Following months of rehearsals, overtime and job description changes, the Eyewitness News format hit the airwaves at WABC on November 17, 1968.
The man behind the concept of putting reporters out in the field as eyewitnesses and actually appearing on television, of bringing racial diversity to newscasts, and using graphics and teases and camera movement to liven up TV News, brought WABC from 3rd in the ratings books to number ONE.
In “EYEWITNESS Newsman,” Al Primo takes readers through getting his first job in TV in the mail room to becoming a Network News Executive and beyond.
His Eyewitness style of having reporters seen in every news story, eventually changed every newscast in America. Prior to Primo, the anchor read every story. Excitement followed his success, but you can imagine the grumbling getting it done. Here is a line from “EYEWITNESS Newsman.”
“Camera operators were told that they’d never need something to sit on again because they’d be constantly moving.”
Here is an introduction to Albert T. Primo. In this picture he says he was VP of News for ABC and was on the phone with Harry Reasoner.
Here is an interview with Primo from his Old Greenwich, Connecticut office on changing the face of the newscast. (Yes, I need to steady my Flip Mino cam.)
Of course I had to ask him about the future face of journalism, with journalists and ordinary people alike blogging and instantly sending text and video to their blogs.
Al Primo has numerous awards from his past work. But don’t think he’s done shaping what we see on television. Currently he produces Teen Kids News, syndicated weekly to 200 TV stations and 10,000 schools. Hear more from Primo on Teen Kids News.