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ABC’s Westin: ‘We’re Not Doing This to Be No. 2′

davidwestin10-16.jpgIn a Jon Friedman Marketwatch profile, ABC News President David Westin discussed his aggressive strategy to go after the top ratings spot in tv news, “I’ve been in this job for 12-1/2 years, and unless we get to be No. 1, my work won’t be done. We’re not doing this to be No. 2.” Westin told Marketwatch that his plan is no easy one:

“Provide something that nobody else is providing. Differentiation is so much more important today when you’re competing with hundreds, maybe thousands, of competitors. You have to give the audience a clear choice.”

Last night at the Media Institute Awards dinner in Washington, Westin reiterated those points, but rejected the idea that the “something” they need to provide should be news mixed with opinion:

“One of the things I hear most often is that we need to start injecting opinion into our reporting. People say that we’re being left behind by Jon Stewart or Fox News…But to interlace our factual reporting with our opinions on what we’re covering is for me both wrong and ultimately ineffective.”

“If we are to speak at one moment about the truth as we’ve found it and the next about how we think things ought to be, why should those listening believe the former any more than the latter? Our reporting should never be mistaken for simply another point of view, rather than the result of painstaking work and checking and revision.”

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