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Alissa Krinsky

Bill Plante on His ‘Fabulous Vantage Point for History’ During 50 Years with CBS

BPlanteCBSOn June 1, 1964, 26 year-old Bill Plante reported to work as a new correspondent for CBS News in New York.

He’d spend the next five decades with the network, traveling to Vietnam and Iceland, to Moscow and Teheran.  He’d cover every presidential campaign from 1968 on, and serve as a White House correspondent for four Presidents.

On the occasion of his 50th anniversary with CBS, Plante spoke with TVNewser, telling us his work has given him “a fabulous vantage point for history and for watching politics. I love it.”

So much so, he has no plans to retire. “I don’t have one of those wall calendars where I’m ‘x’ing’ out the days until I can go to an island somewhere,” Plante jokes.

He’s enjoying his job and proud of a news division he feels is re-energized by a return to its hard-news roots.  “All of us who’ve been around here for a long time have lived through the various phases of CBS News, some of which we liked better than others. The current phase,” he pauses to emphasize, “we like a lot.”

He cites the “CBS Evening News,” helmed by network homegrown Scott Pelley, as an example. Plante also mentions “CBS This Morning,” adding that the show’s competitors are ”all kind of doing entertainment.”

“I learned from people like [Mike] Wallace, [Walter] Cronkite, from many others,” he reflects. “I learned what was expected of good reporters. It isn’t something you can commodify easily, but you watch them work, and you see what their standards are…and you hold yourself to those same standards.”

He says CBS News maintains that journalistic integrity, declining to comment specifically about accusations of political bias at the network by former colleague Sheryl Attkisson.  ”I think we make a major effort to play it down the middle,” Plante says about the news division in general.

“I’ve never had anybody, in the last five years of covering this administration, or for that matter, the previous one, suggest that we go easy or go hard [on a particular President].”

The White House beat, and his time on the campaign trail, have provided some of the most memorable moments for Plante, along with covering the Civil Rights movement and the Vietnam War.

But the years of travel came at a price.

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TVNewser’s 2014 Guide To Graduation Speakers

Class-of-2014. jpgAs is TVNewser tradition, here now is our seventh annual list of who’s-speaking-where-and-when at the nation’s colleges and universities (in alphabetical order):

CNBC’s Guy AdamiQuinnipiac University (CT), May 10

CNN’s Brooke Baldwin: University of North Carolina School of Journalism and Mass Communication (NC), May 11

ABC’s Richard Besser: University of Michigan School of Public Health (MI), May 1

CNN’s Wolf Blitzer: Cansius College  (NY), May 17

Bloomberg’s Michael Bloomberg: Harvard University (MA), May 29… Williams College (MA), June 8

CNN’s Gloria Borger: Colgate University (NY), May 18

FNC’s Dr. Ben CarsonRegent University (VA), May 3

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Dave Marash On His ‘Inspiring’ New Job

Marash“The possibilities are inspiring,” says veteran newsman Dave Marash in describing his new job as co-news director of Sante Fe’s public radio station.

An official announcement named Marash, and former print journalist Zélie Pollon, as KSFR-FM’s new leadership team.

“My wife Amy and I moved to New Mexico in October of 2012,” Marash tells TVNewser, “and with all the legendary zeal of the convert, I love it out here.

“My friend Zelie interviewed me [for a KSFR program], and, afterwards, George Weston, the station’s general manager, asked me about possibly working at the station.  It turned out the news directorship was open.  Zelie and I talked about taking the job together as a job-share and convinced ourselves, and eventually, George and others, that this might work to everyone’s advantage.”

Marash says he also hopes to anchor a weekly interview news show.  In addition, he’s excited to turn the newsroom into a “workshop” by approaching ”all the local colleges and high schools about possible interns, who will trade their time and energy for training in reporting, radio writing and audio editing.”

A sixteen-year veteran of ABC’s Nightline, Marash made headlines in 2008 when he exited Al Jazeera English after expressing to management his disappointment in a lack of editorial input from its American staff.

Just this last week, American journalist Liz Wahl - citing editorial bias at Russian network RT – resigned her anchor job, albeit in a public, on-air announcement.

Robin Meade, 12 Years an HLN Anchor

“I know that my main job is [to provide] good information, ” says HLN anchor Robin Meade about her mission as a morning anchor, “but it’s [also] mood enhancement. I am supposed to enhance your mood, so you can go on with your day!”

Meade, whose Morning Express show airs weekdays from 6am-noon ET,  spoke with TVNewser Tuesday night at a screening of “CHICAGOLAND”, an eight-part series that debuts tonight on sister network CNN.

Such original programming is part of an overhaul for CNN under the leadership of Worldwide President Jeff Zucker. HLN, too, is undergoing change – it was just last month that the network announced it was rebranding “to become the first TV network for the social media generation.”

Meade is on-board with the interactive focus, since “luckily we kind of already had social media in our DNA for the morning show,” she says.  “I think of the show as a two-way street… It fits right in with us.”

Meade tells us why she still finds her morning gig a good fit, 12 years after she joined HLN.

Jeff Zucker on CNN’s Evolution and His ‘Exhilarating’ Experience Leading the Way

JeffZuckerCNN“I think a new lineup will evolve over time,” CNN Worldwide President Jeff Zucker tells TVNewser about the cabler’s much-talked-about primetime schedule. “I don’t think we’re going to have a singular day when we’re going to announce a whole new lineup.  It’ll evolve.”

TVNewser caught up with Zucker in Chicago last night, at the Windy City premiere of “CHICAGOLAND”, CNN’s eight-part documentary series debuting tomorrow night at 10pmET.  It’s part of a wave of new programing ordered by Zucker in an effort to break the mold at the network and kick-start ratings.

One of the puzzle pieces for Zucker is how to utilize Piers Morgan, whose eponymous primetime show will soon be replaced. Earlier this week, Morgan said he’ll “make a deal to do 20 to 25 shows a year, all interviews with big names.”

“I am talking with Piers about what our future will be,” Zucker tells TVNewser. “We are in conversations.”

As the network moves forward, though, one thing is clear: Zucker likes the ratings scored by series such as “Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown” and “Morgan Spurlock’s Inside Man”.

“Certainly, there’s an appetite and an audience that’s willing to come to CNN to watch that kind of programming, and I think that you’ll see more of that this year.”  Zucker says he has  “several other series in that vein that we haven’t even announced yet.”

And Zucker says that doesn’t mean CNN is moving away from being first and foremost a news organization.

“The fact is,” he says, “CNN is actually offering more hours of live news programming today than we have at any point in the last five years.  So the two [live news and documentaries] are not incompatible. We are always there when news happens. We’re in Ukraine this week, and Crimea, in tremendous numbers, offering round-the-clock coverage, far more than anyone else.”

While CNN’s evolution will take time — and patience — Zucker is keenly aware of the day-to-day ratings game.

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Colleagues Mourn Death of CNN Digital Reporter

JPGLateefMunginCo-workers this weekend are remembering CNN Digital reporter Lateef Mungin, who passed away Friday after suffering a seizure in the network’s Atlanta newsroom earlier last week.  Mungin was 41, and is survived by his wife and two young daughters.

A California native and former Atlanta Journal-Constitution reporter, Mungin joined CNN in 2008. His Twitter bio reflected his passion for his job and the network: “We love news here. And we love you.”

Colleagues have taken to social media to express their grief.  Kevin Flower, CNN’s Senior Director of Domestic Newsgathering, tweeted that “CNN has lost a great journalist and a truly gentle soul.”

Saeed Ahmed, Senior Assignment Editor at CNN Digital, tweeted that Mungin was ”a tenacious reporter, a superb writer and a wonderful friend.” Ahmed has established a fund for Mungin’s family, which, as of this writing, has raised more than $8,000.

Tim Russert Office Exhibit Gets ‘Final Resting Place’ in Buffalo

TR OfficeAfter more than four years on display at the Newseum in Washington, the contents of the office of the late NBC newsman Tim Russert are moving to his hometown of Buffalo, New York.

“It’s a great final resting place for the embodiment of his career, which is that office,” Russert’s son, NBC News correspondent Luke Russert, tells the Buffalo News. “It captures the history of him growing up in South Buffalo and interviewing popes and presidents and everything in between.”

The office re-creation, which had been classified as a temporary feature at the Newseum, includes items such as Russert’s “Thou Shalt Not Whine” sign, as well as numerous books, papers, and framed photos.  The Buffalo History Museum now will house the exhibit.

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Erin Burnett Ready to Get Back ‘OutFront’

BurnettBabyNyleandMomMotherhood is agreeing with CNN’s Erin Burnett, who on November 29 gave birth to her first child, Nyle Thomas Burnett Rubulotta.

“It’s only been a month but from the second I saw him I couldn’t imagine life without him,” Burnett tells TVNewser. “And his first smile was the greatest joy.”

Burnett, who will return to her primetime show ‘OutFront’ later this month, shared a few photos with us, including Nyle in what his mother describes as “his favorite sleeping position, the ‘champion.’”

In Celtic, Nyle means ‘champion’. “He’s a champion to me no matter what he does!” Burnett says.

Erin Burnett Gives Birth to Baby Boy

EBurnettWeddingIt’s an 8-pound, 10-ounce bundle of blue for CNN’s Erin Burnett and  husband David Rubulotta.

“Dave and I welcomed a healthy, happy baby boy at 9:47 p.m. Friday November 29th,” the ‘Outfront’ anchor tells People magazine, which broke the news. “Seeing him for the first time was the most awe-inspiring, joyful moment of our lives.”

There’s no word yet on the baby’s name. It’s the first child for the couple, who married in December of 2012. CNN confirmed Burnett’s pregnancy to TVNewser in June.

 

Ron Burgundy’s ‘Highly, Highly-Anticipated Autobiography’

As the wait continues for the December premiere of  “Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues”, so does the string of entertaining, pre-release morsels being thrown to us news junkie fans in the meantime. 

Now the first trailer for Ron Burgundy‘s autobiography, a tome the anchor describes as “highly, highly-anticipated.” Let Me Off at the Top! My Classy Life and Other Musings, out November 19, is being marketed as the book ”every true American has been waiting for: a shockingly candid and raw confessional from a national treasure…This book deserves a real shot at a Pulitzer Prize. In fact if it doesn’t win one then we will finally have proof that the Pulitzer is rigged.”

“Turns out I’m a great book writer,” Burgundy adds. WATCH:

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