UPDATED with video: Norah O’Donnell ended her first CBS Evening News broadcast as anchor with a promise for the future and a nod to the past. Quoting Edward R. Murrow’s famous “wires and lights in a box” speech, O’Donnell pledged to use the “instrument” of television “well and with integrity.”
The regime change was not addressed directly on her debut newscast tonight, though the half-hour was loaded with references to CBS News’ legacy of covering the space race and moon mission. (This week marks the 50th anniversary of the moon landing.)
At sign-off, O’Donnell thanked viewers for watching, then said, “There’s a great legacy here at CBS News of the finest journalists. One of them was Edward R. Murrow.” She then quoted (accurately, contrary to an earlier version of this post) Murrow’s 1958 address about television.
She quoted Murrow: “This instrument can teach, it can illuminate, yes, and even it can inspire but it can do so only to the extent that humans are determined to use it to those ends, otherwise it’s nothing but wires and lights in a box. There is a great and perhaps decisive battle to be fought against ignorance, intolerance, and indifference. This weapon of television could be useful.”
Added O’Donnell, “To Mr. Murrow, we will try to use it well and with integrity. From all of us at CBS News, I’m Norah O’Donnell, good night.”