Cover image for Tell me a story : fifty years and 60 minutes in television
Tell me a story : fifty years and 60 minutes in television
Hewitt, Don.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Public Affairs, [2001]

Physical Description:
272 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
General Note:
Includes index.
Reading Level:
1200 Lexile.
Personal Subject:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PN1992.4.H49 A3 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Hewitt (creator and exectuive producer of Sixty Minutes) describes his life, from his time as a reporter for Stars and Stripes to the early days of television, to the controversies of Sixty Minutes. Hewitt speaks of the promise and the shortcomings of television news, and offers his perspective on its continued power and potential. He considers the effect of Sixty Minutes on CBS and television news, and examines the impact of recent trends, including the competition of cable news, narrowcasting, and the Internet. c. Book News Inc.

Author Notes

Don Hewitt was executive producer of 60 Minutes. He joined CBS in 1948 and was the producer-director of Douglas Edwards with the News and the CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite before creating 60 Minutes in 1968.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

After 50-plus years at CBS Newsand more than 30 at the helm of that network's groundbreaking newsmagazine--Hewitt may be the most powerful invisible journalist in the world. Hewitt's editorial vision and news judgment have structured Americans' perception of many of the key stories TV has told, from the Kennedy-Nixon debate and JFK's assassination through NASA space shots to the thousands of interviews, profiles, and investigative reports 60 Minutes has aired since its stopwatch began ticking in 1968. Hewitt's "voice" is every bit as strong as those of the familiar faces--Edwards, Cronkite, Reasoner, Wallace, Rather, Safer, Bradley, Rooney, Sawyer, Kroft, Veiera, Stahl, Simon, and Amanpour--he has directed or produced. Hewitt has positive things to say about most of the reporters and anchors he discusses, but his comments about the several generations of CBS executives and owners for whom he has worked are less consistently sunny. At 78, Hewitt remains blunt, opinionated, and full of ideas about where TV news has been and where it's going. His life may be one of the more interesting stories the veteran newsman has ever told, so expect plenty of interest in his book. --Mary Carroll

Publisher's Weekly Review

Hewitt, the founder and executive producer of 60 Minutes, delivers on his title's promise: his memoir of more than half a century in journalism is full of good stories. He dropped out of college in the early 1940s before getting a job as a copy boy at two newspapers in New York. He then worked for Stars and Stripes during WWII. After the war, he made the jump to a new medium: television. His descriptions of TV news' infancy is fascinating for those born in a later era: e.g., when he first worked at CBS News, Hewitt and his co-workers had to do one broadcast for the East Coast and a second one for the West Coast because videotape hadn't been invented. In his years at CBS, Hewitt has met celebrities, presidents and other world leaders and he has stories about them all as well as about the investigative pieces that earned 60 Minutes much of its renown. (There aren't many people who can say that they've annoyed both Frank Sinatra and Hillary Rodham Clinton Hewitt is one of them.) He tells it as he sees it, defending traditional television news journalists, while bluntly noting that they produce entertainment as well as news. He has similar praise for his 60 Minutes crew and the stories they've produced. At times near the end of the book, however, particularly when he excoriates The Insider, the movie about the Jeffrey Wigand/tobacco scandal, Hewitt's bluntness doesn't serve him so well. But he's chronicled the career of a pathbreaking but old-fashioned journalist who has created a lot of news and a lot of memories. Illus. (Apr.) Forecast: An institution in TV news, Hewitt has a huge media line-up to launch this book: in addition to first serial in Talk magazine, he will appear on 20/20 with Barbara Walters, on the Today Show, Larry King, NPR's Fresh Air and other national TV and radio shows. First printing is 50,000. Expect big sales. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Hewitt, born in 1922, entered journalism during World War II, then entered television news at its dawn in 1948, covering events from all over the world. Soon thereafter, he found his genius off camera, as a producer, inventing new types of shows to reach ever-widening audiences. In 1968, Hewitt created television hourly newsmagazine 60 Minutes. For the first 100 pages, Hewitt recounts his growing up and early journalism career in a breezy, cleverly phrased, and often self-deprecating language. Most of the book's remaining pages are devoted to 60 Minutes such personalities as Mike Wallace, Diane Sawyer, Morley Safer, and Ed Bradley; the celebrity segments of the show; the polarizing investigative segments; and the internal procedures in his shop, as well as at CBS News, that led to the unprecedented success of a newsmagazine. Hewitt understands how fortunate he is in his career, becoming wealthy in the bargain, so his tone is consistently upbeat and almost entirely celebratory. Among the few targets of his rare barbs are the makers of the recent film The Insider, which portrays a fictional Hewitt as something less than honorable. Recommended for all libraries. Steve Weinberg, Univ. of Missouri Journalism School, Columbia (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Prologuep. 1
1 Forty-five Minutes from Broadwayp. 9
2 Oh, What a Lovely Warp. 17
3 The Emerald Cityp. 39
4 New Frontiersp. 65
5 The Battle of the TV Executivesp. 81
6 60 Minutes of Prime Timep. 103
7 What Makes a Great Storyp. 115
8 Hitting Our Stridep. 131
9 Corporate Politics and Holy Warsp. 155
10 Razzle Dazzlep. 173
11 Big Tobaccop. 185
12 Striking the Right Balancep. 207
13 News Business, Show Business, and Nobody's Businessp. 219
14 The Televised Futurep. 239
Epiloguep. 253
The 60 Minutes Honor Rollp. 257
Indexp. 259