Monday, November 29, 2004

The Race for Rather's Seat

Ohio, once called the "cradle of Presidents," is no longer producing many serious presidential candidates, to say nothing of presidents. These days, the two biggest states, California and Texas, mostly handle that department (five of the last seven presidents elected to the job were from one state or the other--and remember, don't count Ford, cause he was never elected). But if Newsweek is right, maybe the state's universities will at least produce the next closest thing in postmodern fame: an anchorman to replace Dan Rather. The mag's online edition is reporting today that NBC's Matt Lauer and Tim Russert top a short wish list of possible outside candidates for the job. As it happens, Lauer is an Ohio University graduate and Russert earned his undergraduate degree at John Carroll before adding a law degree at CSU's John Marshall School of Law. Then again, the job doesn't seem so very special anymore, does it? Slate likens the major broadcast networks' half-hour evening news shows to the TV equivalent of World War II battleships, which were rendered obsolete by modern air warfare tactics, as these dinosaur appointment-viewing shows have been left in the dust by cable news and the web. So what should they do with these shows? The Newhouse newspaper chain's web content czar and hyperblogger Jeff Jarvis serves up some interesting ideas here on how these half hour video battleships might best be reconstituted. And if they don't make these or some other fundamental changes, we've got a suggestion for the audience: will the last person watching please turn off the denture commercial?

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