Av Westin

News Producer


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

Tab

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."

Highlights
Av Westin on being a copy boy for Edward R. Murrow
02:13
Av Westin on being in Berlin when the Berlin Wall went up
05:17
Av Westin on The ABC Evening News with Harry Reasoner and Barbara Walters
02:11
Av Westin on the changes he brought to 20/20 
03:03
Av Westin on the early format of CBS News
03:40
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

View Show Page
Av Westin on the creation of 20/20
02:42
Av Westin on the changes he brought to 20/20 
03:03
Av Westin on comparing 20/20 and 60 Minutes
01:13
Av Westin on the stories 20/20 covered and competition from other news magazines
02:44
Av Westin on the firing of Geraldo Rivera from 20/20 and his thoughts on Rivera as a journalist
04:44
Av Westin on leaving 20/20
01:21

60 Minutes

View Show Page
Av Westin on comparing 20/20 and 60 Minutes
01:13

ABC News Nightline

View Show Page
Av Westin on Nightline and Ted Koppel
03:31

ABC World News Tonight

View Show Page
Av Westin on joining ABC News  as Executive Producer and the changes he brought
03:53
Av Westin on ABC News anchors Howard K. Smith and Frank Reynolds
02:32
Av Westin on Harry Reasoner joining ABC News
00:55
Av Westin on The ABC Evening News with Harry Reasoner and Barbara Walters
02:11
Av Westin on Barbara Walters as a journalist
04:54
Av Westin on negative reactions to Barbara Walters and other female news anchors
04:40
Av Westin on the technological innovations and the impact of satellites during his tenure at ABC News
04:33
Av Westin on Roone Arledge's impact on ABC News
07:00
Av Westin on the "three anchor" version of World News Tonight
01:46

CBS Morning News

View Show Page
Av Westin on creating the CBS Morning News  and innovating a new news format
06:28
Av Westin on working with Mike Wallace
01:57

CBS Reports

View Show Page
Av Westin on producing CBS Reports and other documentaries for CBS News
03:09

Inside Edition

View Show Page
Av Westin on Executive Producing Inside Edition and working with Bill O'Reilly
05:10
Topics

9/11

View Topic
Av Westin on 9/11
01:04

Civil Rights Movement

View Topic
Av Westin on various major news events in his career
11:02

Cold War

View Topic
Av Westin on being in Berlin when the Berlin Wall went up
05:17
Av Westin on various major news events in his career
11:02

Diversity in Television

View Topic
Av Westin on negative reactions to Barbara Walters and other female news anchors
04:40

Hollywood Blacklist

View Topic
Av Westin on the Hollywood Blacklist
01:49

Industry Crossroads

View Topic
Av Westin on the Hollywood Blacklist
01:49

JFK Assassination and Funeral

View Topic
Av Westin on various major news events in his career
11:02

Korean War

View Topic
Av Westin on various major news events in his career
11:02

Media Consolidation

View Topic
Av Westin on the Capital Cities takeover of ABC
01:37

Moon Landing

View Topic
Av Westin on various major news events in his career
11:02

Network Creation

View Topic
Av Westin on the Public Broadcasting Laboratory
06:56

Technological Innovation

View Topic
Av Westin on the technological innovations and the impact of satellites during his tenure at ABC News
04:33
Av Westin on Executive Producing the A&E documentary The Eagle and the Bear and the impact of cable television
02:33
Av Westin on the impact of the internet on television news
02:51

Television Industry

View Topic
Av Westin on the Public Broadcasting Laboratory
06:56
Av Westin on the Capital Cities takeover of ABC
01:37

Vietnam War

View Topic
Av Westin on various major news events in his career
11:02

War

View Topic
Av Westin on being in Berlin when the Berlin Wall went up
05:17
Av Westin on various major news events in his career
11:02

Women

View Topic
Av Westin on negative reactions to Barbara Walters and other female news anchors
04:40
Professions

Journalists & News Producers

View Profession
Av Westin on the importance of the producer in television news
03:09
Av Westin on advice to aspiring journalists
01:08
Av Westin on the career path he'd take if he were starting out in 2011
00:54

News Producer

View Profession
Av Westin on the importance of the producer in television news
03:09
Av Westin on advice to aspiring journalists
01:08
Av Westin on the career path he'd take if he were starting out in 2011
00:54
Genres

News and Documentary

View Genre
Av Westin on creating the CBS Morning News
08:25
Av Westin on Executive Producing ABC News aka World News Tonight
35:19
Av Westin on Executive Producing ABC's 20/20
35:19
Av Westin on Executive Producing Inside Edition and working with Bill O'Reilly
05:10
Av Westin on the impact of the internet on television news
02:51
People

Roone Arledge

View Person Page
Av Westin on Roone Arledge's impact on ABC News
07:00
Av Westin on the "three anchor" version of World News Tonight
01:46
Av Westin on the creation of 20/20
02:42
Av Westin on the eighteen page memo that resulted in his termination at ABC News
09:44
Av Westin on changes made by Roone Arledge during Westin's tenure at ABC News
01:12

Katie Couric

View Interview Page
Av Westin on negative reactions to Barbara Walters and other female news anchors
04:40

Walter Cronkite

View Interview Page
Av Westin on various people with whom he worked at CBS News
03:36

Hugh Downs

View Interview Page
Av Westin on the creation of 20/20
02:42

Linda Ellerbee

View Interview Page
Av Westin on Executive Producing Our World for ABC News
01:37

Fred Friendly

View Person Page
Av Westin on various people with whom he worked at CBS News
04:00
Av Westin on working with Mike Wallace
01:57
Av Westin on producing CBS Reports and other documentaries for CBS News
03:09
Av Westin on leaving CBS News in 1969 and Fred Friendly's departure
02:32
Av Westin on the Public Broadcasting Laboratory
06:56

Don Hewitt

View Interview Page
Av Westin on the early format of CBS News
03:40
Av Westin on Don Hewitt's role in creating television news
01:26
Av Westin on various people with whom he worked at CBS News
04:00
Av Westin on working with Mike Wallace
00:57

Peter Jennings

View Person Page
Av Westin on the "three anchor" version of World News Tonight
01:46

Ted Koppel

View Interview Page
Av Westin on Nightline and Ted Koppel
03:31

Roger Mudd

View Interview Page
Av Westin on various people with whom he worked at CBS News
04:00

Edward R. Murrow

View Person Page
Av Westin on being a copy boy for Edward R. Murrow
02:13
Av Westin on the early format of CBS News
03:40

Bill O'Reilly

View Person Page
Av Westin on Executive Producing Inside Edition and working with Bill O'Reilly
05:10

Harry Reasoner

View Person Page
Av Westin on Harry Reasoner joining ABC News
00:55
Av Westin on The ABC Evening News with Harry Reasoner and Barbara Walters
02:11

Frank Reynolds

View Person Page
Av Westin on ABC News anchors Howard K. Smith and Frank Reynolds
02:32
Av Westin on the "three anchor" version of World News Tonight
01:46

Geraldo Rivera

View Interview Page
Av Westin on the changes he brought to 20/20
03:03
Av Westin on the firing of Geraldo Rivera from 20/20 and his thoughts on Rivera as a journalist
04:44

Bob Shanks

View Person Page
Av Westin on the creation of 20/20
02:42

Howard K. Smith

View Interview Page
Av Westin on ABC News anchors Howard K. Smith and Frank Reynolds
02:32

Sander Vanocur

View Person Page
Av Westin on various people with whom he worked at CBS News
04:00

Mike Wallace

View Interview Page
Av Westin on creating the CBS Morning News and innovating a new news format
06:28
Av Westin on working with Mike Wallace
01:57

Barbara Walters

View Interview Page
Av Westin on The ABC Evening News with Harry Reasoner and Barbara Walters
02:11
Av Westin on Barbara Walters as a journalist
04:54
Av Westin on negative reactions to Barbara Walters and other female news anchors
04:40

All Interviews

Q
S