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Salant, CBS, And The Battle For The Soul Of Broadcast Journalism: The Memoirs Of Richard S. Salant Paperback – October 15, 1999

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

During Salant's tenures as president of CBS News (1961-1963 and 1966-1979), in an era when Americans increasingly came to depend on TV news for a better understanding of their turbulent times, CBS ruled TV journalism. The Evening News, anchored by Walter Cronkite, was expanded from 15 minutes to 30 minutes, becoming in 1967 the top-rated news program in the nation. Although Salant died in 1993, the Buzenbergs have transformed his 3000-page manuscript into a crisply written, absorbing memoir. Salant was a voracious memo writer, and his exacting but congenial memos, interspersed throughout, not only help bring him to life but demonstrate what he considered news. In addition to providing a behind-the-scenes account of how CBS handled coverage of such momentous events as the Vietnam War and Watergate, the book delves into the politics of what was still William Paley's CBS. Although Paley was a staunch supporter of the news division, other executives were not, and Salant found himself battling for air time and defending the budget of the money-losing unit. Salant does not disparage his adversaries, but writes with the fairness and balance that he wanted to make the signature style of his programming. What resonates most powerfully here is his passion for quality TV journalism.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Susan Buzenberg is a professional freelance editor in the Washington, D.C., area. Bill Buzenberg is former vice president of news at National Public Radio, a position he held from 1990 to 1997.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 364 pages
  • Publisher: Basic Books; New Ed edition (October 15, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0813337038
  • ISBN-13: 978-0813337036
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,765,663 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Dave Mock on August 31, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This collection of the late Richard Salant's letters and memoirs shows that the former CBS News president -- with his strong sense of justice, fairness and intelligence -- deserves to be just as much a legend to the public as the men and women who worked for him.
Throughout the Vietnam and Watergate era of the 60s and 70s, the lawyer-turned-news executive was credited with standing up for his news people in conflicts with the government and business interests. In this volume of memoirs, organized very well by Susan and Bill Buzenberg, readers also see that he was just as tough with his own staff when it came to issues of balance and accuracy.
Readers will also be intrigued by Salant's explanation of why he approved "60 Minutes" several years after it was proposed; his written battle of wits with Charles Crutchfield, the conservative chief executive of a CBS Television affiliate;
why he didn't like music on CBS news shows; and why he felt himself a stranger in strange lands during his post-CBS years at NBC and the National News Council.
This book will be enjoyed by those interested in the issues behind newsgathering. And even though the business has changed markedly (to many, for the worse) since Salant's days, the Salant memoirs show the intelligence, thought and love of humanity he brought to his work -- qualities that are always needed in the exercise of news judgement.
It's been a quarter century after Dick Salant's left the stage of broadcast journalism. But thanks to this excellent book, his wisdom and intellect can benefit generations of young journalists.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By peter.herford@zg.tel.hr on October 22, 1998
Format: Hardcover
The Buzenbergs have captured the essence of a unique man of principle. Using Salant's voluminous archives, this book is a fascinating trip through an era that established high standards in broadcast journalism. The book raises issues and questions which are at the heart of today's journalism. Household names Cronkite, Rather, Brokaw, Jennings, Sevareid are the characters in the tale of how the premiere broadcast news organization came to be - what and who held it together - and the inside view of a corporation struggling with its identity. The players were giants in a land that has more recently turned into a universe of pygmies. You don't have to be a news junkie to enjoy and learn from this book - you just have to ask yourself: "if I see one more Monica Lewinsky story"...I won't take it anymore! Good reading.
Peter Herford
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer Grunwald on February 5, 2002
Format: Paperback
I had to read this book for a Media Ethics class and I must say that it was one of my favourite books! Salant teaches readers about the workings of a newsroom and the struggle to do what is right with the news through funny annecdotes and interesting stories. Any aspiring journalist MUST read this, and anyone just looking for a good biography would do well to read this. (Actually, EVERYONE should read this as journalism and the media are a strong presence in all our lives, and this is a fun way to learn more about it.)
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