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TV News Anchors and Journalistic Tradition

How Journalists Adapt to Technology

Kimberly Meltzer

Through the lens of TV news anchors, this book examines the impact that television news has had on traditional journalistic standards and practices. While TV news anchors boost the power, adulation, and authority of journalism in general, internally, the journalistic community feels that anchors undermine many key journalistic values. This book provides a historical overview of the impact they have had on American journalism, uncovering the changing values, codes of behavior, and boundaries of the journalistic community. In doing so, it reveals that challenges to journalistic standards provide an opportunity to engage in debate that is central to maintaining journalism’s identity, and demonstrate the ability of the community to self-regulate. The result is that news anchors are kept in check by the community, and the community is prompted to reexamine itself and evolve. The book’s findings also offer suggestions for thinking about how journalists are dealing with the latest technological challenges posed by the internet and mobile technology.


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Preface ix


Preface he merger of television and journalism is a struggle that has raged for over five decades between the journalistic community and its traditional standards, practices and values and the novel elements that television has introduced into journalistic practice. At present, this struggle rests in a stalemate. Neither television journalists and executives nor the larger journalistic community of which they are a part will concede their ground. This book traces the parameters of that struggle as seen through the lens of TV anchors over the half a century that it has been waged. It argues that while many of the features of television journalism are the cause of resentment and disapproval by the greater journalistic community, the positive aspects of these features and the opportunities they afford for journalistic authority and attention are cause for them to be tolerated by the larger community. Through this arrangement, the relationship between TV journalism and the journalistic community, while tense, is sustained. If we believe that journalism is instrumental in a democracy which values an informed citizenry, diversity of opinions, and checks on leaders and power, then it follows that it is important to know how this essential institution functions. In the United States, the processes which govern the development and maintenance of journalistic norms and practices are largely internal. It is only by peering into this internal realm that we can fully understand the inner workings of the field and its practitioners, and how they are influenced by, and themselves influence, outside...

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