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Television Mon Nov 16 2009

Having Kurtis and Jacobson Anchor Channel 2 News was Weird

I am old enough to remember when Walter Jacobson and Bill Kurtis hosted, I mean read, the news on Channel 2. The newsroom was behind them and had a realistic, gritty, serious feel to it. But we're in the 21st century now--news has changed. So it was weird to see them together on Friday (you can see the video here). And I wonder if younger viewers were puzzled about what all the hype was about, and if they cared. What demographic did they think they were appealing to?

Over the weekend, I got the chance to talk to someone who's a TV news veteran and someone else who's worked behind the scenes in TV news. At first, I was afraid to say my opinion, thinking that maybe I was the only person in Chicago who'd experienced their original pairing who didn't care that they were doing news again. But surprisingly, the veteran said that they agreed with me: why go so far in the past to try to salvage the present? Why do these folks matter now? Who cares?

We agreed that Mr. Kurtis has really managed to stay incredibly successful in his various business ventures, with his production company, and on TV. Then I found out that Mr. Jacobson is desperate to get back on TV because that's all he knows how to do which some folks think is sad, especially when we compare his fate to the resourcefulness of Mr. Kurtis.

I just want to say that I have nothing against CBS-2, especially because I met a producer from there who's really a nice, hard-working, talented person, and who told me good things about the people and work environment there. Also, I've talked to Mr. Kurtis a couple of times, and he was really nice as well. The first time I met him, I expected him to be aloof because of his insane success and fame, but he took the time to talk to me and answer my questions (yes, I tend to ask questions when I meet people who are achievers). The second time I talked to him, he was walking down Michigan Avenue with a friend/colleague (?) who definitely didn't seem friendly. But who cares about him--I said hello to Mr. K and reminded him of where I first met him, and he was very friendly, just like before. So I definitely recommend talking to the guy if you get a chance.

I've seen Mr. Jacobson at media outlets a few times, and I just said "hello." He didn't seem approachable, though he didn't seem like a curmudgeon either. And I do have good memories of watching their newscasts and often wonder why TV news has become visually sterile eye candy compared to several years ago.

But I just don't think it's a big deal that they were on Channel 2. Sorry.

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Anna / November 17, 2009 1:00 PM

I am a member of the older generation. As a child I watched the news on one of the four channels we had back in the fifties. That's when they told the news, weather, and sports, then "good night". Took all of 15 minutes. Now the "News Programs" (and I use the term loosely) have become the television equivalent of the National Enquirer. Very biased, and full hype and glitz, with very little substance. At least Jacobson and Curtis are real newsmen. Jacobson gave his "perspective", but you knew it was HIS point of view. He was not trying to tell me what to think! Though more often than not, I do tend agree with him. I usually check the news out on my computer now. I don't have the time or the patience to deal with the junk they call news on TV... and that's MY perspective!

margaret / November 17, 2009 11:21 PM

I agree--their newscasts were better than what is on now. At this point, if I want to watch local news, it will be CLTV--they're more straightforward. But it's a lot easier to just read the news than put up with the fluff.

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Architecture Tue Nov 03 2015

Paul Goldberger Describes the "Pragmatism and Poetry" of Frank Gehry's Architecture in His New Book

By Nancy Bishop

Architecture critic Paul Goldberger talks about Frank Gehry's life and work in a new book.
Read this feature »

Steve at the Movies Fri Jan 01 2016

Best Feature Films & Documentaries of 2015

By Steve Prokopy

Read this column »


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