GOOD NEWS & LOCAL JOURNALISM

March 05, 2019 at 4:45 am

Award-winning New York anchor Ernie Anastos is here with his insights on a more balanced and less negative media.

To check out some of Ernie Anastos’ “Positively Ernie” segments, click here. 

Aired on March 4, 2019. 

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>>> WATCHING THE NEWS CAN AT
TIMES BE NEGATIVE AND EVEN
OVERWHELMING, THE OFT HEARD IF
IT BLEEDS IT LEADS PERMEATES
MANY A NEWSROOM WHICH IS WHY
IT'S IMPORTANT TO HIGHLIGHT THE
GOOD IN OUR LOCAL COMMUNITIES
AND SHARE THOSE STORIES ALONG
WITH WHAT ARE GOING TO BE THE
NEGATIVE.
EMMY AWARD RES DECENT ERNIE
ANASTOS IS DOING JUST THAT,
ERNIE HAS COVERED MAJOR STORIES
OVER THE LAST THREE DECADES
INCLUDING INTERVIEWING WORLD
LEADERS, PRESIDENTS, BUT HE ALSO
COVERS US, AVERAGE NEW YORKERS,
WITH THE SAME ENTHUSIASM AND
CURIOSITY.
ERNIE'S MAN ON THE STREET STYLE
INTERVIEW ON FOX 5 NEW YORK
CALLED POSITIVELY ERNIE
SPOTLIGHTS OUR OPINIONS ON A
RANGE OF TOPICS BOTH
LIGHTHEARTED AND HEAVY AND HE IS
HERE TO TELL US MORE ABOUT THE
IMPORTANCE OF GOOD NEWS AND
LOCAL JOURNALISM.
MY GOOD FRIEND, LOCAL NEWS
LEGEND ERNIE ANASTOS.
I GOT STARTED --
>> JACK, WE GO BACK.
>> YOU AND I GO BACK A LONG
TIME.
>> NO QUESTION.
>> COMING ON FOR -- STARTING
TELEVISION IN THE BEGINNING AND
I HAD THE GREAT GOOD FORTUNE OF
BEING ABLE TO SIT ACROSS FROM
YOU AND YOU INTERVIEW ME.
>> AND HERE WE ARE REVERSING THE
ROLES SHOO WHEN I SAW THIS I
SAID I AM TO THRILLED THAT ERNIE
IS COMING TO CHAT WITH US.
>> IT'S SO GREAT TO SEE YOU AND
I LOVE YOUR PROGRAM.
THIS DOES SUCH A GREAT SERVICE
TO THE PEOPLE OF NEW YORK CITY.
>> ABSOLUTELY.
>> IT'S A WONDERFUL GROUP OF
PEOPLE PUTTING THIS TOGETHER.
>> QUALITY.
>> WE LIKE TO THINK SO.
COMING FROM YOU, THAT IS QUITE A
COMPLIMENT.
>> I APPRECIATE THAT.
>> LET ME START OFF WITH A
BIGGER PICTURE.
THERE'S SO MUCH THAT I WANT TO
TALK TO YOU ABOUT.
WHENEVER WE SEE POLLS WE SEE,
INTERESTINGLY, THAT THE PUBLIC
IS LOSING TRUST IN NATIONAL NEWS
MEDIA, BUT THEY STILL TRUST
LOCAL NEWS MEDIA.
>> YES.
>> WHY DO YOU THINK THAT IS?
>> THAT'S TRUE.
I THINK THERE'S A CLEAR ANSWER
TO THAT.
I THINK WHEN YOU WATCH LOCAL
NEWS YOU'RE WATCHING REPORTING,
WE'RE COVERING STORIES THAT ARE
HAPPENING IN THE COMMUNITY.
WE'RE NOT GIVING OPINION.
YOU DON'T SEE THAT.
I MEAN, IT'S JUST
STRAIGHTFORWARD REPORTING.
KIND OF THE LAST BASTION AROUND.
AND I'M VERY PROUD OF THAT IN
MANY WAYS.
WHEN YOU TALK TO PEOPLE WHEREVER
THEY ARE IN ANY CITY IN THIS
COUNTRY, RIGHT, IF THEY'RE
CHOOSING THEIR SERVICE ON CABLE
OR SATELLITE, WHATEVER, THEY'RE
ALWAYS GOING TO CHOOSE THE LOCAL
CHANNELS.
PEOPLE WATCH PART OF WHAT'S
GOING ON IN OUR COMMUNITY --
>> PEOPLE CALL YOU BY YOUR FIRST
NAME.
>> FIRST NAME, ABSOLUTELY.
>> ERNIE.
>> YEAH.
>> THEY DON'T SAY ERNIE ANASTOS.
IF THEY SEE YOU, YOU'RE PART OF
THE FAMILY.
>> AND I'M HUMBLED BY THAT.
I THINK IT'S VERY IMPORTANT.
THAT'S BUILDING A CERTAIN TRUST
THAT YOU HAVE WITH YOUR AUDIENCE
BECAUSE THEY KNOW THAT YOU'RE
PART OF THE CITY.
>> WHEN I FIRST STARTED DOING
TELEVISION NEWS BACK WITH YOU
AND YOU AND I WOULD SIT AND YOU
WOULD INTERVIEW ME ABOUT A
SUPREME COURT DECISION OR A CASE
THAT'S TAKING PLACE.
>> YES.
>> YOU WOULD NEVER ASK ME FOR MY
OPINION.
AND I WOULDN'T GIVE IT.
BECAUSE THE NOTION WAS WE ARE
SHARING IDEAS PROVIDING AN
UNDERSTANDING FOR PEOPLE, BUT
NOT TELLING THEM WHAT THEY
SHOULD THINK.
AND IT SEEMS THAT LOCAL NEWS,
AGAIN, NOT COMPLETELY, AN
OPINION HAS ALWAYS BEEN AN
IMPORTANT PART OF JOURNALISM.
>> IT IS.
WHY HE.
>> UNDERSTAND THAT.
>> YES, IN ITS PROPER PLACE.
I THINK THAT WE BOTH DEFEND THE
RIGHT OF FREE SPEECH AND
UNCENSORED PRESS, BUT I THINK
THAT WE HAVE A REAL
RESPONSIBILITY.
YOU KNOW, WHEN WE HAVE SO MANY
CHANNELS NOW, WHEN WE WERE --
YOU KNOW, OUT THERE, THERE WERE
ONLY BASICALLY THREE OR FOUR
CHANNELS OR THREE NETWORKS AND
NOW, YOU KNOW, WE HAVE A
PLETHORA.
YOU HAVE ALL THE CABLE,
SATELLITE AND ALL SOCIAL MEDIA
AND SO FORTH, BUT THERE IS A
GREAT RESPONSIBILITY THAT GOES
WITH THAT BECAUSE, YOU KNOW, WE
HAVE TO BE VERY CAREFUL.
YOU CAN'T PUT RUMOR ON THE AIR,
YOU CAN'T PUT, YOU KNOW,
INFORMATION THAT'S BEEN NOT
CONFIRMED.
WE HAVE TO BE VERY CAREFUL ABOUT
THE OPINION AND THE VIEWER HAS
TO KNOW THAT IF THERE IS AN
OPINION, THERE ARE A LOT OF
PEOPLE WHO ARE DARN GOOD AT IT,
BUT IF IT IS AN OPINION IT HAS
TO BE SORT OF LABELED THAT WAY
AND HAS TO BE CLEAR.
>> LET ME ASK ABOUT YOUR
SEGMENTS, POSITIVELY ERNIE
SEGMENTS.
>> YES.
>> WHERE DID THE IDEA COME FROM
AND WHAT ARE YOU HOPING THAT
THOSE SEGMENTS WILL PROVIDE FOR
THE VIEWERS?
>> I'VE BEEN VERY CONCERNED
ABOUT THE COVERAGE OF NEWS.
I'VE BEEN ON THE AIR SO MANY
YEARS AND EVERY NIGHT WHEN YOU
GO ON THE AIR AND YOU SAY GOOD
EVENING AND THEN YOU PROCEED TO
TELL THEM WHY IT'S NOT.
AND I SAID, DO YOU KNOW WHAT, IF
WE'RE GOING TO PUT A NEWSCAST
TOGETHER AND THEY WERE VERY KIND
TO ME AT CHANNEL 5, WE SAT DOWN,
TALKED ABOUT OUR 6:00 NEWS AND I
SAID, LOOK, IF WE'RE GOING TO
TALK ABOUT A PROBLEM, LET'S TALK
ABOUT A SOLUTION.
LET'S FIND WAYS THAT WE CAN FIX
THE ISSUE.
WALTER CRONKITE WAS A DEAR
FRIEND AND A MENTOR IN MANY WAYS
AND WE WERE TALKING ABOUT NEWS
COVERAGE AND HE SAID, YOU KNOW,
OUR JOB IS TO BE A DOG.
OKAY?
A WATCHDOG.
WE ARE NOT A LAP DOG OR AN
ATTACK DOG, WE ARE A WATCHDOG.
WE BARK AND WE LET PEOPLE HEAR
WHAT WE'RE TALKING ABOUT AND
WHAT THE ISSUES ARE AND LET THEM
RESPOND.
SO I FELT THAT, YOU KNOW,
POSITIVE NEWS WAS VERY
IMPORTANT, PARTICULARLY WITH
YOUNG PEOPLE, BUT I THINK THAT
IT'S IMPORTANT FOR US TO DO THAT
AND THE KIDS REALLY WERE A BIG
PART OF HELPING ME TO DO THAT.
AND THEN I WROTE A BOOK.
>> LET ME ASK ABOUT THAT.
I WANT TO COME BACK TO YOUR
CONVERSATION BUT TELL ME ABOUT
"ERNIE AND THE BIG NEWS."
>> BILL GALLO, THE GREAT
COLUMNIST AND ILLUSTRATOR AT THE
DAILY NEWS, GOD REST HIS SOUL,
DID HE ALL THE ILLUSTRATIONS FOR
ME.
AND IT'S A BOOK ABOUT THE
ADVENTURES OF A TV REPORTER AND
IT PRETTY MUCH FOCUSES ON GOOD
STORIES AND HAPPY ENDINGS.
I GO OUT AND WE WORKED WITH A
CHARITY, ST. FRANCIS FOOD
PANTRIES IN NEW YORK, WE DOUGH
MADE ABOUT 500 BOOKS EACH TIME
WE GO OUT TO EVERY CHILD AND I
GIVE THEM A CARD AND I'M GOING
TO GIVE IT TO YOU, TOO, IT'S AN
OFFICIAL PRESS CARD, IT'S CALLED
ERNIE AND THE BIG NEWS OFFICIAL
PRESS CARD, I MADE IT OUT TO
YOU, JACK.
>> THAT MAKES ME OFFICIAL.
>> YEAH.
>> THAT DOES.
>> BUT THE LINE ON THE BOTTOM
ABOUT THE REPORTER, IT'S
AUTHORIZED TO COVER STORIES WITH
ACCURACY, TRUTH AND FAIRNESS.
AND I THINK THAT THIS IS SO
IMPORTANT.
>> I WOULD LIKE TO GIVE THIS TO
EVERYBODY IN OUR BUSINESS.
WHY DO YOU THINK THE SENSE IS
THAT THE NEWS, CERTAINLY
NATIONAL BUT EVEN LOCAL, CHANGED
AND MOVED AWAY FROM THE IDEA OF
WOOEFB POSITIVE STORIES INTO THE
NEWSCAST?
I KNOW PEOPLE HAVE SAID THEY'RE
SO DRIVEN BY RATINGS.
>> THAT'S THE MAGIC WORD.
>> AND PEOPLE -- YOU WILL GET
MORE EYEBALLS OR MORE CLICKS IF
YOU'RE TELLING A STORY THAT'S A
TRAGEDY THAN AN UPLIFTING ONE.
DO YOU THINK THAT'S TRUE?
>> JACK, I HAVE TO SAY
SOMETHING.
YOU MENTIONED THE WORD RATINGS,
OKAY?
NOW, THERE WAS A TIME WHEN
NEWSCASTS WERE NOT RATED, WHEN
THE FCC FIRST STARTED, I MEAN,
WE HAD TO PROMISE THE COMMUNITY
OF WHAT WE WERE GOING TO
DELIVER, A CERTAIN PERCENTAGE OF
NEWS, INFORMATION, WEATHER AND
SO FORTH.
AND THEN YOU HAD TO PROVE YOUR
PERFORMANCE AT THE END OF YOUR
PERIOD TO SHOW THAT YOU WERE
SERVING THE NEEDS OF THE
COMMUNITY.
>> AND THAT WAS DRIVEN BY THE
NEEDS OF THE COMMUNITY.
>> NO QUESTION ABOUT IT AND
RATINGS WERE NOT A FACTOR.
SO WE WERE MORE OF A PUBLIC
SERVICE.
OKAY?
WE WERE CONCERNED ABOUT JUST
MAKING SURE THAT WE WERE
INFORMING PEOPLE, THAT WE WERE
DOING OUR JOB.
RATINGS DID HAVE A MAJOR FACTOR,
OKAY?
THEY DID BECOME A VERY IMPORTANT
PART OF WHAT WE DO AND AS A
RESULT PEOPLE STARTED LOOKING
FOR HOW CAN WE GET MORE VIEWERS,
HOW CAN WE DO MORE?
I THINK THAT WE'RE VERY FAMILIAR
WITH HOW WE TEASE A STORY, HOW
WE WANT TO BRING IN THE VIEWERS
AND MAKE SURE THAT THEY ARE
GOING TO STAY WITH THIS
BROADCAST.
I THINK THAT'S AN AREA WHERE WE
HAVE TO BE VERY CAREFUL.
THE COMPETITION IS SO MEAN OUT
THERE, THERE'S SO MUCH OF IT,
THAT I THINK MANY ORGANIZATIONS
LOOK TO FIND WAYS TO BRING IN
THE AUDIENCE AND AS A RESULT YOU
BLUR THE LINE.
YOU BLUR THE LINE.
YOU HAVE TO BE CAREFUL.
>> ARE YOU CONCERNED THAT FOR
ALL OF THOSE FACTORS, THE
EXPLOSION OF MEDIA OUTLETS OUT
THERE, THE COMPETITION, FOR
VIEWERS, FOR CLICKS, FOR
INTEREST, ARE YOU CONCERNED THAT
WE MIGHT BE SEEING LESS OF
INVOLVEMENT OF POSITIVE STORIES
BECAUSE OF ALL OF THOSE FACTORS
THAT YOU MENTIONED?
>> I'M HOPING THAT IT MIGHT GO
THE OTHER WAY.
I TALK TO A LOT OF PEOPLE AS YOU
DO, I'M ON THE STREET AND
INTERVIEWING PEOPLE ON A DAY TO
DAY BASIS AND THEY ALWAYS ASK ME
ABOUT HOW COME THERE'S SO MUCH
NEGATIVE NEWS ON THE AIR AND I
LIKE THE FACT YOU'RE PUTTING
SOME POSITIVE SORES.
I'M HOPING THAT MAYBE THERE WILL
COME A POINT WHERE PEOPLE WILL
SAY, DO YOU KNOW WHAT, WE NOTE
THAT THE HUT LEVEL, HOMES USING
TELEVISION DROPS, PARTICULARLY
LATE AT NIGHT.
PEOPLE DON'T WANT TO GO TO BED
THINKING ABOUT ALL OF THE
PROBLEMS OF THE WORLD, THEY'RE
LOOKING FOR SOMETHING BETTER.
PEOPLE WATCH OR DO SOMETHING
THAT MAKES THEM FEEL BETTER,
ESPECIALLY WHEN GOING TO SLEEP
AT NIGHT.
I'M HOPING THAT MAYBE WE WILL
STRIKE THE BALANCE, LET'S GIVE
THEM THE NEWS, PUT IT IN THE
RIGHT PERSPECTIVE BUT ALSO GIVE
THEM OTHER POSITIVE THINGS TO
THINK ABOUT SO WE CAN FEEL THAT
THERE IS SOME -- THERE'S A
KEYBOARD, HOPE.
>> HOPE.
>> IF WE LOSE HOPE WE'VE LOST
EVERYTHING.
I WILL SAY ONE LAST THING.
MAYA ANGELOU, SHE WAS WONDERFUL
IN TERMS OF WHAT WE DO.
PIMA I NOT REMEMBER WHAT YOU
SAID OR WHAT YOU DID BUT THEY
WILL REMEMBER HOW YOU MADE THEM
FEEL.
>> SO THIS IS A DELIGHT TO TALK
WITH YOU.
YOU BE WELL.
>> SHACK I MY HAND.
THANK YOU, JACK.
>> MY PLEASURE.
TO CHECK OUT SOME OF OOERN'S
POSITIVELY ERNIE STORIES VISIT

Mutual of America PSEG

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by James and Merryl Tisch, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, Rosalind P. Walter, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Janet Prindle Seidler, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

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