Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Anderson Cooper, News on the Move!

CNN has replaced NewsNight with Aaron Brown with Anderson Cooper 360. I miss Aaron already. I like Anderson Cooper, and his show was fine in the 7 pm I’m-not-into-jeopardy-tonight time slot. At 10 pm, I want a serious look at the day’s news with a mature journalist. Sorry Anderson, that’s not you. While it may be pithy to compare the premature graying of your hair to premature ejaculation (in an article titled, Going Gray), it doesn’t create the reliable newsperson image that imbues confidence in your reporting. Why is a self-indulgent article about Anderson Cooper’s gray hair important enough to warrant a link on the homepage of a major journalism outlet? Especially given the fact that this outlet recently cleaned house at its morning show (American Morning) because they wanted to do away with the fluff in their line up in order to provide more hard news.

Anderson’s style of journalism is participatory – he is part of the story. How many times have we seen Anderson, eyes half closed against wind-born debris (hope he has a good ophthalmologist) and hunkered down next to a cement wall as the maelstrom of the latest hurricane threatens to carry him away? I guess this is effective with some viewers, but I find it to be something of an annoying gimmick. The execs seem to be saying, “Let’s get viewers by sending a reporter out to be hammered by Charlie, or Dennis, or Katrina. If it’s too soon to get the story from the soon-to-be-battered residents of the area, then we will be the story.” Viewers get hours of coverage of (not from, but of) soggy correspondents who are hoarse from yelling over the wind. I especially love it when the networks preempt other programs so that we can watch this coverage without interruption.

With frequent trips to remote locations, Anderson Cooper keeps the news on the move. Even in the studio, he keeps the visual stimulation quotient high by having backgrounds that constantly swirl and flash with colorful impressionistic images. This is often accompanied by sound effects and driving music. Again, OK at 7 pm, not so OK at 10 pm.

As I said earlier, I like Anderson Cooper. I just miss the thoughtful look at the news that I could depend on Aaron Brown to provide. It seems like an era in journalism has passed. Peter Jennings is gone, Ted Koppel is about to retire, and now Aaron Brown is gone from CNN. I know that there are still some good journalists out there, but most of them seem to have gone over to the once a week news magazine format. So I guess for the time being I’ll have to choose between MSNBC, Fox, and Anderson Cooper: News on the Move.


Virginia Gal said...

How weird, I was flipping channels last night and noticed Anderson Cooper late last night. So they did make a change, thanks for the update.
I totally agree about the idiotic sending of reporters, particularly Anderson, to hurricane locations etc and telling us that is news. Geez, been there done that, how many times do we have to see a stupid reporter blowing in the wind, it's dumb and not news. I'd rather see a weatherman telling me what might happen, the science of it etc.
As for serious news, sadly I think it is falling by the wayside in America...nowadays its just a lot of screaming right-wing nuts (how does that consitute news again???).
At least Anderson is cute :-)

Merci said...

You're right, Anderson is cute! Rich, too - his mom is Gloria Vanderbilt. I DO like him, and I'll probably end up watching him in the long run. I get so angry when I flip to Fox. Sometimes they reel me in with a little bit of common sense, then WHAM, their bias flares.

Virginia Gal said...

oh yeah Anderson is rich we just have to figure out a way for him to marry either me or adorable Tony from Arkanasas, depending on which team Anderson plays for :-)