From Cronkite to Colbert by Geoffrey Baym is a book I have read at least three times. This text is extremely important for people interested in journalism and or media studies. This is a great book to have on hand because it discusses the evolution of what audiences believe a news anchor should be. I will make note of the fact that the book was originally published in 2009 and does not dive into a lot of what has currently been going on in the world of news, especially entertainment shows and satirical programs.
As the title suggests, Baym stopped talking about the evolution of news with Colbert and, as we know now, The Colbert Report went off the air in December 2015. But, it does demonstrate the transition from Cronkite, someone who is known to be the standard of the Golden Age of journalism, to Colbert, a satirical conservative pundit. There is a large difference between what journalism was and where it is today.
Due to the analytical nature of this book, I will mention that it does not dive into the media bias satires tend to have. I cite this because Comedy Central is predominantly liberal in its news. Similarly, Full Frontal on TBS and Last Week Tonight with John Oliver on HBO are also more liberal in nature and are not cited in this text.
On page thirty-one, Baym wrote, “As many as forty percent of the reporters who appear in the stories examined here appear only once and some of them are never seen on camera.” I found this quote interesting because a lot of camera work (and moving elements) are behind the scenes and unknown to the audiences. There are reporters and workers who may not necessarily be seen to the viewer and yet they are the ones who truly report on the incidents and news. There are a lot of unseen faces who help create the news. For instance, there are people in the editing room who have their own perspectives that will be incorporated into the footage shown.
From Cronkite to Colbert touches on a lot of important elements that journalists are currently facing. If you are interested in learning more about how news is delivered, I highly recommend this text. This book is very well done and there is a lot to be noted. I give From Cronkite to Colbert five out of five stars. It is a great read for anyone interested in media studies.
For more information, be sure to check out my BookTube review of From Cronkite to Colbert, too.