Revamping Old Media

Topic: Revamping Old Media

Cynthia McFadden: First of all, we were resoundedly bashed when we first came on the air, and probably for some good reason. We were reinventing the television program as it happened, on the air, live. I mean it was Ted Koppel one night. It was us the next night. And it was “Memo to Self: Never try to replace a legend.” It’s impossible. None of us could be Ted Koppel. All we could do is be whatever we were. And you know viewers wanted Ted Koppel. They were mad that he was gone. They didn’t like any of us, and they wanted us to go back to the old “Nightline”. You know the old “Nightline” served an extraordinarily important function, I think – did it better than anybody else. As we all know it started during the Iran hostage crisis, did one story. And not just a half hour one night, but night after night, after night and perfected, I think, a really beautiful, in depth, thoughtful approach. The truth is we felt in coming in that very few stories could we sustain for a whole half hour every night. In fact our pieces are just about the same length. Our lead piece, which usually tends to be eight to 10 minutes, is as long as or longer than the old pieces on the old “Nightline”. What is different is Koppel then used to do a conversation following the piece which would illuminate it in some way. We’ve eliminated that for the most part. It was a gamble. It was a gamble that there were at least two stories sometimes . . . two stories and a half maybe every night that viewers might be interested in; and that indeed if they weren’t interested in the lead, maybe they might be interested in the second piece. A year and a half later, James Golston who really . . . our executive producer who really had the vision has been proven right. The numbers are through the roof. Nobody thought . . . We all though we’d be lucky to hang on to the franchise. I’m happy to say we’ve been able to just expand the franchise. It’s really . . . It’s succeeded beyond anybody’s expectations, certainly mine. I mean the numbers are extraordinary.

 

Recorded on: Jul 7 2007

 

How do you make old media new?

A brief history of human dignity

What is human dignity? Here's a primer, told through 200 years of great essays, lectures, and novels.

Credit: Benjavisa Ruangvaree / AdobeStock
Sponsored by the Institute for Humane Studies
  • Human dignity means that each of our lives have an unimpeachable value simply because we are human, and therefore we are deserving of a baseline level of respect.
  • That baseline requires more than the absence of violence, discrimination, and authoritarianism. It means giving individuals the freedom to pursue their own happiness and purpose.
  • We look at incredible writings from the last 200 years that illustrate the push for human dignity in regards to slavery, equality, communism, free speech and education.
Keep reading Show less

​'The time is now' for cryptocurrencies, PayPal CEO says

Is Bitcoin akin to 'digital gold'?

Technology & Innovation
  • In October, PayPal announced that it would begin allowing users to buy, sell, and hold cryptocurrencies.
  • Other major fintech companies—Square, Fidelity, SoFi—have also recently begun investing heavily in cryptocurrencies.
  • While prices are volatile, many investors believe cryptocurrencies are a relatively safe bet because blockchain technology will prove itself over the long term.
Keep reading Show less

"Clean meat" approved for sale in Singapore

Singapore has approved the sale of a lab-grown meat product in an effort to secure its food supplies against disease and climate change.

Credit: Adobe Stock / Big Think
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Singapore has become the first country to approve the sale of a lab-grown meat product.
  • Eat Just, the company behind the product, will have a small-scale commercial launch of its chicken bites.
  • So-called "clean meats" may reduce our reliance on livestock farming, which kills billions of animals worldwide every year.
  • Keep reading Show less

    Scientists find the "magic number" that links forces of the universe

    Researchers dramatically improve the accuracy of a number that connects fundamental forces.

    Credit: Adobe Stock / Big Think
    Surprising Science
    • A team of physicists carried out experiments to determine the precise value of the fine-structure constant.
    • This pure number describes the strength of the electromagnetic forces between elementary particles.
    • The scientists improved the accuracy of this measurement by 2.5 times.
    Keep reading Show less

    Study suggests most "dark web" users are not engaging in illicit activities

    A new study finds that some people just want privacy.

    Photo by Soumil Kumar from Pexels
    Technology & Innovation
    • Despite its reputation as a tool for criminals, only a small percentage of Tor users were actually going to the dark web.
    • The rate was higher in free countries and lower in countries with censored internet access.
    • The findings are controversial, and may be limited by their methodology to be general assumptions.
    Keep reading Show less
    Quantcast