"The press is an incredibly vital institution in American democracy," it was pointed out, "Journalism is a meritocracy. When we sustain diverse independent competitive speak true to power journalism, we make the whole of our democracy better. That's a public good. And just as we - like national parks and roads that are well repaired - ought to want journalism that is strong and vibrant and operates as a public good not merely a for profit entity." 

"'The get' was TV lingo for a hard-won, exclusive interview with a big newsmaker," it was explained. Newsmagazines were particularly important to networks in the summer because against reruns of comedies and dramas, newsmagazines often drew big ratings. Neal Shapiro of 'Dateline NBC' observed, "At almost any hour, a newsmagazine can draw an audience. There are a lot of entertainment choices out there, so the audience is a little more fragmented. But real stories can be every bit as interesting and compelling as fictional stories." 

At the start of the 1990s, weekly hour-long newsmagazine programs were on the rise. The proliferation of network and syndicated newsmagazines led Sam Donaldson to believe, "The balloon is expanding again, but at some point it will burst. You can't put on 2 or 3 magazine shows on a given evening and have people just roll over and want to watch them all. One reason will be that we're going to do a lot of the same stories." Victor Neufeld of '20/20' acknowledged, "We are compelled to make our programs as interesting as possible in an environment where there are many more choices. We are searching harder and digging deeper to get stories." Neal conceded, "I think this is the most competitive form of journalism. In some ways, the pressure is just enormous." Mike Ludlum of the New York University Department of Journalism remarked, "So much of it is geared to mass appeal." 

In his address at the Freedom Forum Media Studies Center in New York in 1998, Don Hewitt of '60 Minutes' was matter-of-fact, "Soap operas that used to be the stuff of afternoon television now run at night under the guise of newsmagazines and if it keeps going the way it's been going, a grand and glorious American institution – broadcast journalism, as America knew it, relished it and depended on it – could all but vanish by the end of the (20th) century." Andrew Kohut of Pew Research Center for People and the Press made the point, "There's a simple reason for the sameness. There are too few major news events for all the major news outlets. With audiences increasingly heterogeneous, there are fewer themes that will deliver the mass audience needed for a network TV show, so they go back to the tried and trues." 

"Without viewers, listeners, readers, circulation, there is no First Amendment," journalist Eric Braun voiced. "The alternative is government or foundation funding, and then there's no freedom of the press. I like to think of what I do as beneficial to the First Amendment." To understand the workings of the press, Walter Lippmann disclosed, "It is like the beam of a searchlight that moves restlessly about, bringing one episode then another out of darkness into vision…" 

At one stage, news critics expressed concern that those sensational stories may have "blurred the line between news and entertainment." However Danny Schechter who wrote 'The More You Watch, The Less You Know', published in 1997, reasoned business pressures often overrode journalistic considerations. Diane Holloway of Cox News Service made the comment, "A decade ago (the 1980s), news divisions considered journalism sacred, and no heightened effects were allowed. But that has changed."

James Seguin was a Professor of Communications at Robert Morris College in Pittsburgh volunteered, "The beginning of the change was the success of those reality programs like 'Unsolved Mysteries' and 'Inside Edition'. Now (in 1999) I think '60 Minutes' is the only one that doesn't use music and other sound effects. Music builds emotion, and that's what they're trying to do. They want to make it more entertaining...These stories are looking to connect with people. They're looking for any emotion to do that."

One producer said, "People respond to the human stories." Terry Jackson of Knight Ridder Tribune News Service made the observation, "Unlike regular daily newscasts, newsmagazines demand tightly packaged stories that have neat beginnings, middles and ends, all woven around compelling video – no loose ends, no need for follow-ups." James argued, "It's cool to be fascinated with these stories. Newsmagazines have a heavy teen audience. They also have a large audience of families and singles 25-45."

It was reported Sam Donaldson once told Connie Chung, "You can act like a big dog, but I think butter-and-egg works best. Most of the time we are expected to be arrogant. But in (some) cases, I come on like Mr. Humble...the guy who needs help finding the bus stop."

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