Tomorrow’s News Tonight 

11 February 2016 tbs.pm/8533

Independent Television’s arrival in the North-East of England brought with it television’s second news service – ITN. Here The Viewer, Tyne Tees Television’s listings magazine, introduces the new news and the new newsreaders in their first edition in January 1959.

 

TTT-15The newscaster finished reading his report on the death of veteran musical staff Violet Loraine, rose and walked across the studio to an old bell-type gramophone.

There, while several million ITV viewers watched curiously, he put on a record and the voice of Violet Loraine singing If You Were The Only Girl In The World” wafted through the studio.

The human touch

It is this kind of fresh imaginative approach that has made the initials “ITN” symbols of television news reporting at its best. “ITN,” one critic said recently, “puts the human touch into the news without losing the facts.”

Pioneer of the new approach is Robin Day, senior newscaster. Thirty-four and a bachelor, Day has been with ITN ever since the historic opening broadcast on September 22, 1955.

His phenomenal rise to fame was capped in 1957 when impressive collection of TV high-ups, both BBC and commercial, voted him “TV Personality of the Year”

The secret of his success? Complete sincerity, combined with a razor-sharp mind and a dry laconic sense of humour.

The fact that he began his career as a lawyer makes him a formidable opponent for anyone who tries to become evasive during interviews.

Reported one ecstatic woman colonist: “He shoots the news at you, bang, bang, bang! When interviewing he corners his victims like a mongrel terrier.”

Also unmarried and an ex-lawyer is the second of ITN’s three regular newscasters, 6ft 2in rugby playing Huw Thomas.

Like another one-time ITN newscaster, Ludovic Kennedy, Huw once stood for Parliament as a Liberal candidate.

“I didn’t lose my deposit, either,” he says, with the soft Welsh smile which has made him a popular favourite with women viewers.

The third member of the team, Antony Brown, is a former actor and scriptwriter with the BBC. Unlike his two bulky colleagues, Brown has a distinctly lean and hungry look (“The Sinatra of the newsroom,” one fan called him.)

“Your popularity rating,” says Brown, “seems to depend on how much at ease you are in front of the cameras.”

It would be unfair, of course, to suggest that the newscasters alone are responsible for ITN’s incredible success over the past three years.

The skill and loyalty of backstage staff – Editor Geoffrey Cox (previously assistant editor of the News Chronicle and a CBE in the New Year’s Honours List), reporters, sub-editors, cameraman – have resulted in many sensational scoops.

And now ITN coverage of world events is better than ever. For, by recent agreement with CBS of America, the two TV networks will be sharing their overseas news facilities – with ITN supervising news coverage in Europe, the Commonwealth and Middle East, and CBS America, the Pacific and Far East.

It’s one further step forward in ITN’s plan to bring the world closer than ever to your fireside.

PLUS…

all the latest from the NORTH-EAST

 

Weeks of patient scheming, days of trial runs and hours of concentrated work will lie behind the first five-minute broadcast of TTT’s local news (6.5 Thursday, January 15). The man behind the organisation is 30-year-old News Editor Terence Wynn, a journalist who has spent all his working life on local and national newspapers in his native North-East.

He and his 27-year-old assistant, Brian Harrison – another North Country journalist who is also TTT’s Sports Editor – have personal knowledge of almost every newspaperman in the area.

There are now 120 correspondents on Wynn’s list. From early morning until late evening they are in constant touch with “copytakers” in the TTT newsroom.

The items which eventually find their way onto the newscaster’s script are selected from the mass of material they provide. News of wider interest is also passed on to ITN in London.

“The spoken word isn’t our only concern,” says Terence. “In bringing the North-East to the North-East – in as human and entertaining away as we can – we need not only to talk about what is happening also SHOW it happening.”

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