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Brian Williams' Memory and the Credibility of Network TV news

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ColumbiaJournalism

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The decision by the NBC television network to suspend superstar news anchor Brian Williams for six months without pay has prompted a closer look at the US network news culture, and the very future of the TV news business. 

Today, Betsy West teaches journalism at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in New York. It’s a gentle and prestigious place for aspiring young reporters. But after 30 years as a top-level producer, reporter and documentarian for ABC, CBS and PBS, this 21 time Emmy award winner is intimately familiar with the rough and tumble stratosphere of an industry whose most trusted public face until last week may have been Brian Williams.

West was a CBS senior vice president in 2005 when iconic news anchor Dan Rather was forced out for getting a story wrong. She says those past controversies differ in one significant way with the digital age outcry over Brian Williams’ public “misremembering.” 

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