OLD Media Moves

What Rukeyser could teach, and has taught TV biz reporters

May 10, 2006

MarketWatch’s Jon Friedman notes that there are some television business journalists who could learn by watching tapes of former Wall Street Week host Louis Rukeyser, and some who obviously have learned a thing or two from the recently deceased business journalism pioneer.

Friedman writes, “CNBC would virtually perform a public service by making Dylan Ratigan — its very excited, and excitable, on-air personality — watch instructive videotapes of Rukeyser at work.

Dylan Ratigan“Ratigan is a smart, knowledgeable journalist in his own right. But subtlety, it’s fair to say, isn’t exactly his strength. I’ve found his endless preening to be unsettling, if not downright wearying. When he conducts interviews, he can seem impatient for the subject to finish talking, so he can start up again himself.

“There was a significant difference between Rukeyser, who was as knowledgeable as anyone in TV history, and the current crop of shouting, look-at-me anti-Rukeysers. The old maestro didn’t feel a need to pump up the volume. He didn’t need to resort to melodrama, either.

“The air was thick was melodrama on May 8 when Ratigan intoned on CNBC: “On the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, I AM Dylan Ratigan.” (I half-expected Ratigan to follow that up by declaring, I AM SPARTACUS, but no such luck.)

“By contrast, Rukeyser’s influence can be seen in CNBC’s Joe Kernen (when he is talking about business news, not his golf game) and Fox’s Neil Cavuto. These are two of the best business commentators on cable TV today because, among other strengths, they show a healthy respect for the intelligence of their viewers.”

Read more here.

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