The news hour was regarded the most important time period in Australian television. Network news director Colin Segelov said in 1983 television news was becoming the key to station programing, "There's a much larger audience available at 6.30 than at 6:00, so people will tend to switch on to a news program that is about to begin. But 80% of those that tune in at 6:00 will stay until 7:00." Phil Davis pointed out in 1988, "Research shows that many people are in transit at 6:00p.m. and it's too early. Let's hope 6.30 is the time for the news." At the time Phil recognized, "6.30 is a tough time slot… (However) we have some contingency plans we obviously can't tell you about yet but August is a long way off." The comment was made in January that year. 

In Australia, 'National Nine News' was described as the "single news authority…more Australians trust than any other source." Ian Cook revealed in 1983 the network's formula was based on newspapers, "Both should be accurate, reliable and present information in a form that people will watch." Normally one newscast comprised of roughly 25 people ranging from the reporters, producers, cameramen, editors and other people in production. The most watched program in the 1980s in Australia was the Royal Wedding of Charles and Diana in 1981 (attracting some 75% of the households with TV sets). 

Gerald Stone produced the Australian '60 Minutes' program in 1979 recounted, "Don Hewitt of CBS '60 Minutes' gave us our favorite phrase. He said, 'A lot of people have difficulty understanding flood control but everybody can understand Noah'. We look for that Noah in our work, the one issue, the one person who can seem to focus attention on it." Gerald grew up in Columbus, Ohio. His career in journalism began in New York with the United Press International. In 1962, Gerald came to Australia "as one of the first assisted-passage immigrants from America." He made his Australian television debut in 1967 on 'This Day Tonight'. 

Sydney was said to be 15 hours ahead of New York. In 1985, Associated Press reported, "Australian viewers willing to stay up late can now see Americans, via the 'Today' show." One editorial read, "Finding out daily traffic conditions on the Santa Monica Freeway should prove invaluable for Australian viewers." Of '60 Minutes', "We had a very rough time when we started. Our first rating was 9. After all our pre-publicity, only 9% watched us. Our management and our sponsor were very worried. So stunned, in fact, that they left us to our own devices. For which we were very grateful. After 5 weeks, our ratings were looking healthy."  

Gerald made known in 1982, "There is only a limited number of formats available. 'Four Corners' has a teaching kind of format, 'Parkinson' has a chatting format, 'Nationwide' has a debating format. '60 Minutes' is like having guests around a dinner table...We set out with the belief that television is a good medium for conveying feeling and impression and a very poor medium for conveying facts and statistics. We won't say 47.25% of people think such and such. We say fewer than half think such and such. Our critics say that isn't giving enough information, but what good is a fact if the audience isn't listening. Also we concentrate on specifics rather than generalities. Which means that if we are doing a story on education, we would pick on one school and highlight the general problems as they apply to that particular school." 

Gerald added in 1984, "We were putting on a public affairs show at 7.30 Sunday night which is normally the time when people want to relax or escape. So we said, 'How can we be true to the aims of serious television journalism and yet attract a lot of people who never watched public affairs or a documentary before?' We never have – and never will, I hope, talk about Education in Crisis. But if we found one school that seemed to represent all that's good and bad about Australian education then we could focus on that one school." 

George Negus, Gerald observed, "He comes on big in everything he does. He drives through stories; he is not only good in war zone situations, but also dealing with strong personalities." Ray Martin was regarded as "an all-rounder. Very smooth, very professional - a gentle inquisitor." Gerald also made the observation in 1981, "When the American '60 Minutes' went to 4 reporters, the pace and pattern of the show were upset. It changed the dynamics. All the same, we might do it here one day – but not yet." In 1982, Jana Wendt joined '60 Minutes' as the show's 4th reporter and its first female correspondent. 

Ann Sanders joined "The Women’s Room" of Australian television which included Jana Wendt and Sue Kellaway in 1983. She told Nikki Barrowclough at the time, "...News is a very disciplined thing. It's a great discipline to get up there in front of a camera and do something straight-off...Television is a very strict medium, so I think it's important to give some warmth. It's important to me to be natural too. To give out color and warmth, to present the news naturally, and to understand what you are talking about. Then you can tell it to the people." 

However Ann had said, "I am not a social worker. But there come times when you say to yourself, 'I have to do something about this'. You cannot get on top of a story and then just walk away and say, 'Well, have a good weekend'. I'm sure some journalists would think of me as an unusual reporter, but I believe that if you don't retain your sympathy and your compassion – how can you do a good story? I also think your attitude relates to your performance as a newsreader. Someone who adopts a more cynical approach may possibly come over cold." On reflection at the time, "I'd say I have become more cynical than I was before I joined channel Ten – I am getting really cynical about people who have got themselves into situation through their own stupidity rather than through events they cannot control." 

Gerald made the point in 1984, "I don't ask upstairs (management) if I want to send George to Moscow or Ray to Beirut…As long as I stick within my budget there's no possible interference…Basically, our budget has gone up. When we first started (in 1979), it was around $40,000 a week; it is now (in 1983) $80,000 a week. But we're more conscientious than we've been and we've told them to be more careful how they spend their money." Of budget cuts, "I know the question of (the program) 'Sunday' but by my understanding it was not real cuts; it was just running a little over budget. No doubt, the program that's a top-rater will be looking at a little more benignly by management than one that is causing expense without necessarily delivering ratings…I'm delighted with 'Sunday'…They have the leisure to spend more time on stories. Ours is sharper, a more pointed format, but it's horses for courses. Where they were out to inform an audience at 9:00 on a Sunday morning, where they knew people watching had to be interested in what they were doing, we were out to take an audience which had never been exposed to public affairs on Sunday night and attract their attention; that's what we've done, and we've maintained that attraction."

Leslie Falkiner reported in 1989, "Most reporters choose their own clothes, although sometimes they are assisted by professional dressers. Most receive clothing allowances, although they vary from as much as $5000 a year at channel Nine to as little as $750 a year at the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)." Gerald lamented back in 1982, "I truly think we have some of the worst television critics in the English-speaking world. I mean, in the sense that they are so predictable and superficial. Even in the most serious publications, the critics usually have little knowledge about the techniques of television. Too often they are simply good writers assigned to write about television."

Gerald maintained at the time, "Our concept was very clear and very tough and very disciplined…I think '60 Minutes' speaks for itself. Basically 1 in 3 Australians watch '60 Minutes'. To me it's got all the excitement, all the ingredients of everything we saw on Sunday nights – it's got a 'Starsky & Hutch' adventure quality, it's a kind of travel program, it's got every element, it's got pathos (Greek: suffering). The only problem is making sure that you use the format well...When we first began, it was really something for people to see George Negus in Iceland reporting on a story."  

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