NBC News

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NBC News
NBC News 2013 logo.png
Division of: National Broadcasting Company
Key people: Steve Burke,
President & CEO
NBCUniversal
Deborah Turness, President, NBC News [1]
Pat Fili-Krushel,
Chairman of NBCUniversal News Group
Brian Williams,
Managing Editor and anchor of NBC Nightly News
Founded: February 21, 1940
Headquarters: Studio 3A/B, NBC News News Room
GE Building 30 Rockefeller Center
Midtown Manhattan, Manhattan, New York City, New York, U.S.
Major Bureaus: International Headquarters,
Studio 3A/B, NBC News News Room
GE Building 30 Rockefeller Center
Midtown Manhattan, Manhattan, New York City, New York, U.S.

West Coast Headquarters,
Burbank, California, U.S.
Governmental Affairs Headquarters,
Washington, D.C., U.S.
European Headquarters
London, UK
Asia Pacific Headquarters
Singapore
Hong Kong
Area served: Worldwide
Broadcast programs: Dateline NBC
Early Today
Meet the Press
NBC Nightly News
Today
Weekend Today
MSNBC
Parent: NBCUniversal
Website: NBCNews.com
NBC News logo, 1959–1972.

NBC News is the news division of the American broadcast network NBC. The division operates under NBCUniversal News Group, a subsidiary of NBCUniversal. The group's various operations report to the president of NBC News, Deborah Turness.[1]

NBC News aired the first news program in American broadcast television history on February 21, 1940. The group's broadcasts are produced and aired from the GE Building in Rockefeller Center, NBC's headquarters in New York.

The division currently presides over America's #1-rated newscast,[2] NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams and the longest-running television series in American history, Meet the Press with Chuck Todd. NBC News also offers 70 years of rare historic footage[3] from the NBCUniversal Archives online.

History[edit]

Caravan era[edit]

The first American television newscast in history was made by NBC News on February 21, 1940, anchored by Lowell Thomas and airing weeknights at 6:45 p.m.[4] In June 1940, NBC, through its flagship station in New York City, W2XBS (renamed commercial WNBT in 1941, now WNBC) operating on channel one, televised 30¼ hours of coverage of the Republican National Convention live and direct from Philadelphia. The station used a series of relays from Philadelphia to New York and on to upper New York State, for rebroadcast on W2XB in Schenectady (now WRGB), making this among the first "network" programs of NBC Television. Due to wartime restrictions, there were no live telecasts of the 1944 conventions, although films of the events were reportedly shown over WNBT the next day.

In 1948, NBC teamed up with Life magazine to provide election night coverage of President Harry S. Truman's surprising victory over New York governor Thomas E. Dewey. The television audience was small, but NBC's share in New York was double that of any other outlet.[5] The following year, the Camel News Caravan, anchored by John Cameron Swayze, debuted on NBC. Lacking the graphics and technology of later years, it nonetheless contained many of the elements of modern newscasts.[6] NBC hired its own film crews and in the program's early years, it dominated CBS's competing program, which did not hire its own film crews until 1953.[6] (by contrast, CBS spent lavishly on Edward R. Murrow's weekly series, See It Now[6]). In 1950, David Brinkley began serving as the program's Washington correspondent, but attracted little attention outside the network until paired with Chet Huntley in 1956.[7] In 1955, the Camel News Caravan fell behind CBS's Douglas Edwards with the News, and Swayze lost the already tepid support of NBC executives.[6] The following year, NBC replaced the program with the Huntley-Brinkley Report.

Beginning in 1951, NBC News was managed by director of news Bill McAndrew, who reported to vice president of news and public affairs J. Davidson Taylor.[8]

Huntley-Brinkley era[edit]

NBC News had close to 700 correspondents and cameramen in 1961 who were stationed throughout the world. Film was received in the United States by plane or by the jointly operated NBC-BBC transatlantic film cable.

As television assumed an increasingly prominent role in American family life in the late 1950s, NBC News became television's "champion of news coverage."[9] NBC president Robert Kintner believed that a dominant NBC News could lift his entire network to the top, and he provided the news division with ample amounts of both financial resources and air time.[6] In 1956, the network paired anchors Chet Huntley and David Brinkley, and the two went on to acquire great celebrity.[7] They were supported by a strong bench of reporters that over time included John Chancellor, Frank McGee, Edwin Newman, Sander Vanocur, Nancy Dickerson, Tom Pettit, and Ray Scherer.

Created by producer Reuven Frank, NBC's Huntley-Brinkley Report, anchored by the team of Chet Huntley in New York and David Brinkley in Washington, began in 1956 and soon set the standard for evening news programs. During much of its 14-year run, it exceeded the viewership levels attained by its CBS News competition, anchored initially by Douglas Edwards and, beginning in 1962, by Walter Cronkite.

NBC stood out for its reporting on the civil rights movement. NBC's vice president of news and public affairs, J. Davidson Taylor, was a Southerner who understood the importance of the story, and he and producer Reuven Frank were determined that NBC would lead television's coverage of it.[10] In 1955, NBC provided national coverage of the young Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s leadership of the bus boycott in Montgomery, Alabama, airing reports from Frank McGee, then news director of NBC's Montgomery affiliate WSFA-TV, and soon to join the network.[11] A year later, John Chancellor's coverage of the admission of black students to Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas provided the first occasion when the signature reporter on a story came from television rather than print[11] and prompted a prominent U.S. senator to observe later, "When I think of Little Rock, I think of John Chancellor."[8] Other reporters who covered the movement for the network included Sander Vanocur, Herbert Kaplow, Charles Quinn, and Richard Valeriani.[10] Valeriani suffered a serious head injury when hit with an ax handle at a demonstration in Marion, Alabama in 1965.[12]

While CBS's Walter Cronkite's fascination with space eventually won the anchorman viewers, NBC, with the work of correspondents such as Frank McGee, Roy Neal, Jay Barbree, and Peter Hackes, also distinguished itself in the coverage of American manned space missions in the Project Mercury, Project Gemini, and Project Apollo programs. In an era when space missions rated continuous coverage, NBC configured its largest studio, Studio 8H, for space coverage. It utilized models and mockups of rockets and spacecraft, maps of the earth and moon to show orbital trackage, and stages on which animated figures created by puppeteer Bil Baird were used to depict movements of astronauts before on-board spacecraft television cameras were feasible (Studio 8H had been home to the NBC Symphony Orchestra led by Arturo Toscanini and is now the home of the long-running NBC show Saturday Night Live). NBC's coverage of the first moon landing in 1969 earned the network an Emmy Award.[13]

In the late 1950s, Kintner reorganized the chain of command at the network, making Bill McAndrew president of NBC News, reporting directly to Kintner.[8] McAndrew served in that position until his death in 1968.[8] McAndrew was succeeded by his executive vice president, producer Reuven Frank, who held the position until 1973.[8]

On November 22, 1963, NBC broke into various programming throughout its affiliate stations at 1:45 p.m. to announce that President John F. Kennedy had been shot in Dallas, Texas. Eight minutes later, at 1:53:12 p.m., NBC broke into programming with a network bumper slide and Chet Huntley, Bill Ryan and Frank McGee informing the viewers what was going on as it happened; but since a camera was not in service, the reports were audio only. However, NBC did not begin broadcasting over the air until 1:57 p.m. ET. About 40 minutes later, after word came that JFK was pronounced dead, NBC suspended regular programming for four days and carried 71 hours of uninterrupted news coverage of the assassination and the funeral of the president—including the only live broadcast of the fatal shooting of Kennedy's assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, by Jack Ruby as Oswald was being led in handcuffs by law-enforcement officials through the basement of Dallas Police Headquarters.[14]

NBC Nightly News era[edit]

NBC's ratings lead began to slip toward the end of the 1960s and fell sharply when Chet Huntley retired in 1970 (Huntley died of cancer in 1974). The loss of Huntley, along with a reluctance by RCA to fund NBC News at a similar level as CBS was funding its news division, left NBC News in the doldrums. NBC's primary news show gained its present title, NBC Nightly News, on August 3, 1970.

The network tried a platoon of anchors (Brinkley, McGee, and John Chancellor) during the early months of Nightly News. Despite the efforts of the network's eventual lead anchor, the articulate, even-toned Chancellor, and an occasional first-place finish in the Nielsens, Nightly News in the 1970s was primarily a strong second.[6] By the end of the decade, NBC had to contend not only with a powerful CBS but also a surging ABC, led by Roone Arledge. Tom Brokaw became sole anchor in 1983, after co-anchoring with Roger Mudd for a year, and began leading NBC's efforts. In 1986 and 1987, NBC won the top spot in the Nielsens for the first time in years,[15] only to fall back when Nielsen's ratings methodology changed. In late 1996, Nightly News again moved into first place,[16] a spot it has held onto in most of the succeeding years. The current anchor of Nightly News, Brian Williams, assumed primary anchor duties when Brokaw retired in December 2004.[citation needed]

In 1993, Dateline NBC broadcast an investigative report about the safety of General Motors (GM) trucks. GM discovered the "actual footage" utilized in the broadcast had been rigged by the inclusion of explosive incendiaries attached to the gas tanks and the use of improper sealants for those tanks. GM subsequently filed an anti-defamation lawsuit against NBC, which publicly admitted the results of the tests were rigged and settled the lawsuit with GM on the very same day.[17] As a result of the controversy, several Dateline producers were fired and Michael Gartner was forced out as NBC News president.[citation needed]

Recent events[edit]

Further information: Virginia Tech massacre

On April 16, 2007, Cho Seung-hui, gunman in the Virginia Tech massacre, took time between the two shooting episodes to prepare and mail a large multimedia package to NBC News in New York City containing messages about his anger at the wealthy and alluding to the slaughter that was about to take place. Although the package was sent overnight mail, it was not received until 11 a.m. on April 18 because of Cho's confusion over the zip code of NBC's headquarters at 30 Rockefeller Plaza. The package contained a DVD showing video clips of Cho speaking and more than two dozen photos of Cho, including 11 of him thrusting pistols at the camera. A postal worker delivering the parcel to the network's Rockefeller Center offices recognized the sender and alerted NBC security personnel. They immediately reported the package to the FBI. Meanwhile, NBC made copies of the contents and aired carefully edited pieces on its evening news and cable programs. Snippets from the package, including still photos, videos and voice narration, were also made available to competing news outlets who agreed to credit the network as the source. Then-NBC News president Steve Capus defended use of the material, but the frequency of its broadcast was cut dramatically.

On October 22, 2007, Nightly News moved into its new high definition studios, at Studio 3C at NBC Studios in 30 Rockefeller Plaza in New York City. The network's 24-hour cable network, MSNBC, joined the network in New York on that day as well. The new studios/headquarters for NBC News and MSNBC are now located in one area.[citation needed]

NBC Nightly News broadcast, March 2008

On March 27, 2012, NBC News broadcast an edited segment from a 911 call placed by George Zimmerman at the time of the killing of Trayvon Martin. The editing led a media watchdog organization to accuse NBC News of engaging in "an all-out falsehood." While NBC News initially declined to comment,[18] the news agency did issue an apology to viewers.[19] The Washington Post called the statement "skimpy on the details on just how the mistake unfolded."[20]/?/

During the financial crisis of 2007–2008, NBC News was urged to save $500 million by NBC Universal. On that occasion, NBC News laid off several of its in-house reporters such as Kevin Corke, Jeannie Ohm and Don Teague. This was the largest layoff in NBC News history. After the sudden death of the influential moderator Tim Russert of Meet the Press in June 2008, Tom Brokaw took over as an interim host; and on December 14, 2008, David Gregory has become the new moderator of that show.[citation needed]

By 2009, NBC had established leadership in network news, airing the highest-rated morning, evening, and Sunday interview news programs.[21] Its ability to share costs with MSNBC and share in the cable network's advertising and subscriber revenue made it far more profitable than its network rivals.[22]

Presidents[edit]

Nine men have served as president of NBC News during its history: Reuven Frank (1968–1973, 1981–1985), Richard Wald (1973–1977), Lester M. Crystal (1977–1979), William J. Small (1979–1981), Lawrence Grossman (1985–1988), Michael Gartner (1988–1993), Andrew Lack (1993–2001), Neal Shapiro (2001–2005), and Steve Capus (2005–March 5, 2013). In August 2013, Deborah Turness assumed the role as president of NBC News, becoming the first woman to head the division.[1]

Current programming[edit]

NBC News Washington Bureau

Former programming[edit]

Syndicated productions[edit]

Television.svg This film, television or video-related list is incomplete; you can help by expanding it with reliably sourced additions.

Other productions[edit]

NBC News provides content for the Internet, as well as cable-only news networks CNBC and MSNBC.

NBC News Radio[edit]

NBC News Radio broadcasts radio news headlines at the top of the hour, which have been distributed since 2004 by Westwood One, an independent radio network and syndicator.[23]

It is a revival of the original NBC Radio Network, which Westwood One purchased in 1987 as General Electric, which acquired NBC's parent company RCA, divested most properties not pertaining to the NBC television network. NBC Radio's news operation would be merged into the Mutual Broadcasting System, then into Westwood One's then-corporate sibling CBS Radio, and eventually assimilated into the syndicator itself. Initially just a service limited to one-hour reports from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. ET, on March 5, 2012, Dial Global – who had acquired Westwood One – announced NBC News Radio would expand to a full-time 24-hour radio news network, replacing CNN Radio (that itself replaced both NBC Radio and Mutual in 1999).

NBC reporters and correspondents also contribute to the Dial Global-produced, and "NBC Radio"-branded, newsmagazine First Light with Dirk Van, the lone surviving program from the original NBC Radio Network (Van is also an anchor for NBC News Radio).

NBC News Overnight/Nightside[edit]

In 1982, NBC News began production on NBC News Overnight with anchors Linda Ellerbee, Lloyd Dobyns, and Bill Schechner. That program was cancelled in December 1983, but in 1991, NBC News launched another overnight news show called NBC Nightside. During its run, the show's anchors included Sara James,[24] Bruce Hall, Antonio Mora, Tom Miller, Campbell Brown, Kim Hindrew, Tom Donavan, and Tonya Strong.

NBC Nightside lasted until 1998 and was replaced by "NBC All Night", composed of reruns of The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and Late Night with Conan O'Brien, and later from January 1, 2007 to September 23, 2011, Poker After Dark. NBC now airs same day repeats of the fourth hour of Today and CNBC's Mad Money on weekdays, LXTV programs on early Sunday mornings, and Meet the Press and Dateline encores on early Monday mornings.

NBC NewsChannel[edit]

NBC NewsChannel is a news video and report feed service, similar to a wire service, providing pre-produced international, national and regional stories some with fronting reporters customized for NBC network affiliates. It is based in Charlotte, North Carolina and is connected to the studios of Charlotte NBC affiliate WCNC-TV. NBC NewsChannel also served as the production base of NBC Nightside.

Noted coverage[edit]

NBC News got the first American news interviews from two Russian presidents (Vladimir Putin, Mikhail Gorbachev), and Brokaw was the only American television news correspondent to witness the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.[25]

Personnel[edit]

Current[edit]

Former staff[edit]

† (deceased)

International broadcasts[edit]

MSNBC is not shown outside the Americas on a channel in its own right. However, both NBC News and MSNBC are shown for a few hours a day on Orbit News in Europe, Africa and the Middle East. Orbit News is network of three 24-hour satellite and cable channels offering exclusively American news programming from ABC, NBC, PBS, and MSNBC to U.S. expatriates and other viewers abroad, primarily geared towards an audience in the Arab countries. The network is available on digital satellite and cable in Europe, Middle East and North Africa, however, cable operators in Europe are currently unable to carry the channels due to unsolved rights issues.

MSNBC is also shown occasionally on sister network CNBC Europe during breaking news, and Nightly News and Meet the Press are also shown regularly. NBC Nightly News is shown in the Philippines on 9TV (formerly Talktv and Solar News Channel), while Early Today was officially dropped from the network in December 2013, but they replaced by the repeats of Inside Edition. NBC Nightly News, along with the full program lineup of NBC, is carried by affiliate VSB-TV in Bermuda.

The Seven Network in Australia has close ties with NBC and has used a majority of the network's imaging and slogans since the 1970s. Seven News has featured The Mission as its news theme since the mid-1980s. Local newscasts were named Seven Nightly News from the mid-1980s until around 2000. NBC and Seven will often share news recourses between the two countries. NBC News has been known to use Seven News reporters for live reports on a developing news story in Australia. Seven News will sometimes also incorporate an NBC News report into its national bulletins. Today, Weekend Today and Meet The Press are all broadcast on the Seven Network during the early morning hours from 3-5 a.m., just before Seven's own morning show Sunrise.

In Singapore, NBC Nightly News is broadcast live on MediaCorp Channel 5 and MediaCorp HD5 daily at 6:00 a.m. In Hong Kong, NBC Nightly News is aired on TVB Pearl daily at 6:30 a.m. Meanwhile, in Indonesia, Nightly News is broadcast live on RCTI daily at 05:30–6:00 a.m.

In the United Kingdom, the ITV network, used to air segments from NBC Nightly News on their ITV News at 5:30 morning newscast before it was cancelled in December 2012. NBC News share facilities and crew in the UK with ITN, who is the news provider for ITV.

Bureaus[edit]

Major bureaus[edit]

Minor bureaus (within the United States)[edit]

1 All NBC owned-and-operated stations are considered NBC News bureaus, including those not listed here.

Foreign bureaus (NBC News/CNBC/MSNBC)[edit]

Theme music[edit]

Most of NBC's news television programs use "The Mission" by John Williams as their theme. The composition was first used by NBC in 1985 and was updated in 2004.[26]

Units[edit]

  • NBC News Digital
  • NBC News Radio
  • Peacock Productions
  • NBC Learn
  • NBCUniversal Archives
  • NBC Publishing
  • NBC NewsChannel[27]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c New NBC News President Deborah Turness: ‘My first job is to listen’, TVNewser, August 5, 2013.
  2. ^ Masonhall, Erika (January 23, 2013). ""NBC NIGHTLY NEWS" RATINGS WIN". Retrieved February 22, 2013. 
  3. ^ "News Footage & Stock Video Footage". NBCUniversal Archives. Retrieved April 22, 2013. 
  4. ^ Thomas, Lowell (1977). So Long Until Tomorrow. New York: Wm. Morrow and Co. pp. 17–19. ISBN 0-688-03236-2. 
  5. ^ "New York City Hooper Ratings for Election Night 1948" TVObscurities.com.
  6. ^ a b c d e f Matusow, Barbara (1983). The Evening Stars: The Making of the Network News Anchor. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company. 
  7. ^ a b Whitworth, William (August 3, 1968). "An Accident of Casting". The New Yorker. 
  8. ^ a b c d e Frank, Reuven (1991). Out of Thin Air: The Brief Wonderful Life of Network News. New York: Simon & Schuster. 
  9. ^ Manchester, William (1967). The Death of a President. New York: Harper & Row. p. 190. 
  10. ^ a b Roberts, Gene; Klibanoff, Hank (2006). The Race Beat: The Press, the Civil Rights Struggle, and the Awakening of a Nation. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. p. 155. 
  11. ^ a b Halberstam, David (1993). The Fifties. New York: Villard Books. 
  12. ^ Raines, Howell (1971). My Soul Is Rested: Movement Days in the Deep South Remembered. New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons. pp. 371–72. 
  13. ^ Barbree, Jay (July 20, 2004). "The Moments before the Eagle Landed". MSNBC.com. 
  14. ^ NBC News (1966). There Was a President. New York: Random House. 
  15. ^ Gerard, Jeremy (November 29, 1989). "ABC Surpasses CBS in Evening News Ratings". The New York Times. 
  16. ^ "CBS tops Nielsens 2nd week in row". SFGate.com (San Francisco Examiner). March 12, 1997. 
  17. ^ Richard L. Abel (May 6, 1998). Speaking Respect, Respecting Speech. University of Chicago Press. p. 191. 
  18. ^ Paul Bond, "NBC News Accused of Editing 911 Call in Trayvon Martin Controversy (Video)," http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/trayvon-martin-nbc-news-editing-911-call-306359
  19. ^ Wemple, Erik (April 4, 2012). "NBC issues apology on Zimmerman tape screw-up". The Washington Post. 
  20. ^ Id.
  21. ^ Carter, Bill; Stelter, Brian (2009-03-08). "A Matrix of News Winners Buoys NBC". New York Times. 
  22. ^ Stelter, Brian; Carter, Bill (February 28, 2010). "Network News at a Crossroads". New York Times. p. B1. 
  23. ^ Listen to the latest headlines by clicking here (subject to availability).
  24. ^ "NBC to launch overnight newscast". Knight Ridder News Service (The Baltimore Sun). November 2, 1991. Retrieved January 28, 2014. 
  25. ^ Shales, Tom (November 10, 1989). "The Day the Wall Cracked; Brokaw's Live Broadcast Tops Networks' Berlin Coverage". Washington Post. 
  26. ^ Submitted by NBC Universal (August 30, 2006). "SoundtrackNet: News: Legendary Composer John Williams Composes New "NBC Sunday Night Football" Theme". Soundtrack.net. Retrieved November 27, 2011. 
  27. ^ "NBC News". nbcuni.com. NBCUniversal. Retrieved 5 October 2012. 

External links[edit]