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Monday, April 28, 2008

In Other News...

Our favorite terrorism expert made a couple of appearances yesterday -- he was scheduled on Late Edition along with New America Foundation President/CEO Steve Coll to discuss the latter's new book about the bin Laden family, but the Taliban attack in Kabul was also discussed:


Professor Bergen also spoke with Rick Sanchez on NewsRoom about the attack:


Elsewhere... did you know that coal can be used to make gasoline? Ali Velshi spoke with the CEO of a South African company that is doing just that. It's not ready for use in the US yet (imagine the regulatory commissions that would have to pass! imagine the fights from Big Oil!) but it is an interesting future possibility. Although we still need to find a safer way to get the coal out of the ground...


And on Friday, CNN founder Ted Turner was at the NYSE and spoke with Susan Lisovicz about an anti-malaria campaign supported by the United Nations Foundation, "Nothing But Nets," the rising price of food and oil around the world, and ways to conserve our resources:


Last night, the AP ran a story about the next venture of former CNN anchor Aaron Brown:
Ex-CNN anchor Aaron Brown returns to TV on PBS' `Wide Angle'
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Aaron Brown, the former CNN anchor who found cable TV an awkward fit, is joining PBS' "Wide Angle" series and ending his on-air absence of more than two years.
"If I was going to do broadcast journalism again, be a public person again ... then it had to be something different from what I'd done," Brown told The Associated Press. "You can count on one hand how many gigs there are like this."
Anchoring "Wide Angle," a weekly public affairs series with a global focus, offers the chance "to work in an environment where people just think about making good TV and good journalism," Brown said.
"By the end (of an episode), you understand the world you live in and how it's connected to you," he said Saturday.
Brown, 59, who left CNN in November 2005 during a shake-up that gave his time slot to rising star Anderson Cooper, said he was contractually barred from working in TV until last June. He's been teaching at Arizona State University as its first Walter Cronkite Professor of Journalism.
"Wide Angle" begins its seventh season July 1. PBS planned to announce Brown's hiring on Monday.
Brown has distinguished himself as an anchor by avoiding a "booming voice-of-God" approach and instead delivering news as a storyteller, said Stephen Segaller, director of national production at Thirteen/WNET, the New York station that produces "Wide Angle."
Besides his distinctive on-camera demeanor, Brown has "a good sense of what international stories will mean to American audiences and how the stories will play," Segaller said.
Brown contrasted the work he expects to do at PBS with how cable television operated at times during his tenure.
"I don't want to get into the business of indicting cable TV, but some of what went on was just television, not journalism," he said. Expanding on his comments, he said that cable TV is a tough business that can be pushed into focusing on sensational, "tabloidy stories."
"I understand why they do it. It's a very ratings-driven environment," Brown said.
Before joining CNN, Brown worked at ABC as a reporter on programs including "World News Tonight with Peter Jennings" and "Nightline" and as anchor of "World News Tonight Saturday" and "World News Now."
His first day at CNN was Sept. 11, 2001, and his heartfelt anchoring from a rooftop in Manhattan immediately thrust him into a major role there. But expectations that he would become the face of the network didn't pan out.
Brown's quirky, cerebral 10 p.m. newscast had a following with fans who enjoyed his commentaries and "The Whip," a quick review of top international stories, but he lost ratings ground to Greta Van Susteren of Fox News Channel.
CNN chose to showcase its hotter personality, Cooper, whose profile had grown in 2005 and peaked during Hurricane Katrina coverage. Brown's time slot went to Cooper and Brown left by what CNN termed mutual agreement.
Reflecting on his time at the channel, Brown said he became "oddly emblematic" of what he termed an "anti-tabloid guy."
"I didn't practice the `high church' of journalism all the time, but I think there was some sense that I was uncomfortable in that other, tabloidy world, and I think viewers knew that and I couldn't pull it off," he said.
Besides serving as anchor of "Wide Angle" and helping prepare episodes for broadcast, Brown plans to do field work on a story, possibly involving Venezuela or the Middle East. Topics to be covered this season include the crisis in the Sudan and the changing role of Japan's military.

Finally... I've already bemoaned the decision to stop devoting one single hour per week to the wars we are currently fighting in order to give us yet another hour of politics. At the same time, we all love Tom Foreman's quirky sense of humor. But can anyone explain to me why the heck Tom was covering celebri-gossip on his show this week? Uh....?


That's it for today. See you next week!

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BookAsylum said...

I am so glad to see that Aaron Brown is coming back to television!

I think we need to continue griping about relegating TWAW to TWIP. After watching TWAW each week, I felt like I had a better idea of what was going on in the world as far as war/ conflicts & there isn't another program on CNN that consistently fills that void.

You have to admit, Tom Foreman did his best to tie that celeb stuff back into politics. It was a stretch, but he did it.

MWmcFan said...

Cyn, you should be on the CNN payroll! With all your informative posts w clips I don’t need to watch CNN because you summarize the stories I am interested in. I just can’t hang in there with all their current campaign coverage and not enough of world news stories. Thanks again.