CBS ponders change to storytelling style of news

July 06, 2005|By Matea Gold | Matea Gold,LOS ANGELES TIMES

Faced with a mandate to remake the network's nightly news broadcast, CBS News President Andrew Heyward has commissioned staffers to come up with approaches that would favor more of a storytelling style over the traditional format that generally recaps news of the day.

Heyward told correspondents and producers about the new concept for the CBS Evening News in a meeting held at the network's New York headquarters Thursday and again in a smaller gathering yesterday, a CBS News executive said.

"We're experimenting this summer with new, interesting ideas for how to tell stories in a more interesting and compelling way," said Marcy McGinnis, senior vice president for news gathering, who gave no further details about the meetings.

According to two editorial employees who were at the meetings, Heyward asked the staff to gather additional material as part of their current assignments that can be used to experiment with various styles of storytelling. He plans to present the sample idea to CBS Chairman Leslie Moonves in the coming months, with the hope that details about the revamped nightly news broadcast could be announced by the fall.

Heyward's project is one of the first indications of how CBS might restructure the evening news, which has long lagged behind NBC and ABC in the ratings and has been under even more scrutiny since veteran anchor Dan Rather stepped down in March, after a much-criticized report he did last year on President Bush's National Guard service for 60 Minutes.

Moonves has made it clear that he wants CBS to rethink the approach of the broadcast, which, like other network news programs, has steadily lost viewers in the last decade.

The Los Angeles Times is a Tribune Publishing newspaper.

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