Recently John Friedman at marketwatch.com wrote about ' 12 Broadcasters Who Are Making a Difference, They Create a Buzz and Shape the Public's Opinion'. Only one CNN'er made the list, coming in at number 11.
The print media and Web pundits say television news doesn’t matter any more, right?
You know the argument by heart. Nobody watches. Nobody listens. Nobody cares. Come on — the game is on the Internet nowadays. TV news is the 8-track of the modern media world. Sure, Walter Cronkite was great “back in the day.” But it is the digital age now. Not exactly.
While the advent of the Web has created competitive forces, TV news still has relevance and vitality. No, TV news can’t have the kind of monopoly that the powerful Big 3 — CBS, NBC and ABC — used to boast about decades ago.
I can think of broadcasters who are making a difference. They have a buzz. Viewers notice their work. Other journalists talk about them. Their successes are noted — and, yes, Gawker is likely to take an extra special delight in their flubs.
I’m not saying that any of them is necessarily the best at what he or she does, either. This list goes beyond the Nielsen ratings, critics’ favorites and pedigrees. It is wholly unscientific. It focuses on another kind of aesthetic.
Let me put it this way. If any one of these folks walked through Michael’s restaurant -- the hub in Manhattan for the media industry -- at lunch time, heads would turn. That, more than anything else, is my main criterion for determining who has the buzz.
12) Charles Gasparino, Fox Business Network, and Maria Bartiromo, CNBC (tie) — When Gasparino moved from CNBC to FBN, the blogs acted as if a member of a royal family was changing countries. Bartiromo is the most recognizable face in business TV news. Gasparino and Bartiromo have managed to accomplish something unique: stand out by dint of ability and on-air persona.
11) Anderson Cooper, CNN — Plenty of people are turned off by his shtick of openly empathizing with his story subjects. But he couldn’t care less — and nor should he, or his employer. Cooper has become CNN’s most-recognizable journalist — and he is getting noticed at a time when the network needs all of the good vibes it can get.
10) Erin Burnett, CNBC — Bartiromo may possess the gravitas at CNBC, but Burnett has the bigger buzz.
9) Rachel Maddow, MSNBC — Maddow is the anti-cable star, who disdains preening, shouting and finger-pointing. She is a star because of the rarest commodity in TV news — her intellect.
8) Matt Lauer, NBC — If Tom Cruise had got all red-faced with anyone else at the breakfast hour, would we have made such a big deal out of it? Cruise took on the prince of morning television — and that in itself raised the stakes.
7) The View, ABC — The ladies of the View have elevated the chat show from gossip to news — well, newsy gossip, anyway. What news makers say on the show matters now.
6) Brian Williams, NBC -- Williams is Mr. Consistent, the king of TV news, the heir to Tom Brokaw and, in a sense, a Cronkite of the new century. When Williams took over in 2004 — not so long ago, really — he had to worry about competing against the legacies of such formidable foes as Dan Rather/Bob Schieffer at CBS and Peter Jennings/Charles Gibson at ABC. He has managed to beat back the competition at every turn — no small feat in broadcasting.
5) Oprah Winfrey, ABC — When Oprah exits her show next year, it will rival the moments when such icons of yesteryear as Cronkite and Johnny Carson took their final bows on TV. Nobody will again be as simply beloved as Oprah. Beyond her gargantuan fame and net worth, Oprah’s biggest accomplishment is this: She has reinvented daytime television.
4) Glenn Beck, Fox News Channel — Beck, love or hate him, is reinventing the role of the news anchor as an activist. It’s not a question of whether a news personality can galvanize viewers to action — Beck has shown that he can certainly do just that. Should Beck exercise this power? is it good journalism? Draw your own conclusions and let me know what you decide.
3) Stephen Colbert, Comedy Central — Colbert’s influence as a pundit is on the rise. He is crossing the bridge from entertainer to entertainer/tastemaker. You might say that Colbert is the vice president to Jon Stewart.
2)Katie Couric, CBS — I suppose that Couric would turn more heads at Michael’s than anybody else in the TV news/culture world. That, my friends, is genuine star power. Her career has taken on soap-opera proportions -- and the next installment of “As Katie’s World Turns” will be written when her contract expires at CBS next year. Let the speculation begin (or, more accurately, resume).
1) Jon Stewart, Comedy Central — Everyone else in TV news would kill to have Stewart’s impact. Is there a greater compliment possible? He insists he is an entertainer, before anything else, but inwardly Stewart must positively kvell when Serious People like to call him America’s Most Trusted Name in News.