The new CBS News

The new CBS News

: Even before CBS News is redone it is redoing itself. In a comment on the post below, Andrew Tyndall of the Tyndall Report says he studied the show for Broadcasting & Cable and sees big change already:

Less than three weeks after Dan Rather’s departure from the anchor chair, Schieffer has already markedly revamped the job description, showcasing a more inquisitive, interactive style than his predecessor or his competitors….

This anchor approaches his role more as a viewer’s representative than as a reporter’s leader [yes! – ed]; Schieffer’s emphasis is more on summing up a story than on introducing it.

Specifically, Schieffer’s CBS Evening News actually makes constructive use of the live sign-off that often ends a correspondent’s taped report. In the TV news business, the live sign-off tends to be just an ornamental transition, but Schieffer makes it a valuable access point, posing follow-up questions to reporters on a couple of stories each night. He reminds the reporter that, like the viewers at home, he has just watched the preceding package himself. He drives home the story’s lead. He cites the angle that interested him most. He uses vernacular, even blunt language, to ask for more…

The before-and-after is striking. Schieffer’s live interactive style was used in 40% of CBS’ items (ABC used it 9% of the time, NBC 3%); in Rather’s final days, CBS used those techniques only 11% of the time (ABC 17%, NBC 3%)….

The questions that Schieffer asks out loud are the same routine ones every anchor and executive producer asks of correspondents before a story is filed. What CBS Evening News is doing is showing that Q&A in action, rather than simply weaving its results into the on-air report.

So Schieffer makes more of the anchor’s behind-the-scenes job visible for all to see. How modish is that? At age 68, our oldest rookie news anchor is not only interactive, but transparent, too.

I’ve been of the view that CBS News can change with Schieffer in the anchor chair.

It’s not about what’s before the camera but what’s behind the camera — changing it and showing it.

It’s not about new faces but new voices.

It’s not about format but attitude. And it sounds as if the attitude is changing.