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November 4, 2004

Network news presidents to meet in public forum on campus

The presidents of the three broadcast networks’ news divisions are scheduled to meet at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 15, in Cubberley Auditorium, where they will discuss the future of electronic journalism.

Titled “Network News and Presidential Elections,” the discussion will be held less than two weeks after a presidential-election campaign in which journalism has been a focal point of criticism. The discussion will be moderated by Richard Wald, the Fred Friendly Professor of Media and Society at Columbia University.

The forum, which is free and open to the public, is sponsored by the John S. Knight Fellowships for Professional Journalists at Stanford.

The three division presidents—Andrew Heyward of CBS News, Neal Shapiro of NBC News and David Westin of ABC News—preside over a form of journalism whose share of the national audience has been declining but which still reaches a huge number of people. During the first presidential debate of 2004, for instance, the three broadcast news networks reached an estimated 42.2 million people, while the three cable news networks (Fox, CNN and MSNBC) reached an estimated 15.2 million people.

Heyward has been with CBS since he started as a news writer at WCBS-TV in New York in 1976. He has been president of the news division since 1996, longer than any other CBS News president other than Richard Salant. Before becoming president, Heyward was executive producer of the CBS Evening News, and earlier, as executive producer of 48 Hours, he was responsible for developing and launching that broadcast, now in its 18th season.

Shapiro has been president of NBC News since 2001. Before that he was executive producer of Dateline NBC, which under his direction was the first primetime network magazine to expand beyond one night a week. It currently airs twice a week. Shapiro came to NBC in 1993 from ABC, where he was a broadcast producer of PrimeTime Live. He had begun his career at ABC in 1980. As president of NBC News, Shapiro is also responsible for the news operations of MSNBC.

Westin has been president of ABC News since 1997, having moved into that position from the job of president of the ABC Television Network; in that position he was responsible for all the divisions of the network, including news, sports and entertainment. He joined Capital Cities/ABC (now ABC Inc.) as vice president and general counsel in 1991. Before that, he had been a partner at Wilmer, Cutler and Pickering. He was a law clerk to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Lewis Powell during the 1978 term.

Wald, the moderator, is a former senior vice president of ABC News. His journalism career began at The New York Herald Tribune, where he rose to managing editor. He has held top news positions at The Washington Post, NBC News and Times-Mirror. He is a member of the Knight Fellowships Board of Visitors.

The Knight Fellowships program brings outstanding mid-career journalists to study for a year at Stanford. More than 700 journalists have been fellows in the program since it began in 1966.



Jim Bettinger, director, Knight Fellowships: (650) 725-1189,

Dawn Garcia, deputy director, Knight Fellowships: (650) 725-1188,


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