MacNeil’s passing recalls best in broadcast news

If there’s a silver lining to the passing of Robert MacNeil, it’s that we are allowed to pause and reflect on what made him a pioneer in TV journalism. I almost wrote that we’re “forced” instead of “allowed to reflect,” but that wasn’t his style. In a time when the loudest, most garish content commands our attention, Robert MacNeil, Jim Lehrer and a scant few others showed us in a professional, understated manner how people should communicate with each other. I keep hoping it will catch on.

It’s more than just relaying current events. MacNeil and the PBS MacNeil/ Lehrer NewsHour, reminded me of the 1960s “Huntley-Brinkley Report: straightforward, no-frills reporting.

Thanks to the adept current PBS NewsHour team, viewers were welcomed to commiserate over MacNeil’s passing as they did with Jim Lehrer and Gwen Ifill. Network news is a profession. The PBS NewsHour is a calling.

Jim Newton


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