Dear Mr. Moonves,
With the announcement that Katic Couric will seek an early end to her contract with The CBS Evening News, and the equally dismal ratings for CBS This Morning, perhaps it is time to look for a more radical approach.
Certainly dumping out of television news is one answer, and perhaps this is what your talks with CNN imply. I think, however, there is a better alternative. I think it is possible to recast CBS News in the mold of the 21st Century – to put the network on the cutting edge of the digital news revolution.
Here is what I propose to you:
For a fraction of what you were paying Katie Couric each year, let me conduct a national search for the best journalistic talent the country has to offer: local news, newspapers, online, radio, wire services – everywhere.
I will deliver to you the most powerful machine for digital newsgathering the world has ever seen. I will take CBS News back to the top.
Let me put them through the most intensive 3 month VJ training bootcamp you can imagine. They’ll not only learn how to shoot, cut and upload, but we’ll expose them to the best journalists, cameramen, editors, legal minds and reporters in the country. A kind of CBS University.
When they graduate, we’ll hire them at $100,000 a year to report for CBS – for the evening news, for the morning news and for CBS News online. They’ll do it from all over the world. They’ll use state-of-the art small digital cameras, edit on laptops and upload to the CBS News website 24-hours a day. They’ll be for CBS News today what ‘Murrow’s Boys’ was for Bill Paley; a small, elite group that will set the standard for television and online journalism for a generation.
We can do this.
The people are there.
The technology is here. And the appetite for high quality/fast turn/ compelling yet inexpensive video content is here as well.
What do you say, Les?
The risk is tiny. 30 of the world’s best new journalists at $100,000 a year is only $3 million. You’re paying Katie $15 million.
I am ready to change the world, if you are.