Brian Williams Serves As Catalyst
TV News Can Be Better Starting With NBC’s Mistake
In lieu of Brian Williams’ six-month-period walk of shame off NBC’s Nightly News because of allegations against the anchor for over-exaggerating and blatantly lying about news stories, many viewers are wondering what will happen next. Will he be fired for good? Will NBC try to repair his image and get him back as the face of Nightly News? Will Williams stay employed at NBC, but go somewhere more under wraps?
Jeff Jarvis writes in his blog, BuzzMachine: NBC’s opportunity, that the best option for NBC is to change the typical handsome, celebrity anchor altogether. Don’t bring back Williams. Don’t bring on anyone like Williams. Be more focused on the news and not so much about ratings.
I agree this is the best option for the network. NBC has the chance to make history. It can be the first news station, since Walter Cronkite was on air, to focus on the news itself and not who is telling the news. All of the news stations should have been doing this to begin with. Just because they are on TV does not mean it is just some reality show. NBC is just as much of a news outlet as the New York Times and it is time they start acting like one. The fact that Williams became a celebrity is exactly why these embellished stories got out of hand. People wanted to hear him tell a story, no matter what it was. News is not only about telling stories. It’s about giving information.
Who knows if NBC will take Jarvis’ advice, though. The blogger gave a list of ways we will see the network handle the Williams fiasco and here’s a few of what he suggested may happen:
- NBC could reinvent television news and how it is produced to the audience by serving the public with information…not bombarding them with sensationalism.
- NBC could hire Jon Stewart and make a comedy out of the news (Dear Lord, I hope not).
- NBC could hire real journalists who each tell their own stories instead of one anchor.
- NBC could open its network up to average citizens and create a discussion of ideas.
- NBC could report complex stories to us and rely on its online news site to give the full article with necessary information and details.
- NBC could go completely digital and ditch television.
- NBC could give up news altogether.
- NBC could bring Williams back and stay exactly the same.
I think out of all those options (even the comedy one), getting Williams back on the show to make the exact same mistakes would be the worst. Regardless of anything else, television broadcasting in general needs a change.