For all the concerns about TV news these days–from the economy to ethics–there’s plenty of evidence that it’s come a long way. That’s one of the many things that struck me as I toured the Newseum for the second time recently, and watched this video:
The Camel News Caravan debuted on NBC in 1949 and ran until 1956. Anchored by John Cameron Swayze, it was the top news program of its day. Under Camel’s sponsorship agreement, NBC News couldn’t show “No Smoking” signs or shots of cigars. “What Camel wanted Camel got,” the late NBC News President Reuven Frank wrote in his book, “Out of Thin Air.” Nobody said boo about that at the time. And the graphics were state of the art.
Yes, advertisers are making inroads in news again. And yes, sometimes today’s graphics are over the top. But television news really is better than it used to be, back when all of the stories were reported by white guys in ties.