THE SEARCH FOR A FORMAT
In order to begin broadcasting news on the television, NBC had to find the perfect format that could easily be understood by the audience. They started by experimenting with the combination of the method used by radio stations and the method used by theatrical newsreels. The news-anchor would recite the news while music played in the background, complimenting photos, filmed events, and headlines that were displayed on the screen. This program was first used by NBC in 1940 on a show called "The Esso Television Reporter" that was financed by Standard Oil.
During World War II, all of the progress that NBC was making towards developing a professional news show stopped by command of the Federal Communications Commission. Once the war ended, NBC started right back where they had left off and premiered the "NBC Tele-Newsreel" on August 5, 1945. Newsreels from theatrical companies solely supported this show. Although NBC was not pleased that they had to be reliant upon a company for their information because it was costly and hard to receive promptly, they had to deal with the setback until they could find a way to become self-reliant. In 1948, they experimented with a show called "NBC Newsroom" that had three men reading the news. It was similar to radio, but it lost the public's interest because the room "was very dull-looking and not what the public thought a newsroom should look like" (Karnick, 87). At the same time, the theatrical companies wanted to create their own showcase, and they did not want to compete with networks, which was difficult for the networks because they lacked the appropriate technology. Therefore, in 1947, R.J. Reynolds and 20th-Century Fox agreed to a 10-minute newsreel called "Camel Newsreel Theater" that was shown daily on NBC. It only lasted a year because of poor quality, and Reynolds eventually combined with NBC film in 1949 to create the "Camel News Caravan" that was hosted by John Cameron Swayze. This program...
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