News Flash, Bonnie M. Anderson

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(Wednesday July 21st 2004)

TV Ethics: Bonnie M. Anderson





From the top of the front page of NEWSBLUES.com

NEWS FLASH

Former CNNer Bonnie Anderson has a new book out, entitled "News Flash," and her ex-employer isn't thrilled. She tells Lost Remote's Steve Safran: "CNN is demanding I turn over all drafts of my book, they want access to my hard drive, they want me to reveal my sources, and even want access to my medical records (for reasons I can't begin to understand.)" "This is a news organization that is using tactics THEY would scream about if the tables were turned. Guess I've hit a nerve. And it's clear they don't want the American public to read what I've written. If they think I'm going to cave, they've picked on the wrong person."

In "News Flash," Anderson chronicles the decline of television journalism into infotainment. She claims television journalism has been co-opted by bottom-line thinking that places more value on a telegenic face than on substantive reporting. She shows how, in the increasingly competitive world of network news, network executives—the real power in broadcast journalism—tend more and more to hail from the entertainment industry. They "cast" reporters based on their ability to "project credibility," consistently valuing good looks and youth over training and experience, and green light coverage only if they can be assured that it will appeal to advertiser-friendly demographics.Safran reports that Anderson is on a book tour, but big news outlets are shying away from booking her. She is a 27-year news veteran who has won seven Emmy Awards and was a Pulitzer Prize finalist.By the way, Anderson is scheduled to sign copies of her book on Wednesday, July 21st from 11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. at the Waldenbooks store at One CNN Center in Atlanta. We expect fur to fly.


Wiley - Global Publishers Since 1807

While talking heads debate the media’s alleged conservative or liberal bias, award-winning journalist Bonnie Anderson knows that the problem with television news isn’t about the Left versus the Right-- it’s all about the money. From illegal hiring practices to ethnocentric coverage to political cheerleading, News Flash exposes how American broadcast conglomerates’ pursuit of the almighty dollar consistently trumps the need for fair and objective reporting. Along the way to the bottomline, the proud tradition of American television journalism has given way to an entertainment-driven industry that’s losing credibility and viewers by the day.
As someone who has worked as both a broadcast reporter and a network executive, Anderson details how the networks have been co-opted by bottom-line thinking that places more value on a telegenic face than on substantive reporting. Network executives—the real power in broadcast journalism—are increasingly employing tactics and strategies from the entertainment industry. They "cast" reporters based on their ability to "project credibility," value youth over training and experience, and often greenlight coverage only if they can be assured that it will appeal to advertiser-friendly demographics.


Wiley-VCH

Short description
In News Flash, Bonnie Anderson (veteran print reporter, broadcast journalist and network executive) chronicles the decline of television journalism into infotainment. Anderson uses hard-hitting argument, investigative reporting, and personal memoir to illustrate how television journalism has been co-opted by bottom-line thinking that places more value on a telegenic face than on substantial reporting.


CNN's 'Roller Coaster' Diversity Woes (EXCERPT FROM NEWS FLASH, BOOK ON CNN)
cablenewser | 7/7/04 | Bonnie Anderson

Posted on 07/07/2004 5:26:36 AM PDT by Brian Mosely

All this week, I am posting excerpts from News Flash, the new book by former CNN VP Bonnie Anderson. Please note that Anderson filed a lawsuit against CNN last year, alleging that the network discriminated against her.

Pages 60-63: Diversity: "CNN As A Case Study" Anderson served as a vice president in charge of hiring and talent development, and describes her experiences during that time period:

From CNN's birth in 1980, it has been primarily a network of white people putting together news for white viewers. With some brief exceptions, it can also be said that people in nearly all top news executive positions have been men. In 1999, then-CNN chairman Tom Johnson made it clear he wanted minorities hired for virtually every on-camera opening. One example of his not-too-subtle pressure was an e-mail to then-Headline News head Bob Furnad, strongly suggesting that an anchor opening at that network be filled by a male or female African American, or a female Hispanic. (The first question that came to mind when I read the e-mail was "And do you want fries with that?" This was the hiring equivalent of going through a fast-food drive-through.) Between Headline News and CNN/USA there were a handful of minority anchors, including journalists such as Bernard Shaw, Sachi Koto, Joie Chen, and Leon Harris. But their numbers were small. And neither network had ever had a Hispanic anchor.
While diversifying the CNN News Group was clearly the moral, ethical, and sound business thing to do, when applied in this fill-as-many-openings-as-possible-with-minorities manner it was also illegal. I was copied on Johnson's e-mail to Furnad, and later during a private conversation with Johnson I told him that while his intent was no doubt to do good, I believed this was a dangerous way to implement diversity...

...Over the next two years, however, the CNN News Group practiced obvious quota-filling based, in part, on Johnson's orders and what was considered to be smart programming. There had never been an Asian or Hispanic correspondent at CNN's Los Angeles bureau, so only Asians and Hispanics were considered for the two openings there and one of each was hired...

Anderson cites several other examples, and points out that at CNN International, only non-Americans were considered for anchor positions. And she sas that Jim Walton created a new vice president position "specificially for an African American." And then:

...In 2001 CNN did a complete turnaround. The top positions at Turner Broadcasting had been handed over to men whose entire careers were in the world of entertainment..And they made it clear they intended to instill the values of the entertainment world -- in terms of programming and hiring (or "casting" as [Garth] Ancier called it) -- into the news networks at CNN. If it works for the entertainment divisions at other networks, they said, they believed it would work with news too. At my first meeting with Ancier, when I was showing him tapes of anchor candidates chosen by Headline News and CNN/USA chiefs out of the pool of candidates I'd shown them, he said, "Why are all these tapes you're showing me of minorities? We don't need any more of these people! We have enough! Bring me others!"


Real Audio from The Paul Harris Show

Bonnie Anderson [7/7/04]: The veteran TV newswoman talks with Paul about her book, "News Flash," in which she says that TV news is no longer about journalism and the truth, and it's not about a liberal or conservative bias -- the only bias in TV news is towards the bottom line. She discusses the hiring practices, the lack of ethics, and the lack of delineation between news and entertainment. Bonnie also explains why she withheld information while covering the Waco siege, and how a top CNN executive was wrong to suppress information about atrocities in Iraq and Cuba just to maintain the network's relationship with their governments. This is the book the network news divisions don't want you to read!


Lost Remote

EXCLUSIVE: 'News Flash' author says CNN demanding notes
In an email to Lost Remote, "News Flash" author and former CNN VP Bonnie Anderson writes: CNN is demanding I turn over all drafts of my book, they want access to my hard drive, they want me to reveal my sources, and even want access to my medical records (for reasons I can't begin to understand.) This is a news organization that is using tactics THEY would scream about if the tables were turned. Guess I've hit a nerve. And it's clear they don't want the American public to read what I've written. If they think I'm going to cave, they've picked on the wrong person. Very interesting - Bonnie is on a book tour right now and tells us, unsurprisingly, big news outlets are shying away from booking her.


The National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ)

The author, former CNN executive Bonnie Anderson, starts her book tour in Miami June 18. The book received praise from Juan González, New York Daily News columnist and president of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists. González wrote: News Flash is more frightening that a Stephen King novel. It meticulously chronicles how our nation?s television news has morphed into brazen show biz, how good journalism fell victim to good looks, how serving public interest gave way to placating corporate greed. In a riveting account by a veteran television reporter and network executive who watched it all happen from the inside, Bonnie Anderson exposes, in addition, the shameful way that network executives routinely give token attention to ethnic, racial and gender diversity yet quietly keep white males in virtual control of the key jobs in television news. All the while, our evening news programs blissfully and arrogantly ignore the information needs of a rapidly changing America.


KGO-AM 810 NewsTalk

Policies and practices of the news media are vital to our national perception, as was on display all this week with the media saturation coverage of President Reagan's state funeral. To get a rare insider's perspective on the news media, Christine is proud to welcome her friend and colleague Bonnie Anderson, author of News Flash : Journalism, Infotainment and the Bottom-Line Business of Broadcast News to talk about her years inside CNN.
News Flash shows how the ascendance of infotainment is ultimately disastrous both for the networks' bottom line and for democracy in America. Anderson instead offers a path that will both ensure the continuing relevance of network news and shore up democracy itself, enabling Americans to make well-informed decisions about how to exercise their rights and responsibilities as citizens.
Bonnie Anderson is a 27-year news veteran who has won seven Emmy Awards and been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. She began her career as a print reporter for the Miami Herald, the Miami News, and Gannett Newspapers, and later spent ten years at NBC and close to ten years at CNN, ultimately becoming a vice president of the CNN News Group. As president of Anderson Media Agency, Inc., she currently provides media training for executives, journalists, and other professionals.


Culture Shocks with Barry Lynn

Today

Lost are the days of Walter Cronkite, when the nation could trust the news. Now, with cable news offering ideological tilts and infotainment replacing information, Bonnie Anderson, author of News Flash, talks to us about how this happened and what we can do about it.

At 2pm Pacific time, listen on KCAA 1050AM in Los Angeles.

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Culture Shocks & Culture War
America is in the middle of a culture war, and the winning side will decide how much freedom we really have as a nation - freedom to believe, freedom to speak, and freedom to maintain our individual identities. Culture Shocks takes a daily look at the outrageous conduct of those trying to undermine Americans' personal liberties. Along with guests from across the ideological, religious, and political spectrum, Culture Shocks examines current and perennial controversies that cut to the core of American values.


health-books-online.net

News Flash: Journalism, Infotainment & the Bottom-Line Business of Broadcast News
Recent reports that CNN is engaging it's battery of lawyers to put the kibosh on Bonnie Anderson's NEWS FLASH prompted me to take a read.Author Anderson even handedly exposes CNN's calculating prejudice for profit, Fox's funnies and MS-NBC's news negligence. She leaves no maleficent media stone unturned. This veteran Journalist tears down the infotainment news wall and lifts the lid on how the networks spoon feed the prurient appetite of the public for rating and the bottom line.