Looking Back 60 Years On The "CBS TV News"

douglas edwards, cbs tv news
"Good evening, everybody," the broadcast begins. "Here's the news picture tonight."

Truth be told-in the early days of what was then called the "CBS TV News," there weren't many pictures-barely enough to fill the 15-minute broadcast, reports CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric. And the film was often several days old.

The newscaster-the term "anchor" had not yet been coined-was 30-year-old Douglas Edwards, who'd recently made the transition from radio to the new medium.

There was no TelePrompTer yet. Doug consulted notes in his hands or on cue cards and ad-libbed.

The program's creative genius-the legendary Don Hewitt-once tried to get Edwards to learn braille, so he could read while looking directly into the camera. But Doug said, "No thanks."

On that first night, the broadcast aired on just three stations-in New York, Philadelphia and Baltimore. Soon, Boston and Washington joined the fledgling CBS network. And when the broadcast finally reached Los Angeles, Doug trumpeted the news.

"Good evening everybody, coast to coast," he announced.

Doug pioneered anchoring from the field. And while back in the studio, he interviewed everyone from a former first lady to a lady with a less lofty title, as Doug remembered some years later.

"Here is one of our lighter interviews-a Ms. Cranberry … or Ms. Somebody-I don't know," he said.

Edwards and Hewitt would invent and reinvent the network television newscast as they went along.

But it began on May 3, 1948.