Dan Rather (CBS). They do so in the context of 1989, a year notable for such consequential stories as the breaching of the Berlin Wall, an earthquake in San Francisco, the Tiananmen Square massacre, and a proto-summit offshore Malta. The authors also offer behind-the-scenes accounts of how news items are gathered throughout the world, transmitted to Manhattan, evaluated, edited, illustrated, timed, and otherwise prepared for airing on early-evening programs. One producer interviewed compares the typically frantic process to ""changing the fan belt on a car going 90 miles per hour."" The Goldbergs have a high regard for the professionalism and journalistic skills of their competitive, globe-trotting subjects. On several counts, however, they conclude that high-profile anchors are an endangered species. For one thing, the audience for network news, which has been shrinking steadily, now comes from fewer than 60% of the US homes with sets. For another, cable upstarts like CNN and MTV have begun to make serious advances in the commercially significant race for ratings. In the meantime, the penny-wise executives who run the parent companies view newscasting from a bottom-line perspective, not as a public trust that deserves corporate support or subsidies. Savvy, human-scale coverage of a glamour medium in transition, if not crisis; worth tuning in.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1990
Publisher: Birch Lane/Carol