Gartner: TV, print media operate in different worlds by David Lias What's the difference between television news and the print media?
Michael Gartner knows.
He's had extensive experience in both fields. He shared his observations about the different traits that each form of news-gathering possesses at the Tuesday luncheon meeting of the Vermillion Rotary Club.
"The most important difference was one that never occurred to me at all, until I got into television, and that is the danger," he said, "the risk that television people take every day. There's nothing like it in print."
Television people, he said, must get in the middle of a war or riot with a camera on one shoulder to be able to tell the world, through video images, what is happening.
Newspaper reporters, Gartner said, can stand on the sidelines with a notebook and observe, and file a story from the safety of a motel room. Gartner is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and former president of NBC News. He visited The University of South Dakota on Feb. 5-6 as a journalist in residence.
While in Vermillion, Gartner led a writing workshop for students at 4 p.m. Feb. 5 in the Hoy Room at the Coyote Student Center. He delivered a public lecture there that evening.
Gartner is a former editor and president of The Des Moines Register and Tribune and former page-one editor of The Wall Street Journal. He won the Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing in 1997, when he was editor and co-owner of The Tribune in Ames, Iowa.
"Television can't deal in facts," Gartner said, describing yet another set of traits not shared by the two types of news media, "and print can't deal in images. Television can't explain dairy price supports, it can't explain wheat prices, it can't explain the changes in tax laws that President Bush is going to propose."
Television news, he said, doesn't have the time to get into such specifics.
"On the other hand, all the words in the world can't describe the earthquake that occurred in India recently," Gartner said. "You have to have seen it on television to understand the devastation."
Gartner, a trustee of the Freedom Forum, is currently writing an authorized biography of Allen H. Neuharth, a 1950 graduate of USD who is the founder of USA Today and The Freedom Forum.
The Freedom Forum, based in Arlington, Va. is a nonpartisan, international foundation dedicated to free press, free speech, and free spirit for all people. The foundation focuses on four main priorities: newsroom diversity, the Newseum (and interactive museum of news), First Amendment issues and world press freedom.