Av Westin

News Producer


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In his three-hour-and-fifteen-minute Archive interview, Av Westin talks about his early work in network radio news as a copy boy for Edward R. Murrow and his transfer to television news. He recalls co-creating the groundbreaking CBS Morning News with Mike Wallace, as well as his relationship with Wallace. He describes producing a variety of documentaries for CBS News and his eventual departure from the organization. Westin chronicles his brief stint at the Public Broadcasting Laboratory, and outlines his arrival at ABC News, where he produced ABC News aka World News Tonight for several years before departing to save 20/20 with an innovative mix of hard news and investigative reporting. He recounts his departure from ABC News, which began with an eighteen-page memo requested by Capital Cities on the state of the organization. He speaks of executive producing the syndicated Inside Edition and touches on his work at the National Television Academy of Arts and Sciences. Dr. Ralph Englemen conducted the interview on June 16, 2011 in New York City.

"I created a set of three rules about what criteria should be in deciding what's in an evening news program: 'Is my world safe? Is my home safe? If it is, what's happened in the last 24 hours to make life better or worse?' This is where all news stories then begin."

Interviewee(s)
Highlights
Av Westin on being a copy boy for Edward R. Murrow
Av Westin on being in Berlin when the Berlin Wall went up
Av Westin on The ABC Evening News with Harry Reasoner and Barbara Walters
Av Westin on the changes he brought to 20/20 
Av Westin on the early format of CBS News
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his early life and influences; on his work in radio news; on his transition to television news
On becoming a producer/director for CBS News; on the early format of CBS News; on various people with whom he worked at CBS and the importance of the producer in television news
On his choice to be behind-the-scenes; on creating The CBS Morning News with Mike Wallace
On witnessing the construction of the Berlin Wall; on producing documentaries for CBS News; on departing CBS in 1969

Chapter 2

On the Public Broadcasting Laboratory; on joining ABC News; on various ABC News anchors
On The ABC Evening News with Harry Reasoner and Barbara Walters; on working with Barbara Walters; on sexism over female news anchors
On the changes technological innovations such as satellites brought to ABC News; on Roone Arledge and the "three anchor" World News Tonight
On serving as Executive Producer on 20/20; on the Capital Cities takeover of ABC; on Geraldo Rivera and 20/20

Chapter 3

On the eighteen page memo that resulted in his termination at ABC News; on leaving 20/20; on Nightline and Ted Koppel
On producing the ABC News documentary 45/85 and various other documentaries; on changes in network news; on producing the series Our World and The Eagle and the Bear
On various major news events in his career; on leaving ABC News; on executive producing Inside Edition
On working as a Vice President at Time Warner; on the Freedom Forum Fellowship and working with the National Television Academy of Arts and Sciences Foundation; on his feeling about network news since he left and the rise of 24/7 cable news

Chapter 4

On the impact of television news; on news covering entertainment stories; on advice to aspiring journalists
Shows

20/20

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Av Westin on the creation of 20/20
Av Westin on the changes he brought to 20/20 
Av Westin on comparing 20/20 and 60 Minutes
Av Westin on the stories 20/20 covered and competition from other news magazines
Av Westin on the firing of Geraldo Rivera from 20/20 and his thoughts on Rivera as a journalist
Av Westin on leaving 20/20

60 Minutes

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Av Westin on comparing 20/20 and 60 Minutes

ABC News Nightline

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Av Westin on Nightline and Ted Koppel

ABC World News Tonight

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Av Westin on joining ABC News  as Executive Producer and the changes he brought
Av Westin on ABC News anchors Howard K. Smith and Frank Reynolds
Av Westin on Harry Reasoner joining ABC News
Av Westin on The ABC Evening News with Harry Reasoner and Barbara Walters
Av Westin on Barbara Walters as a journalist
Av Westin on negative reactions to Barbara Walters and other female news anchors
Av Westin on the technological innovations and the impact of satellites during his tenure at ABC News
Av Westin on Roone Arledge's impact on ABC News
Av Westin on the "three anchor" version of World News Tonight

CBS Morning News

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Av Westin on creating the CBS Morning News  and innovating a new news format
Av Westin on working with Mike Wallace

CBS Reports

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Av Westin on producing CBS Reports and other documentaries for CBS News

Inside Edition

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Av Westin on Executive Producing Inside Edition and working with Bill O'Reilly
Topics

9/11

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Av Westin on 9/11

Civil Rights Movement

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Av Westin on various major news events in his career

Cold War

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Av Westin on being in Berlin when the Berlin Wall went up
Av Westin on various major news events in his career

Diversity in Television

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Av Westin on negative reactions to Barbara Walters and other female news anchors

Hollywood Blacklist

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Av Westin on the Hollywood Blacklist

Industry Crossroads

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Av Westin on the Hollywood Blacklist

JFK Assassination and Funeral

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Av Westin on various major news events in his career

Korean War

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Av Westin on various major news events in his career

Media Consolidation

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Av Westin on the Capital Cities takeover of ABC

Moon Landing

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Av Westin on various major news events in his career

Network Creation

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Av Westin on the Public Broadcasting Laboratory

Technological Innovation

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Av Westin on the technological innovations and the impact of satellites during his tenure at ABC News
Av Westin on Executive Producing the A&E documentary The Eagle and the Bear and the impact of cable television
Av Westin on the impact of the internet on television news

Television Industry

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Av Westin on the Public Broadcasting Laboratory
Av Westin on the Capital Cities takeover of ABC

Vietnam War

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Av Westin on various major news events in his career

War

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Av Westin on being in Berlin when the Berlin Wall went up
Av Westin on various major news events in his career

Women

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Av Westin on negative reactions to Barbara Walters and other female news anchors
Professions

Journalists & News Producers

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Av Westin on the importance of the producer in television news
Av Westin on advice to aspiring journalists
Av Westin on the career path he'd take if he were starting out in 2011

News Producer

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Av Westin on the importance of the producer in television news
Av Westin on advice to aspiring journalists
Av Westin on the career path he'd take if he were starting out in 2011
Genres

News and Documentary

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Av Westin on creating the CBS Morning News
Av Westin on Executive Producing ABC News aka World News Tonight
Av Westin on Executive Producing ABC's 20/20
Av Westin on Executive Producing Inside Edition and working with Bill O'Reilly
Av Westin on the impact of the internet on television news
People

Roone Arledge

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Av Westin on Roone Arledge's impact on ABC News
Av Westin on the "three anchor" version of World News Tonight
Av Westin on the creation of 20/20
Av Westin on the eighteen page memo that resulted in his termination at ABC News
Av Westin on changes made by Roone Arledge during Westin's tenure at ABC News

Katie Couric

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Av Westin on negative reactions to Barbara Walters and other female news anchors

Walter Cronkite

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Av Westin on various people with whom he worked at CBS News

Hugh Downs

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Av Westin on the creation of 20/20

Linda Ellerbee

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Av Westin on Executive Producing Our World for ABC News

Fred Friendly

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Av Westin on various people with whom he worked at CBS News
Av Westin on working with Mike Wallace
Av Westin on producing CBS Reports and other documentaries for CBS News
Av Westin on leaving CBS News in 1969 and Fred Friendly's departure
Av Westin on the Public Broadcasting Laboratory

Don Hewitt

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Av Westin on the early format of CBS News
Av Westin on Don Hewitt's role in creating television news
Av Westin on various people with whom he worked at CBS News
Av Westin on working with Mike Wallace

Peter Jennings

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Av Westin on the "three anchor" version of World News Tonight

Ted Koppel

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Av Westin on Nightline and Ted Koppel

Roger Mudd

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Av Westin on various people with whom he worked at CBS News

Edward R. Murrow

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Av Westin on being a copy boy for Edward R. Murrow
Av Westin on the early format of CBS News

Bill O'Reilly

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Av Westin on Executive Producing Inside Edition and working with Bill O'Reilly

Harry Reasoner

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Av Westin on Harry Reasoner joining ABC News
Av Westin on The ABC Evening News with Harry Reasoner and Barbara Walters

Frank Reynolds

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Av Westin on ABC News anchors Howard K. Smith and Frank Reynolds
Av Westin on the "three anchor" version of World News Tonight

Geraldo Rivera

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Av Westin on the changes he brought to 20/20
Av Westin on the firing of Geraldo Rivera from 20/20 and his thoughts on Rivera as a journalist

Bob Shanks

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Av Westin on the creation of 20/20

Howard K. Smith

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Av Westin on ABC News anchors Howard K. Smith and Frank Reynolds

Sander Vanocur

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Av Westin on various people with whom he worked at CBS News

Mike Wallace

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Av Westin on creating the CBS Morning News and innovating a new news format
Av Westin on working with Mike Wallace

Barbara Walters

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Av Westin on The ABC Evening News with Harry Reasoner and Barbara Walters
Av Westin on Barbara Walters as a journalist
Av Westin on negative reactions to Barbara Walters and other female news anchors

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