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I'm an assistant professor at the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University, where I teach and research how news sites can better reach their audiences. I received my Ph.D. from the Missouri School of Journalism at the University of Missouri where I was one of the founding editors of MyMissourian.com, a citizen journalism site for Columbia, Mo. Before graduate school, I worked as a community newspaper editor in Southern Utah and Southern California.

Rooney’s Replacement: Lewis Black

I’ve been stewing about this for two weeks, and last night was the final nail in the coffin. I used to idolize Andy Rooney. I know I’m weird, but as a teen I watched a lot of 60 Minutes, and when I was preparing for a humorous oral interpretation competition, I picked up one of his books and thought it would be funny to memorize and perform some of his most memorable essays. I’m glad I settled for George Carlin’s “Icebox Man” routine instead.

Now, I can’t stand Mr. Rooney, and I think he’s an anachronism that CBS needs to mercifully shut down. The reason I’m most angry is a commentary 60 Minutes aired Sept. 27 where the irascible Rooney complains about having to take a vacation. (I’ve embedded it below.) Then Sunday night he complained about getting too much sleep. How out of touch can this guy be? I found it offensive that during a recession when most of us are glad to be employed at all and many people are working two jobs just to make ends meet that he can complain about such mundane things. It’s easy to want to go to work or get up in the morning when you make millions of dollars for blabbering.

If 60 Minutes is serious about reaching a new audience and embracing the Internet, I’m sorry, but the shows producers need to give Andy a golden parachute. These two commentaries clearly demonstrate that he has lost touch with his audience, unless the show counts his audience only as other grouchy, bushy eye-browed old men.

Back when 60 Minutes II was still on the air in 2006, P.J. O’Rourke did an admirable job. Why not invite him back? He fits the show’s demographic well. Or why not embrace someone who really understands the ‘Net? How about Wil Wheaton? OK, that’s a stretch, but what about Rick Reilly or Bill Simmons, who both make ESPN worth visiting.

Actually, I think the perfect replacement, based on the outstanding work he has done on The Daily Show is Lewis Black. He’s a bit edgier that Rooney, but he’ll attract an entirely new audience for the network. I’d start tuning in again for more reasons that the start of the Amazing Race was pushed back by football. A new generation needs to see the good work correspondents such as Scott Pelley, Steve Kroft, Leslie Stahl, Byron Pitts, Bob Simon and Lara Logan are doing. But it’s less likely to happen as long as Rooney’s in his old roost.

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5 Responses to “Rooney’s Replacement: Lewis Black”

  1. Kevin #

    Lewis would be great. I haven’t watched Rooney in forever, and watching the clip you embedded reminded me A LOT of when I was judging opinion columns for the Kansas Junior College Newspaper Association. How lame was that?

    Ugh. I’m glad I don’t have TV. :)

    October 13, 2009 at 4:18 pm
  2. Hans #

    What’s lame? Judging columns or having no TV? I don’t think either is that lame actually. Did Rooney remind you of the Junior College columns because his was so amateurish? Thanks for the response!

    October 13, 2009 at 4:21 pm
  3. Are you a professional journalist? You write very well.

    October 17, 2009 at 10:58 am
  4. Hmm… I read blogs on a similar topic, but i never visited your blog. I added it to favorites and i’ll be your constant reader.

    October 18, 2009 at 4:07 pm
  5. Hans #

    Thanks for the new comments. Sorry it took me a bit to approve them. I still consider myself a professional journalist even though I’m more of an academic now. I hope you keep reading

    October 19, 2009 at 10:54 am

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