Birth of the Sound Bite


This article originally appeared in Issue# 50

One of the most dramatic changes in television reporting has to do with the way statements by the president and other top administration officials are handled. Until the early ‘70s, it was common for the White House correspondent to simply introduce a presidential statement with a brief summary and then to run the president's remarks unedited, often for two minutes or more.

Today TV reporters routinely cut an official's remarks into 10- or even 7-second sound bites, then weave these into their own narratiion. It is the journalist, not the official, who speaks to the news audience."

– Daniel Hallin, We Keep America on Top of the World