US TV news in the 1950s and 1960s - golden age?
Untitled Document



US TV News, 1960-Present Day

The US paved the way for the rest of the world in terms of television news broadcasts. The first television news broadcast took place on 10th May 1928 in Schenectady, New York. This became the first regular television news broadcast in the world, with a weekly broadcast on weather and farming news.

US TV news is considered highly innovative, and it was in the US that the more casual, standing style of news broadcast was pioneered. This style has been emulated by broadcasters in other countries, such as Britain’s Sky News, who have moved away from the more formal seated broadcast.

The rise of cable television during the 60s meant that the masses could now receive several news channels. TV news grew, and around 640 CATV systems were running by 1960.

The first main news story of the 1960s was the civil rights movement, spearheaded by Martin Luther King. This story was broadcast regularly on American TV news from 1960 to 1965.

In 1961, the charismatic John Kennedy came to power. The country was in a celebratory mood, as they knew Kennedy was to be a great leader. US TV news broadcast Kennedy’s speeches; his good looks and charisma meant that he featured regularly on the news.

The Cuban Missile crisis of 1962 was an extremely high priority news story in the US, and was followed closely on a daily basis, as the fate of the world effectively hung in the balance.

John F Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas Texas on November 22nd 1963. The world was in shock, and it was the biggest news story that US television news had ever covered. The story absolutely dominated the news for four days, as the masses tried to come to terms with the event.

It was in the 1960s that the US public confirmed, via survey, that television news had overtaken print news in terms of popularity with over 50% saying that television was their main source of information.

The Moon landings of 1969 were watched live on television by ‘7 out of 10’ Americans, and around half a billion people globally. The story was followed closely by US television news.

The Vietnam War, commencing mainly in 1965, was the first war in history to be filmed and regularly broadcast on the news. The war was dubbed ‘the first television war’ and the horrors of conflict were for the first time shown to the masses, destroying the misconception of chivalry and glory associated with war.

The main news stories covered in the US during the 1970s were the resignation of Richard Nixon, over the Watergate scandal, and the end of the Vietnam conflict.

From 1980 to 2009, the main news stories covered in the US were: The Soviet defeat in Afghanistan, the fall of the Berlin Wall, the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Gulf Wars and 9/11.

The Rise of the internet in the 2000s has challenged the domination of television as the main source of news. More and more people are choosing the internet over television for news and once again America has become a pioneer in this new medium.


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