New Book: TV's Top Anchors Slip Up, Fall Down

Mar 05, 2013, 09:00 ET from Television Newswriting Workshop

NEW YORK, March 5, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Every night, about 24 million Americans trust their favorite anchors to present the news. But what if viewers found out that many scripts read by anchors are wrong: words misused, grammar confused, facts abused?     

A new book, Weighing Anchors: When Network Newscasters Can't Tell Write From Wrong, points out many deceptions, distortions and delinquencies.

The author, Mervin Block, wrote for Walter Cronkite at CBS and for Frank Reynolds at ABC; he also wrote at NBC. An adjunct at Columbia University's journalism school, he taught broadcast news writing for 30 years. He has written four books about how to write news for broadcast.

In his new book, Block (  discloses case after case where anchors have made mistakes—and worse. Block doesn't swing a hatchet but wields an editor's red pen with care. And flair.

Chapters include "The Overnight Life of Brian"; "Write This Way, Please"; "When Exclusive News is Not Exclusive—and Not Even News," and "Alas, Poor Couric."                                                 

The anchors all have their strengths. But to borrow from the Book of Daniel--and the Book of Block--the anchors have been weighed and found wanting.           

The media critic of TimeOutChicago, Robert Feder, says:
"When network anchors murder the language—which they do night after night—-thank goodness there's Merv Block to perform the autopsy. No one has a better ear or sharper pencil than Merv Block. He's a one-man quality control department for the broadcast news business. His wise and witty dissections of TV's highest-paid poobahs and their verbal blunders are both hilarious and appalling. After reading his collection of spot-on critiques, you'll never watch TV news the same way again."

A broadcast consultant, Valerie Geller, says:
"For anyone interested in TV news, Weighing Anchors is a great read. In his unique and entertaining style, Mervin Block not-so-gently points out broadcasting's high crimes and misdemeanors--from the spectacular to the mundane, offering example after example of what NOT to do to keep your credibility in TV news. This is a fun and delightful book from the very best teacher of the craft of news writing in America."

And a NewsBlues columnist, Mona Scott, says,
"It's a compelling read, especially if you put network anchors like Diane Sawyer, Brian Williams and Scott Pelley, plus CNN's Anderson Cooper, on pedestals."

Publisher, Marion Street Press, Jim Schuette,

SOURCE Television Newswriting Workshop