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Posts Tagged ‘Gail Shister’

Cronkite Tells It Like It Is

cronkite2.pngSince learning of the death of broadcasting legend Walter Cronkite last week, we have been trying to find the right way to pay tribute to him here. Unfortunately, Cronkite’s heyday was a bit before our time — we grew up in a Peter Jennings world — so we don’t have any personal stories or anecdotes to share.

That doesn’t mean we haven’t enjoyed all the stirring tributes that have been everywhere (TVNewser columnist Gail Shister wrote one of our favorites.) It is true — journalists like to honor our own.

But while it’s easy for critics and fans to heap praise on a legend after his death, we have been most moved by Cronkite’s own words, the video clips of him announcing John F. Kennedy’s death or interviews with him after his retirement. And we were exceptionally happy to see this Proust interview Cronkite did for Vanity Fair in 1997. It’s a true look into the man himself, told through his own words. And guess what? He wasn’t perfect. Nor was he humble. But, he was pretty funny. Here are some of our favorite answers:

When and where were you happiest?
Behind the newsdesk on a fast-breaking story.

Which living person do you most admire?

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?

What is the quality you most like in a woman?
I’m strongly urged by advisers not to say “moral laxity,” so let’s say “sense of humor.”

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Sad News: Legendary Broadcaster Walter Cronkite Ill

cronkite.pngOur sister blog TVNewser has some sad news about 92-year-old former broadcaster Walter Cronkite. According to an unnamed source at Cronkite’s longtime network CBS, Cronkite is “gravely ill” and “the network began updating his obituary more than a week ago.”

Cronkite anchored “CBS Evening News” for 19 years. In 1981 he was forced to retire and Dan Rather was named his successor. Yet Cronkite remained a special correspondent and kept an office at the network.

Cronkite is perhaps most well-known for his sign-off — “And that’s the way it is…”

Update: has talked to Cronkite’s assistant Cynthia Dicrocco who said TVNewser’s report is “grossly exaggerated.”

Read more

Torch-Passing, TVNewser Style

stelter_times_061207.jpgFor a couple hours, the back room at Michael’s was transformed into a television news executive bender, a happy hour in honor of our outgoing TVNewser, Brian Stelter [right], and incoming TVNewser, er, ‘Newsers: Chris Ariens, Diane Clehane, Alissa Kinsky and Philadelphia Inquirer TV columnist and Katie Couric nemesis Gail Shister.

Some of those who showed to fete Stelter and co.: Nightly News anchor Brian Williams, NBC News president Steve Capus, Joe Scarborough, MSNBC anchors Contessa Brewer (ED NOTE: Brewer has yet to visit Dan Abrams‘ party house in the Hamptons) and Amy Robach, Rita Cosby, Gil “Stanley Bing” Schwartz, CBS’ Jeff Greenfield, CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin and business correspondent Ali Velshi, MSNBC producer Tammy Haddad, NY1′s Pat Kiernan, former CBS honcho Andrew Heyward, BusinessWeek columnist (and husband to our multimillionaire boss) Jon Fine, Jeff Jarvis, CNN anchor John Roberts, Page Six‘s Corynne Steindler, well-rested Observer columnist Michael Calderone, CNBC senior VP Jonathan Wald, Inside Edition‘s Sarah Rubenstein, Radar‘s Jeff Bercovici, HuffPo’s Rachel Sklar (whose date for the evening was 19-year-old CBS News intern Eric Kuhn), Broadcasting & Cable‘s Max Robins and Caroline Palmer (who, Robins says, is leaving B&C to become Vogue‘s Web editor), CNBC VP Josh Howard, Good Day New York host Ron Corning, Freud Communications’ Lisa Dallos, Marketwatch’s Jon Friedman and the omnipresent Julia Allison, who said she had been up since 5:00AM talking about Lindsay Lohan. Her take: “She should just kill herself already, before she kills someone else.”

Notable no-shows: Abrams, Katie, Charlie, Greta Van Susteren, Jon Stewart and Stelter supporter and former CNNer Aaron Brown.


  • Original TVNewser Bids Us Adieu
  • Bad To Worse For Katie’s Evening

    katie_couric_rocker.jpgNot rocking

    Uh-oh: Last week’s CBS Evening News viewership was the lowest it has been since at least 1987. It’s accurate to call it the smallest audience for the Evening News in decades — the lowest viewership in 20 years. Last week’s average total viewership was 6,050,000. Katie Couric‘s previous low of 6,157,000 came in March.

    Will Katie survive the latest ratings slide?

    With the low point coming at the beginning of the all-important May ratings “sweeps,” it’s officially a legitimate question, Gail Shister or no Gail Shister.


  • CBS: Couric Story ‘Unfounded, Gratuitous, Utterly Malicious’
  • Couric To Leave Evening News After 2008 Elections?
  • Can Chicks Read The News As Well As Dudes?
  • With Couric Stuck In Third, CBS Swaps Executive Producers
  • Video: Katie Couric: ‘I Can Say ‘Old Sperm’ Because This Is The Web’
  • Couric Producer Fired For Plagiarizing Wall Street Journal
  • CBS: Couric Story ‘Unfounded, Gratuitous, Utterly Malicious’


    An emphatic denial from CBS after yesterday’s column by Gail Shister in the Philly Inquirer:

    “This piece is beyond ridiculous — unfounded, gratuitous, utterly malicious and, most importantly, untrue, as stated unequivocally by CBS News President Sean McManus. It is incomprehensible how a major daily newspaper can base an entire article on unsourced rumor — including from a direct competitor — about what CBS News management is thinking, when those rumors were directly knocked down on the record at the highest levels. Is this where journalism has gone at the Inquirer?”

    Sean, why don’t you tell us how you really feel?


  • Couric To Leave Evening News After 2008 Elections?
  • Couric To Leave Evening News After 2008 Elections?


    Out after ’08?

    The network is denying it, but that’s what embattled Philadelphia Inquirer TV columnist Gail Shister hears from her sources inside the Eye. It wouldn’t surprise us in the least, considering what CBS has gotten for the $15 million a year it spent to bring Couric across town.

    Let’s see: a Photoshopping scandal, daily, indefatigable criticism — no doubt a byproduct of how much the network hyped her arrival — a swap of EPs, a plagiarism scandal, a newscast mired in third place and — oh yes — its anchor telling visitors to its Web site that she can “say ‘old sperm’ because this is the Web.” Lovely.

    Shister gets some good grist out of anonymous “veteran” CBS people:

    “From the moment she walked in here, she held herself above everybody else,” says a CBS staffer. “We had to live up to her standards. … CBS has never dealt in this realm of celebrity before.”

    Perhaps we’ll glean more insight Thursday, when we’ll be dining with Couric at the Overseas Press Club Awards.


  • Can Chicks Read The News As Well As Dudes?
  • With Couric Stuck In Third, CBS Swaps Executive Producers
  • Video: Katie Couric: ‘I Can Say ‘Old Sperm’ Because This Is The Web’
  • Couric Producer Fired For Plagiarizing Wall Street Journal
  • Twisted Shister: Philly Inquirer Kills TV Column

    twisted_shister.jpgGail Shister, 25-year veteran television columnist for the sixth borough’s Inquirer, has been stripped of her column. On Tuesday, Shister was told she would no longer be writing her widely read TV column, and would instead be asked to do more “pop-culture television features.” She confirmed the news yesterday. “We’re all part of a new world here, and I never thought I’d be immune, but I’m not ready to uncork the champagne yet,” Shister told the Philly Daily News. “There are better ways to utilize my 25 years of contacts and reportorial skills than to limit me to pop-culture features.”

    Features editor Sandy Clark said Shister’s column was “almost exclusively devoted to network news divisions, morning shows, and anchors,” and the paper “can’t afford a column so narrowly focused.”

    Can Chicks Read The News As Well As Dudes?


    Apparently no, says Philadelphia Inquirer reporter Gail Shister [via CNN's Reliable Sources]:

    HOWARD KURTZ: Gail Shister, Rick Kaplan and some other CBS executives have said that there is a portion of the audience that may still not be comfortable getting their news from a woman at 6:30. Do you think that is a factor?

    SHISTER: Unfortunately, yes. I do still think it’s a factor. As much as we’d like to think that as a culture, that we have progressed to the point where it doesn’t matter, I think that in news particularly, there is a sense that there is not the — I hate the “G” word, but the gravitas when a woman gives the news, as opposed to a man gives the news. You also have to understand that the average news viewer tends to be older, 60 and older, so they are more entrenched in the tradition. And the tradition, until Katie Couric came in September, was white, middle-aged men.

    KURTZ: Right. Well, we think have you great gravitas on this show.


  • With Couric Stuck In Third, CBS Swaps Executive Producers
  • Couric Blogs About Evening News Exec Changes