• Every other Tuesday at 10 pm starting Tuesday, September 24, 1968• Introduced by Harry Reasoner and Mike Wallace• “It’s a kind of a magazine for television which means it has the flexibility and diversity of a magazine adapted to broadcast journalism”• Before 60 Minutes there was no line between news and entertainment• First segment was behind the scenes of both Nixon running against Humphrey for president
• Aristo stopwatch was the credits• Low ratings for 7 years• Critics loved 60 Minutes• Awards were given• 1975: Moved to Sunday night at 7 pm• Audience grew• 1977: In the Top 20 programs• 1978: Reached the Top 10• 1980: Number one program• 23 seasons on the Top 10 list
• Executive producer until age 81 in 2004 when Jeffrey Fager took over• Fired from the CBS Evening News• First person to have the idea of a news magazine for television• Attention span was 15 minutes• Arranged news by the words “tell me a story”
• Had a “short-fuse” – Fired everyone at least once• Legacy was the most watched and most profitable news broadcast in the history of television• Won eight Emmy Awards and many others• Died of Pancreatic cancer at age 86
• Journalism or Broadway?• Hewitt saw behind the scenes of early television broadcasting and loved it• 60 Minutes changed relationships with producers
Clockwise from left: Morley Safer, Ed Bradley, SteveKroft, Lesley Stahl, Andy Rooney, Mike Wallace and DonHewitt.
• May 9, 1918: Born Myron Leon Wallace in Brookline, Massachusetts• 1962: Son Peter died in a hiking accident in Greece – Devoted his career to journalism in Peter’s honor• Driven by the truth• Pit-bull reporter• Stock phrases – “Come on” to goad on whoever he was interviewing – “Forgive me” before a really offensive question
• “Ambush” interview – Used footage obtained by hidden cameras to confront scam artists• Interrogation instead of interview• Meticulous research• Won 21 Emmy Awards• Stepped down in 2009 but stayed on as “correspondent emeritus”• Last interview was with Roger Clemens on January 6, 2008• Died April 7, 2012 age 93
• Facts and figures of the war• Did not really get to hear what actual soldiers had to say• Mike Wallace interviewed soldiers going to and coming back from Vietnam• Talked to draftees asked their opinion on the war – “Either go over there or go to jail” – Some straight out of college, some had been there 2 or 3 times already• Some wouldn’t shoot a gun unless in self defense
• Took a poll asking “Are you in favor or are you against U. S. participation in the War?”• Showed that going to Vietnam 120 in favor; 78 against; a few asleep or undecided• Many soldiers’ opinions changed once they saw the Vietnamese needed help• Some soldiers still did not want to go back to Vietnam• Coming back from Vietnam 148 in favor;46 against; 14 sleeping or didn’t answer
• 12 years after John F. Kennedy’s assassination• Clint Hill jumped on the back of the presidential limousine within two seconds of JFK being shot• Pushed Jacqueline Kennedy back to protect her life• Secret service agent 17 years• Chief of the Whitehouse detail• Assistant director of the service• Retired four months previous to the interview age 43• http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=7235749n&tag=mncol;lst;1
• U.S. supported Shah Reza Pahlavi ruler of Iran from 1941- 1979• Islamic fundamentalists overthrew the Shah and accused him of being corrupt• January 1979: the Shah left Iran and fled to Egypt, Mexico, and elsewhere• New leader of Iran: Ayatollah Ruholla Khomeini• October 1979: Ayatollah called for anti-American street demonstrations in his country.• November 4: Students took over the U.S. Embassy in Tehran• 66 Americans taken hostage
• November 18: Mike Wallace interviewed the Ayatollah – No questions about Iran’s internal politics, lack of freedom under the Ayatollah, no questions the interpreter didn’t want to translate – Established that the only way hostages would be released was to give Iran the Shah so they could locate money that he took from their people and to know the extent of his treason – Thought U.S. Embassy was a spy center• Later women and African Americans were released due to Islamic beliefs• 52 hostages were released once Reagan was sworn into office
• 3 minute debate• Gave both liberal and conservative views at one time• Was anyone paying attention??• “When something is so well-known that you can take comedy and use it, because comedy is only funny if everybody knows the truth behind the comedy. If nobody watched 60 Minutes none of that would have been funny. Everybody watched it and it was huge, and to this day it’s still huge.”• http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x7ms4s_saturday-night-live-point-counterpo_fun
• Grouch who had some interesting opinions• Eyebrows matched his personality• Wrote and presented essays about everyday things we take for granted• First essay “An Essay on Doors”• “You know what I hate?” – Made us realize that we hated whatever it was toohttp://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=7346799n&tag=mncol;lst;5
• Less journalism and more sensationalism• Sensationalism: 1. Sensational stories 2. Emotional way in which they are presented 3. Emphasis on entertainment value• 20/20• Dateline• Entertainment Tonight• The Insider• Extra• Inside Edition• Access Hollywood
I interviewed mymom. She is themorning anchor forWKBN 27 First Newsin Youngstown, OH.
I remember segments on 3 mile island because itwas close to us and I didn’t understand what was goingon there and that was the first time that they explained itat length where I understood what was going on. Iremember a lot of the celebrity ones that they did too.You know to have a Barbara Streisand on or to havesome of the big celebrities that you didn’t see talk toother media outlets at the time because it wasn’t so ENews oriented, entertainment news wasn’t really thething, and there were some celebrities thatdidn’t talk to anybody but they might go on60 Minutes, like Johnny Carson.
So in those instances I remember those. I remember some of the ones too where the people were swindlers. They used to always catch the swindlers someone who was always trying to cheat and steal and get away with it and they had all the evidence put together in a nice tight package, while nobody else could seem to nail these people they found a way to do it in 15 minutes. They used hidden cameras, and that’s what was unique too at the time nobody did the type of journalism that they were doing and they brought you through it with them to help you know what was going on.
I remember that it was on Sunday nights and I would be frustrated because everybody was watching , all the adults were watching, and Iwas young and bored to tears because it seemed likeeverything was over my head. I was waiting for GunSmoke and Lucille Ball to come on, I was waiting for theshows that would come on on Sunday nights and wewere stuck watching that every Sunday and I had to getthrough it. Then as I got older and more interested in thenews I started watching it myself and I kindof got hooked and it wasn’t until I was in mytwenties that I truly appreciated what theywere doing.
No, it had its heyday in the middle so to speak. It’s probably less popular now than it was at its height. It’s still a strong news show but it was the pioneer of what it does. It has been copied, its style and its depth has been copied because up until that point nobody tried to do what they were doing.
In a regular news show at the most you would get three minutes for a story. Usually the average is about a minute thirty for a news story on some crime that’s happening or some tax situation that’s going on in the community. They don’t really give you the background- what led up to it or what might happen after-they kind of just tell you this is what’s going on and they don’t give you much frame of reference. That’s the difference, 60 Minutes had enough time to give you the feeling all around the news story besides the who, what, where, when, and how. They give you more of a context, you feel like you understand it from start to finish.
On some of the major stories like the Vietnam War you saw a lot of the pictures of blood and gore and the facts but 60 Minutes gave you more context. They talked to soldiers, or talked to people around the soldiers and you got a feeling like they were the first ones who kind of brought you there. It gave you even more of a context from the human point of view. I think it had a lot to do with swaying people’s opinions about the Vietnam War they wanted it to end, they wanted soldiers to come home. It did the same thing for Operation Desert Storm, both of the wars in the Middle East in the early ‘90s. It gave people more of a context. I think before most Americans didn’t even understand where the Middle eastern countries were or how they affected each other and I think 60 Minutes filled in a lot of the gaps.
Sometimes correspondents spent more time with their producer than their husband or wife. There were always producers. You know Edward R. Murrow had people he worked with? He worked with a team, but I think that 60 Minutes, their producers took on almost an equal role with the reporters to where they were side by side. When they would travel they were together, they collaborated, bounced things off of each other, got mad at each other, I mean you’ll hear the stories that they tell. There were two passionate people working on a story besides the photographer who captured the video part and it all comes together to give you a more balanced approach.
Today news agencies are cutting back and having a video journalist go out, where it used to be two or three or four people working on a story like 60 Minutes does, but now they want one person to go out with a camera, get the sound, get the video, ask all the questions, think about it from every angle, and then try to put something together for the public and they are not getting a well thought out and well-rounded summary. They are getting a little snippet of what people come up with who have not thought about it deeply and that is not usually enough. You’ll find that it’s falling short in a lot of instances. For a basic fire story, it’s probably going to be ok, but for something that has any consequence one person will never be able to do what two or three peoples minds working together and bouncing off each other can do. So 60 Minutes started that idea of good collaboration and real forethought of fighting it out until they really came up with as well-rounded an approach as they could.
They were the first ones to go in there and bombard somebody and do the ambush interview. I think it really did set up some reporting today, I mean if you look atChannel 11 they’re still trying to do that but it’s morefor effect than for what they’re actually getting at. Butit did give the fourth estate, which is the media, extraclout to come in and to ask what questions theywant, to kind of bombard, and push their way to getwhat they were trying to get and it gave them a littlebit more leverage, because they could make peoplelook foolish.
They were very careful, they could find every piece of document. Most reporters when they start out know that they can be looking for documents but maybe don’t know how. 60 Minutes probably had a team of historians that knew how to dig into court records and files and whatever they could find to get the background to show 2+2=4 , they could show it black and white they had back up, they knew what they wanted to prove and they knew how to go backwards to prove it. Sometimes a reporter knows what’s happening but they don’t have the black and white and they manage to find, and their teams knew how to find it.
They have been copied, which is the biggest form of flattery. Some of the best things of 60 Minutes have been copied for other reasons. Dateline and newsmagazines tried to take the best out of 60 Minutes and use it, but nobody has really been able to imitate it. As soon as a person becomes a 60 Minutes correspondent they are put in higher esteem than any of these other newsmagazines. You couldn’t really tell me who’s on Dateline but you could tell me who’s on 60 Minutes. I mean Andy Rooney, some of the things they did couldn’t be duplicated. They became their own entities, they almost became parodies of themselves.
Well, every week you just waited to see what he was going to say. I loved the ones he did on him at the end about retiring and not retiring and he wanted people to leave him alone and let him eat his dinner. It’s the truth though, he really just wanted people to leave him alone so he could eat his dinner in public and it made me laugh. He really was a curmudgeon, he was tough stuff.
60 Minutes was the first newsmagazine that had three segments that were each about 15 minutes long. At the time 60 Minutes was created, documentaries were the main way people got their news. These documentaries were always an hour long so 60 Minutes was very innovative. How did 60 Minutes change the news business and help it to get to where it is today?
I guess from the documentary perspective where it would be an hour down to fifteen minutes they did a lot of the thought part for you. They were the ones who took a big idea, the Vietnam War or whatever, they condensed it, synthesized it, thought about it, figured out what the true crux of the matter was and presented it in fifteen minutes. So maybe you could do it in less time but get a nice full view and they did it in a way that was compelling. Sometimes documentaries weren’t the most compelling things in the world so perhaps people were spending an hour watching something but were only spending 10 minutes listening to it. So 60 Minutes took that 15 minutes where they were engrossed.
When it gets to a point where people are actually waiting for Sunday night to turn that on or won’t miss it because it comes on Sunday night “What time is it?” ‘7 o’clock’ “Put 60 Minutes on”. That says a lot. I mean for a news program? When would that happen? I mean for a Big Bang Theory, yeah, but for a news program that says something. Even to this day there might be a Dateline that comes through or another one of those news shows where you think to yourself I’ll catch it whenever or I’ll look it up later, but for 60 Minutes some people still set aside 7 o’clock on Sunday nights when they put 60 Minutes on.
• "A Look Back at Some Memorable Mike Wallace Moments." 60 Minutes Rewind. CBS News Interactive Inc., 8 Apr. 2012. Web. 18 May 2012.• Day, Nancy. Sensational TV: Trash or Journalism? Berkeley Heights, NJ: Enslow Publishers, Inc., 1996. Print.• "Face to Face with the Ayatollah." 60 Minutes Overtime. CBS News Interactive Inc., 21 Jan. 2011. Web. 19 May 2012.• 60 Minutes. CBS News Interactive Inc., 2012. Web. 6 May 2012.• ""60 Minutes" icon Mike Wallace dies at 93." CBS News. CBS Interactive Inc., 8 Apr. 2012. Web. 19 May 2012.• 60 Minutes Overtime. CBS News Interactive Inc., 2012. Web. 21 Apr. 2012.
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