Breaking news of today comes to us via our phones, our computers, and our televisions. And some of us still enjoy the delivery of our printed-on-paper, daily newspapers. In 1968, with the war in Vietnam raging, unrest around the country, U.S. presidential election campaigns beginning, and plenty of local happenings, San Franciscans wanted their daily news. In January, the three major San Francisco newspapers, the San Francisco Chronicle, the San Francisco Examiner and the San Francisco News Call-Bulletin, went on strike.
During the 53 days of the newspaper strike, our Public Broadcasting Station, KQED, responded to the City’s hunger for news by creating public television’s first daily news program. It was called, “Newspaper of the Air,” and later was renamed, “Newsroom.”
After the newspapers strike was settled, the KQED news program continued to air. Ironically, when some newspaper reporters and columnists delivered their information on “Newsroom,” it gave San Franciscans an opportunity to see and hear the people who were writing their news. Here is a clip from the live show on KQED on December 31, 1968, and it includes host Mel Wax, SF Chronicle columnist Art Hoppe making humorous predictions for the new year, and a brief appearance by Mimi London, the only woman at the table.
Through the years, KQED has continued to present news and analysis.“Newsroom” was replaced by a weekly show called “This Week in Northern California.” In October, a new show called “KQED Newsroom” will be launched on television, radio and online. The KQED announcement says, “The title ‘KQED Newsroom’ is a nod to KQED’s groundbreaking 1968 program, which was the first nightly news series on public television and informed the 1975 launch of the national ‘Macneil/Lehrer Report’.”
The show will be hosted by three-time Emmy Award winning journalist Thuy Vu, who emigrated from Vietnam with her family in 1975. Locally, Bay Area viewers have seen Vu on ABC 7, CBS 5 and KTVU 2. Here is a clip of her reporting for CBS 5 in 2008: