TVSpy LostRemote AgencySpy PRNewser FishbowlNY FishbowlDC SocialTimes AllFacebook 10,000 Words GalleyCat UnBeige MediaJobsDaily

Posts Tagged ‘David Westin’

ABC Brings ‘Tonight’ Back to ‘World News’

WorldNewsTonightFollowing Diane Sawyer‘s sign-off last night, the first promo to air teased what’s ahead on tonight’s show. Eagle-eyed viewers also noticed something different. As of today, ABC’s flagship broadcast is known as “World News Tonight.”

The broadcast had long been called “World News Tonight,” but ABC dropped the “Tonight” in 2006 during Charles Gibson‘s time as anchor. At the time, ABC News president David Westin explained, “Our flagship evening news broadcast has evolved well beyond thirty minutes on television. As we continue to expand ABC News and ‘World News’ into the 24-hour space created by the digital world, it makes sense for that reality to be reflected in the title of the broadcast.”

There’s no explanation this time for the change. The Twitter account for the show @abcworldnews already includes the new graphic and the Facebook link has been changed from World News to ABC World News Tonight. David Muir‘s name will be added to the title when he officially takes over as anchor next Tuesday. “World News Tonight” gets a new EP in the coming weeks as Almin Karamehmedovic moves over from “Nightline.”

Mediabistro Course

Social Media Strategy Boot Camp

Social Media Strategy Boot CampStarting November 10, build a complete social media strategy for your brand! Through a series of weeklong webcasts, marketing and social media experts will teach you how to integrate social media into your overall marketing strategy, understand key metrics and analytics, and master the emerging trends in social. Register now! 
 

Barbara Walters Farewell: ‘True, I Was the First Female Co-Host… But Also True, I Was a Flop’

WaltersSawyerIt was a star-studded farewell for Barbara Walters at New York City’s Four Seasons restaurant tonight. From comedian Joan Rivers to commissioner Bill Bratton; from New York’s chronicler of scandal, Cindy Adams, to the man who plays the president on “Scandal,” Tony Goldwyn; from actor Woody Allen to attorney David Boies, But mostly, the pool room was packed with Walters’ fellow TV news colleagues and those ladies — past and present — from “The View.” Whoopi Goldberg and Sherri Shepherd; Meredith Vieira and Joy Behar.

Following a best of Barbara video, Disney Chairman Bob Iger welcomed the crowd, before Walters delivered a few words of thanks and admitting it hasn’t always been easy. “True, I was the first female co-host of a network news program. But also true, I was a flop. My male co-host didn’t want a partner and neither did the audience. I was drowning, gasping for air. Then someone threw me that life preserver called Specials with the biggest stars in news and show business and I learned how to swim again.”

Current and former evening news anchors were there, including Diane Sawyer and Brian Williams who arrived with Tom Brokaw, Katie Couric and fiancé John Molner; and Connie Chung (who was part of an ill-fated co-anchor pairing with Dan Rather) and husband Maury Povich. We caught up with early risers Savannah Guthrie and George Stephanopoulos along with their spouses, Mike Feldman, and Ali Wentworth, respectively, as they were heading out. Guthrie’s “Today” colleague Al Roker and his wife, ABC correspondent Deborah Roberts made the rounds as well.

Walters continued: “I’m grateful to the legendary Roone Arledge for bringing me to ABC News; thankful to David Westin for his steady leadership; to Ben Sherwood – you made us all believe we could win and with your leadership and passion, we did; and James Goldston – I’m told that all our shows are number one at the moment – you should quit right now.” Sherwood, Goldston and Westin were all on hand, as were other ABC News executives including Barbara Fedida, David Sloan, Jeanmarie Condon and John Green.

We spotted Jenny McCarthy hand-in-hand with fiance Donnie Wahlberg; the “Nightline” team of Juju ChangDan Abrams, and Dan Harris as well as a host of correspondents and anchors from ABC, NBC, CBS, MSNBC and Fox, including Elizabeth VargasAmy RobachDavid MuirNorah O’DonnellJon KarlGio Benitez, Dr. Richard Besser, Tory JohnsonRick Klein, Brian Ross, Mara Schiavocampo, Thomas RobertsAlicia MenendezHoda Kotb, Greta Van Susteren and Lisa Ling, a former “View” co-host, now woking on a new show for CNN.

Read more

How Real is ‘The Newsroom?’ Real TVNewsers Speak Out

No one expects total realism from HBO’s “The Newsroom,” but a scene in Sunday’s Season 2- opener would be virtually impossible in real life, technically speaking, say numerous network professionals.

In the segment, an off-site reporter for cable news network ACN dictates a few words of important corrected information – via cellphone — for his package, which is then instantaneously re-tracked in the control room just in the nick of time on Will McAvoy’s (Jeff Daniels) show.

“Any suggestion you can drop new audio into a package a few seconds before air is definitely unrealistic; make that impossible,” says Candy Crowley, anchor of CNN’s ‘State of the Union.’

“I’ve seen some very exciting things happen in the control room,” says David Westin, ABC News president from 1997 through 2010, “but I never saw anything like that, or even heard about it. I can’t imagine running that kind of risk.”

Ditto, says CNN weekend anchor Don Lemon. “I’ve never seen nor heard of anyone adding audio via cellphone. Some people do narrate on their iPads, but it sounds like crap.”

Rand Morrison, executive producer of  ”CBS News Sunday Morning,” argues that the “huge” difference in audio quality would be “a small price to pay for accuracy.” He describes the ‘Newsroom’ scenario as “far-fetched, but not inconceivable. “

Sue Green of Arizona State’s Cronkite School of Journalism, formerly executive director at New York’s WABC, agrees that it can be done, but it shouldn’t have to be. “If the reporter had done his job correctly in the first place, the fix would not have been needed. That’s what is important here.”

Regardless, Green is a ‘Newsroom’ fan, particularly of executive producer MacKenzie McHale (Emily Mortimer.) “I can relate to having an anchor who doesn’t listen, and the frustrations an EP has to go through in dealing with feelings and egos” of a newsroom.

Speaking of egos, any similarities between McAvoy and the late, great Peter Jennings, David Westin?

Read more

Who’s NOT in the Running for AJA Chief?

Cross off the name of former ABC News president David Westin from the list of possible chief executives for Al Jazeera America, to launch in late August.

Westin says he’s had “some discussions” with the new network , but he doesn’t want the job. “They asked me for advice, for some names,” he tells TVNewser. “I told them what they’re doing is very interesting, very worthwhile, and worth following very closely, but I don’t think that it is for me.”

Work-wise, Westin is doing “about six things” these days, including advising a digital media company, making speeches and pro bono work. As for his next move, “I’m taking my time,” he says. “I’m interested in a fulltime position, but only if it’s the right one. I’m very fortunate that way.”

Al Jazeera America Interviews Finalists For President Role

Al Jazeera America is closing in on finding its president.

Last week, Ehab Al Shihabi (pictured left), the executive director of international operations for Al Jazeera and the senior executive in charge of developing Al Jazeera America, was in New York City, where he interviewed the final candidates for the leadership role, TVNewser has learned.

Those interviews are likely one of the last hurdles before the channel decided who its new chief executive should be. Among the candidates said to be under consideration: former CNN/U.S. president Jon Klein, former CNN managing editor Mark Whitaker and former ABC News chief David Westin. We haven’t heard of any new names surfacing recently, though if you have, drop us a line.

Al Jazeera America is still on track to launch later this year, though an exact launch date is unclear. But that has not stopped the network from staffing up. Among the recent hires: CNN’s Ali Velshi, NBC’s Mike Viqueira and just today, investigative journalist Josh Bernstein.
Read more

As Journalists Become the Story, Will the Rules Change?

Will news organizations’ boycott of the Attorney General’s ‘off-the-record’ background sessions last week change the rules of the game between government sources and media?

On the record: Doubtful, at best.

“It won’t change anything,” says Alex S. Jones, director of Harvard’s Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy. “In Washington, media will continue to deal with administration sources, brokering access and information for pledges of confidentiality.

“It’s a pernicious practice, and very widespread, but it’s how business is done.”

Embattled AG Eric Holder held meetings with top Washington journalists Thursday and Friday to discuss concerns about Department of Justice guidelines for dealing with journalists in investigations of possible security leaks.

The New York Times, CNN, CBS News, NBC News and the Associated Press, among others, passed on Thursday’s meeting because of its off-the-record requirement. At that gathering, however, the DOJ blinked, and news outlets were told they could report on ‘general’ topics of discussion.

Thursday attendees included The Washington Post, Politico, New Yorker, Daily News and The Wall Street Journal. ABC News, the lone network representative last week, met with Holder Friday, along with USA Today and Reuters, which had initially said no to Thursday.

David Westin, ABC News president from 1997 through 2010, agrees with his alma mater’s decision to attend and says it was “smart” of the DOJ to modify its rule.

“News organizations are in the business of reporting news, not keeping it secret,” says Westin. “This happens from time to time. It’s part of a larger issue with the White House itself. It’s part of the normal give-and-take, back-and-forth of the press covering the administration.”

In Westin’s view, Holder’s sessions presented a particular challenge in that the news outlets were also principals in the story. “They were asked not as reporters, but as people being affected by the Justice Department.”

Going further, Harvard’s Jones, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter at the New York Times, says the meetings served as de facto press conferences, regardless of Holder’s intentions, and that Holder was “naïve” to think otherwise.

Read more

Al Jazeera America On The Hunt For Chief

TheWrap’s Sharon Waxman weighs in on Al Jazeera America, which is currently on the lookout for a chief executive to run the new channel, which will take over the channel space of Current TV later this year.

Waxman has a list of names that she says are in consideration, and there are many familiar faces. Current TV chief David Bohrman is said not to be in the running, while Steve Capus is said to be “skeptical.”

One of the leading candidates, according to Waxman, is former CNN/U.S. chief Jonathan Klein:

Klein, who was fired in 2010, has the news experience and is believed to want the job. According to an individual with knowledge of his thinking, Klein believes there is a ripe opportunity for a news network to occupy the niche that CNN used to — in other words, hard-core reporting with serious journalists.

Others on the list include former CNN managing editor Mark Whitaker, former ABC News president David Westin and former CBS News president Andrew Heyward.

Former ABC News Chief David Westin On What TV News ‘Doesn’t Cover’

Former ABC News president David Westin writes in The Huffington Post about CNN’s coverage of the Carnival Triumph disaster, and what it says about the state of TV news coverage.

Westin argued that the Triumph was a story worth covering, and doesn’t fault CNN for giving it more airtime than its competition. Rather he argues, “the problem isn’t with what TV news covers, it’s with what it doesn’t cover. Or doesn’t cover nearly enough.”

Specifically, he says there should be more stories from war zones like Syria, and places often cut off from western society like North Korea and the Congo.

What’s more, it’s a story that can be told well on television. Some TV reporters have shown us this, as did my former colleague, Clarissa Ward, who recently received an Alfred I. Dupont Award for her reporting on Syria for CBS News. In fairness, the other national TV news organizations have reported intermittently from and about Syria. But none has shown the kind of enthusiasm and follow-through that we saw when it came to the cruise to nowhere in the Gulf of Mexico.

As it happens Westin’s former employee at ABC, “Nightline” anchor Terry Moran, is currently reporting from inside Syria, with another report from Damascus set to air tonight.

Who’s In Line to Take Over at NBC News?

In his farewell note to staff, departing NBC News president Steve Capus writes, “I have much I hope to accomplish in the next phase of my career.” So, too, do the men and women vying to replace Capus. Capus says NBCU News group Chairman Pat Fili-Krushel “will be meeting with people throughout the division, and articulating her vision for the NBCUniversal News Group.”

There are strong internal candidates, some of whom, it has been announced by Fili-Krushel, will take on additional duties. Alex Wallace (above, right), who oversees “Today,” and “Rock Center” will now oversee “Nightly News,” where she was once EP. Wallace, who’s been with NBC since 2005, would be the first female news president after nine men have held the job since 1968.

Phil Griffin will likely be considered for the job. As president of MSNBC for the last 4 and a half years he has given the network an identity and boosted ratings, consistently topping CNN — a network his close friend Jeff Zucker now runs. A front office and internal concern would be the progressive programming on the network, often not in line with NBC News standards. Mark Hoffman, president of CNBC, cannot be ruled out. Nor can Capus’ deputy, Antoine Sanfuentes, (above, left) who will run day-to-day in the interim.

External candidates are also plentiful…

Read more

Howard Stringer, Jeff Zucker Among Those Considered For Top CNN Post

CNN is still actively searching for its new worldwide president, who will replace Jim Walton when he steps down at the end of the year. As we have noted before, former “Today” EP and NBC universal CEO Jeff Zucker is one of the names being considered. The New York Post‘s Claire Atkinson has a few more today.

Among them: former CBS News president and Sony CEO Sir Howard Stringer (pictured right), former NBC news president and current WNYC CEO Neal Shapiro and former ABC News chief David Westin.

“We should know something in a month, perhaps before the elections,” said one CNN insider. “Unlike CNN International, we just don’t have someone with a mission.

“We need our Roger Ailes,” the source said, referring to the chief of Fox News, which toppled ratings leader CNN years ago and has since widened its lead.

Time Warner execs are also getting help internally. Sources say HBO boss Richard Plepler is playing a key role in advising Bewkes.

NEXT PAGE >>