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K-State Today

April 16, 2015

Research on CBS anchors presented at the Popular Culture Association Conference

Submitted by Angela Powers

People who read news on television often become topics of news.

Professor Angela Powers of the A.Q. Miller School of Journalism and Mass Communications, and her graduate student, Chao Meng, presented their research papers on newspaper coverage of two important TV journalists at the national Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association conference on April 3 in New Orleans.

Walter Cronkite was deemed the "most trusted man in American" in the 1970s. Connie Chung was the first Asian American in the 1990s to anchor a network newscast. Both anchored the "CBS Nightly News" at the height of their careers. Chung was breaking ground, not only as one of the first women to anchor network news, but as one of the first Asian Americans to do so. Meng's research findings indicated Chung received negative coverage in everything from being too soft as a reporter to being too tough on interviewees. In 1994, the year Chung was asked to step down from her anchor post, 71 percent of the coverage was negative.

Cronkite, on the other hand, was on top of his game in a different era when male anchors prevailed. Powers' findings indicated he was covered more positively on everything from his reassuring voice to his ability to rally the nation behind events such as the space program. While research indicated these two journalists were covered differently, both figures contributed significantly to society, according to Powers. Chung opened doors for women and multiculturalism in news. Cronkite led the nation through the tumultuous 1960s.