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Ted Koppel Signs Off

I watched the last broadcast of "Nightline" to feature anchor Ted Koppel; it was a tender walk down memory lane as it highlighted his famed interviews with Morrie Schwartz (of Tuesdays with Morrie).

I didn't always agree with Koppel, but I'm going to miss his presence on late-night TV. At his best, he could be a tough interviewer. I'm not really looking forward to the new "Nightline" incarnation, which will feature, among others, Martin Bashir (who conducted that infamous Living with Michael Jackson interview).

But I'll give it a chance.

With Jennings, Brokaw, and Rather gone, and with Koppel leaving the late-night stage as well, I really do feel as if an era of TV news has come to pass. But even if these gents had stuck around, it is clear that the "Old Guard" is old for a reason: It is being challenged every day by the "democratization" of news gathering and commentary on cable, satellite, and the Internet.

The good thing about this ongoing process is that there is far more critical commentary on current events now available for the layperson to read or watch. But it also means that each reader needs to be ever-more diligent in weighing the quality of the ever-growing quantity of material out there.

Comments welcome.

Comments

Hey Chris,

Nightline isn't shown over here in the UK, though I know of Koppel by reputation. However, I have found myself thinking about the implications of some of what you touch on here, namely the increasing availablity of dedicated news channels and internet news sources; and I'm inclined to share your feeling of an era passing.

There have also been a lot of changes to television news recently on this end of the pond, with ITV (the BBC's leading commercial tv rival) arguing successfully for a reduction in the amount of "public service" programming they had to provide - resulting a few years ago in the scrapping of their "World In Action" current affairs/decumentaries series; and more recently the advent of digital terrestrial television leading to a small number of news channels being available without any subscription to satellite or cable. Once the analogue signal is shut off and all terrestrial viewers have digital, assuming the news channels are still on there I'd question whether the other channels even need to bother with "traditional" news bulletins.

Some may find it more of a wrench than others though - both my parents, despite having Sky (digital satellite) and the umpteen news channels available through it, persist in watching the old-style bulletins on the "mainstream" channels.

Matthew, thanks so much for those comments---very interesting, in fact, to compare the US and British trends on all this.