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Posts Tagged ‘David Westin’

ABC’s Westin Wins Award, Addresses Tough Times

westin.jpg ABC News President David Westin received the First Amendment Leadership Award by the RTDNA (Radio TV Digital News Association) Thursday evening in Washington at the Ritz.

He spoke candidly of the importance of the First Amendment and of the trying times news organizations like ABC finds itself in today.

“In recent years we’ve seen pillars of our journalistic community go into bankruptcy,” Westin said. “We’ve seen our best institutions undergo cuts. And sometimes, wave after wave of cuts. People are asking whether some news organizations can survive at all. It’s against that backdrop that last week I announced a fundamental transformation of ABC News.”

He gave a serious shout out to D.C.-based correspondents.

“The First Amendment also asks that we employ beat reporters who develop their expertise and their sources over the years so that they can sort through the chaff and find and explain the kernel of wheat that no one else will find.

“Examples of these at ABC News right here in Washington are reporters like Martha Raddatz on foreign affairs and Jake Tapper on politics and the White House and Pierre Thomas on justice and Jonathon Karl on Capitol Hill and Lisa Stark on aviation and regulation and Terry Moran on the Supreme Court.”

Apart from Westin, award winners included: NBC’s Brian Williams, RTDNA President Emeritus Barbara Cochran, National Assoc. of Broadcasters Education Foundation President Marcellus Alexander, and Harvey Nagler, V.P. of CBS Radio News.

Too see all of the speeches from the dinner visit the RTDNA website here.

Read Westin’s full remarks after the jump…

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ABC News Buyouts to Hit Tomorrow

On the tail of CBS News’ recent round of layoffs, hundreds of ABC News employees are expected to be offered buyouts tomorrow morning. A source familiar with the situation tells FishbowlDC that the buyouts will hit the Washington bureau as well.

Mediaite reports that the buyouts are expected to be offered to employees both on and off-air. Check out Steve Krakauer‘s post for more details.

UPDATE: Our sister blog TVNewser says the cuts will hit 300-400 employees. Check out the staff memo from David Westin obtained by TVNewser and their post here.

ABC on Politico‘s Koppel Story: “Totally Off-Base”

“Politico’s report that Ted Koppel is in negotiations for a $1 million-a-year contract to anchor ‘This Week’ is absolutely false,” an ABC News spokesperson told FishbowlDC. ABC says that the network is talking to several candidates to fill George Stephanopoulos‘ seat on Sunday mornings, no decisions have been made and that any reports of contracts are absolutely inaccurate.

Earlier today, Politico distributed a “breaking news” alert referencing a story written by Mike Allen:

POLITICO Breaking News: ABC News is negotiating with “Nightline” founder Ted Koppel, a 42-year veteran of the network, to return for a potential $1 million-a-year contract to anchor “This Week” three Sundays a month, broadcast industry sources said. The fourth Sunday would rotate among potential future anchors from the network’s Washington bureau

But shortly after, the article was revised – information included in the alert was removed and a quote from ABC News President David Westin was added:

“We are in the middle of the process, and I will not comment on the specifics of whom we are and whom we are not talking to. I’m considering a number of alternatives. I will pull back the veil to the limited degree of telling you – for the benefit of your readers – that just about every specific that you have is false.”

ABC News Announces Steph as “GMA” Host

George Stephanopoulos has been named the new anchor of “Good Morning America,” ABC News President David Westin announced today.

Stephanopoulos will anchor the broadcast with Robin Roberts and replaces Diane Sawyer, who will become the new anchor of “World News” beginning Dec. 21. Juju Chang has been named the news anchor for “Good Morning America” and Chris Cuomo has been promoted to co-anchor of “20/20″ alongside Elizabeth Vargas. Cuomo has also been named ABC News’ chief law and justice correspondent, reporting for all broadcasts and platforms across the news division. Sam Champion will remain the weather anchor on the morning show.

George will take on the role of chief political correspondent and continue to anchor “This Week” until a replacement is named.

George in the Morning?

The Daily Beast reports today that ABC President David Westin was in Washington this week to chat with George Stephanopoulos about “Good Morning America.”

A source close to “GMA” tells the Daily Beast the gig is “George’s now to lose.”

Can we make a suggestion… what about wife Ali Wentworth? She’s already a blast on “Oprah,” jumping out of planes and dancing with the Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders…

Sawyer to Replace Gibson at ABC “World News”

ABC News is set to announce later today that Charlie Gibson will leave “World News.” Diane Sawyer is apparently the network’s pick to replace him in the anchor seat.

Gibson’s email obtained by FishbowlDC:

I have always been taught you should never bury the lead – so I write to tell you that I have told David Westin I want to step down as anchor of World News, and retire from full time employment at ABC News.

It has not been an easy decision to make. This has been my professional home for almost 35 years. And I love this news department, and all who work in it, to the depths of my soul.

I have received much comment, and quite a few emails and letters referring to the signoff Eddie Pinder convinced me to use – wishing that everyone has had a good day. But the proudest part for me has been saying “…for all of us at ABC News…”, since those words signify in my mind that I have been in a position to speak for an entire news department that I consider second to none.

It had been my intention to step down from my job at Good Morning America in 2007 but with Peter’s illness, Bob’s injuries, and Elizabeth’s pregnancy, the job at World News came open in May of 2006, and David asked me to step in as anchor. It was an honor to do so. The program is now operating at a very accelerated, but steady, cruising speed, and I think it is an opportune time for a transition – both for the broadcast and for me. Life is dynamic; it is not static.

I have told David I would like to continue in some capacity contributing occasionally to ABC News. He has been receptive to the idea – and we will be discussing what that role might be.

Most importantly, my heart is full of gratitude for those with whom I have had the privilege to work as a correspondent, as a host at Good Morning America, at Special Events, and now as anchor at World News.

I’ll be anchoring World News through December and will have a chance to thank many of you personally. In the meantime let’s get back to the news…

Network Statements On The Death Of Walter Cronkite

ABC News Anchor Charles Gibson: “Walter Cronkite was and always will be the gold standard. His objectivity, his even-handedness, his news judgment are all great examples. He, as much as anyone, is responsible for developing network television news. He set the standard. He told it ‘the way it is’ and all of us who are privileged to work in this business owe him an enormous debt of gratitude.”

Brian Williams, Anchor and Managing Editor, NBC Nightly News: “America has lost an icon, our industry has lost its living giant, and all those who learned about the world from Walter Cronkite have lost an exceptional teacher.

He loved his country and had a profound effect on it. He told us the truth in a plain-spoken manner. He never forgot that he was one of us, and yet we admired him so. That’s why I can’t help but fear that his loss means we’ve lost a tiny bit of who we are. He was a founding father of our profession. Others had done the job before him, and yet no one before or since has had just a mystical hold on the American people. He perfectly reflected his audience and our times. Watching Walter do what he did — better than anyone — was a formative experience. While he was deeply uncomfortable with overstatements of his own importance, those of us watching at home were so comfortable knowing he was in that chair during those years of great change and upheaval.

To use the terminology of his beloved sailboat, he was our national barometer, our compass and our rudder. With Walter at the helm of that broadcast, we knew we would sail through whatever crisis we faced as a country. He always seemed to point the wheel, with a gust of wind in his sails, toward our collective North Star.

On a personal note, Walter Cronkite was the man I grew up wanting to be. Our household, like many, came to a halt when his broadcast came on the air each night, and dinner was served only after he said good night. Knowing Walter was among the great blessings of my life.”

Roger Ailes, Chairman & CEO, FOX News: “Everybody who’s in the news business today was influenced in a positive way by Walter Cronkite. He had ability, humility and integrity, a rare combination.”

Wolf Blitzer, CNN: “Walter was the perfect anchor. He gave us the news and so much more — not because he was a polished news reader but because he was a world class journalist. He knew how to dig and ask the right questions and report the news. In the process, he helped us understand our country and the world and ourselves.

To this day, whenever there is a big story, I always say to myself: I wish Walter Cronkite were around to anchor the coverage. Walter inspired me and so many other journalists, and he will be deeply missed.”

After the jump, statements from David Westin, Steve Capus, Tom Brokaw, Diane Sawyer, Barbara Walters, Jon Klein, Larry King and more…

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Morning Reading List 07.02.09

Good morning FishbowlDC!

Got a blind item, interesting link, funny note, comment, birthday, anniversary or anything of the sort for Morning Reading List? Drop us a line.

Happy Birthday to NYT‘s Peter Baker and a big congratulations to Roll Call‘s David Meyers, whose daughter Sophie Rose Meyers was born on June 16th– coincidentally Roll Call‘s birthday!

What we know and what we’re reading this Thursday morning…

NEWSPAPERS | TV | ONLINE | BOOKS | NEWS NOTES | JOBS

NEWSPAPERS

David Rohde, the NYT reporter who escaped the Taliban returned to his newsroom to thunderous applause.

TV

TVNewser: As viewers for two of the three network newscasts drop off, NBC “Nightly News” with Brian Williams has grown in viewership over the last year, and had its best Q2 in three years. The broadcast added 86,000 viewers in the second quarter of 2009 vs. Q2 ’08. Not huge growth, but growth nonetheless.

CBS’ Bob Schieffer tells Washington Whispers he’s not sure why his “Face the Nation” ratings are going up. “I have no idea. We have not changed a thing… We are doing what we’ve always done, just to try to get the key newsmaker of the week and ask them the obvious question.”

NBC “Today” show anchor Matt Lauer, CNN’s Larry King and ABC “Nightline” anchor Cynthia McFadden are all heading to Neverland.

RADIO

TWT editor John Solomon will join NPR’s Kojo Nnamdi Show in the noon hour to discuss the local and national media landscapes and where he see the Times fitting in.

ONLINE

AP: Is Twitter the news outlet for the 21st century?

BOOKS

CNN: Prior to revelations of an extramarital affair that effectively brought an end to his political career, Mark Sanford was preparing to publish a book outlining his policy beliefs. Sentinel, a conservative imprint of Penguin Group, has included a book by Sanford in their Spring 2010 catalogue.

NEWS NOTES

How TMZ gets scoops.

Politico‘s Patrick Gavin is out in Aspen for the 2009 Ideas Festival we told you about earlier this week. He fills us in on a panel on the future of journalism with Aspen Institute President (and former CNN President) Walter Isaacson, WaPo‘s Katharine Weymouth and ABC News President David Westin. “We will look at anything and are taking a wait-and-see approach,” said Weymouth. “We think about a ton of things. Everything is open.” When asked whether print papers will always be around, Weymouth said, “I don’t know. I don’t predict. Nobody knows.”

NPR points out that “as some newspapers are going out of business and many more are shedding costs, a lot of investigative journalists who have devoted years to exposing government corruption and corporate scandals are leaving their newsrooms,” some even pursuing careers as private investigators.

Slate‘s Jack Shafer: Michael Jackson‘s death isn’t the first time the press has woven a wardrobe of flimsy garments from thin threads. Editors everywhere appreciate that readers always love to read about Topic A and are intent on being served truckloads of Topic A when Topic A is red hot, even if the product is dross.

HAT TIPS: mediabistro

JOBS after the jump…

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ABC’s WH/Health Care Battle Heats Up Boils Over


The RNC’s new ad that slams “a national TV network” for “turning its airwaves over to President Obama’s pitch for government-run health care.”

In the midst of the RNC’s attack on ABC News for their daylong health care report; planned to air tomorrow from the White House, a group of 40 Republican House members who recently formed the “Media Fairness Caucus,” took a shot at the network. In a letter to ABC, the group blasts ABC’s coverage, calling it “in-kind free advertising for President Obama.”

The members of Congress wrote to ABC News President David Westin:

“The manner in which the news programming is being presented — at the White House with the President and First Lady and without opposition — is unprofessional and contrary to the journalistic code of ethics to present the news fairly and independently.”

“This is not a Presidential news conference open to all news outlets. This is an exclusive arrangement from which the President and his viewpoint stand to gain. It’s as if ABC News is providing in-kind free advertising for President Obama.”

Westin responded, promising a “thoughtful, respectful, and probing discussion of some of the issues raised by the calls for health-care reform.”

Westin wrote:

“We will include a variety of perspectives coming from private individuals asking the President questions and taking issue with him, as they see fit.

Sadly, some inside government and within the private sector see every issue as material for a sort of political high theatre, to be used to gain votes or energize political bases or simply to raise funds. I would have thought that a subject as important as the health care received by the American people would rise above this sorry spectacle. Our citizens need and deserve more. We are proud to be making a serious effort to go beyond mere punditry or stylized, bipolar debate; we are proud to work for a network and a company willing to devote valuable airtime to serious consideration of a subject so worthy.”

Read the full letter from the members of the Media Fairness Caucus HERE and Westin’s reply HERE.

Morning Reading List 06.11.09

Good morning FishbowlDC!

Got a blind item, interesting link, funny note, comment, birthday, anniversary or anything of the sort for Morning Reading List? Drop us a line.

What we know and what we’re reading this Thursday morning…

NEWSPAPERS | TV | MAGAZINE | NEWS NOTES | AWARDS | JOBS

NEWSPAPERS

Boston Globe: NYT Co. chairman Arthur Sulzberger said he had hoped that the Boston Globe‘s biggest union would approve a package of wage and benefit cuts and spare company officials from imposing a 23 percent wage cut, but the union’s rejection and the paper’s financial situation have left them no choice.

More from Jack Shafer at Slate.

FishbowlNY caught up with USA Today publisher David Hunke, who said that he couldn’t promise that there would not be additional cuts, but he did seem hopeful that the worst might be behind the newspaper. “But the third and fourth quarter are going to be tough,” he said. “And that’s just as far as anyone can see right now.”

Also- AP reports USA Today plans to introduce an electronic replica of the paper and charge for it.

TV

ABC News President David Westin on a new multi-platform, division-wide series “The New Normal,” coverage of what happens after the recession eases here.

Fox News’ Megyn Kelly is profiled in Haute Living Magazine, and says “If I could have half the career of Diane Sawyer, I’d be a happy woman.” Find out what else they have in common here.

A look at the reality of digital TV from WaPo‘s Paul Farhi.

MAGAZINES

Washington Whispers further reports Examiner owner and media mogul Philip Anschutz is getting ready to buy the Weekly Standard from Rupert Murdoch. Paul Bedard hears the Weekly Standard staff discussed the sale and its impact at a meeting yesterday- he says they were told the sale is imminent.

NEWS NOTES

How many brothers does Rahm Emanuel have? Two, but if there were a third, it’d be Charlie Rose apparently. In this NYT piece, Rose says he’s so close with the family he considers himself the fourth brother. (h/t HuffPost)

In response to her latest column, Karl Rove called NYT‘s Maureen Dowd “bitter, twister and deranged” in an interview on Fox News yesterday. “I actually went to an editorial board meeting at the New York Times and wasted a couple bucks on some flowers to give Maureen Dowd at the meeting so that it would give her a smile on her face. And that didn’t even work. This is a dour, downbeat liberal.” More from Rove via HuffPost here.

AWARDS

Look who surprised the DC region… Oprah. The former WJZ-TV reporter surprised her old colleauge Richard Sher at the area Emmy Awards Saturday, where he received a lifetime achievement honor.

HAT TIPS: Mediabistro

JOBS after the jump…

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