Norah O’Donnell Invokes Edward R. Murrow to Launch New Era at ‘CBS Evening News’

Variety | 7/15/2019 | Brian Steinberg
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Though Norah O’Donnell had her first turn as anchor of “CBS Evening News” Monday night, she didn’t rely on any attention-grabbing tricks to carry the day. There was no flashy drawing board, no rattling off of unsettling, urgent headlines and no wrap-up of the day with a mawkish end segment calling up some element of Americana.

Instead, the new evening-news anchor took viewers from Washington to Puerto Rico to outer space in under half an hour, part of a bid by CBS to lure new viewers to its venerable evening newscast, which has ties to some of most legendary practitioners of TV journalism and yet runs behind its rivals. In an anchor role once reserved for Walter Cronkite, O’Donnell delivered a no-nonsense newscast that was packed with information and left little time for gimmicks.

O'Donnell - Ghost - Edward - R - Murrow

Indeed, O’Donnell summoned the ghost of the celebrated Edward R. Murrow, who took on Senator Joseph McCarthy with the CBS News TV program “See It Now,” in an effort to tell viewers what to expect from her tenure behind the desk. “This instrument can teach, it can illuminate; yes, and even it can inspire,” O’Donnell said, reading from an excerpt of a famous Murrow speech about the power of TV. “But it can do so only to the extent that humans are determined to use it to those ends. Otherwise, it’s nothing but wires and lights in a box. There is a great and perhaps decisive battle to be fought against ignorance, intolerance and indifference. This weapon of television could be useful.”

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Rejoinder - Viewers - Mr - Murrow

And she added a rejoinder for viewers: “For Mr. Murrow, we will try to use it well – and with integrity.”

Viewers could see evidence of the philosophy early in O’Donnell’s first broadcast, when a graphics package labeled recent...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Variety
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