Early television had a serious side. At the start of the 1950s, news programs consisted of mini-broadcasts accompanied by newsreel footage. Radio newscasters turned to television and switched from being the voice to the face of the news. These highly trusted sources brought thought-provoking images of news stories to the American public. For instance, in 1954, Edward R. Murrow began reporting on the McCarthy anti-communist hearings, and it helped bring an end to the investigations.
Evening news shows became a staple for many American families. In 1963, Walter Cronkite at CBS headed up the first 30-minute nightly news broadcast. Later that year, NBC entered the fray with the "Huntley-Brinkley Report," but ABC didn't join in until 1967. Sixty-three also saw a monumental special news broadcast: the funeral of President John F. Kennedy. More than 90 percent of all American homes with televisions tuned in [source: Audio Engineering Society].