Fifteen years ago next month MSNBC went on the air. If you recall your cable news history, you remember the date: July 15, 1996. You might also remember what put MSNBC on the map in the first week — when MSNBC graphics didn’t even have maps. TWA Flight 800 crashed after takeoff from JFK.
Since there was no TVNewser (did the word “blog” even exist then?) here’s how the NYTimes surveyed the cable coverage of the crash on day two of MSNBC’s existence:
The crash offered the first lens-to-lens matchup between CNN and the new all-news cable channel, MSNBC. CNN demonstrated its experience by picking up fast on the story, bringing in witnesses, aviation experts, Coast Guard spokesmen, former safety officials and so forth, while the MSNBC man, Brian Williams, was still depending somewhat distractedly on wire-service copy and vamping with a display of his knowledge of airplanes.
And maps. Real printed-on-paper maps that Williams held up to show viewers where the crash occurred.
Anyway, fast-forward 15 years and MSNBC is planning a party. Interestingly, the party for the network known as The Place for Politics, will be held in will be held in Washington, DC. FishbowlDC has more on that. MSNBC is also planning a party for New York employees sometime next month. Fox News Channel also celebrates its 15th anniversary this year. FNC went on the air October 7, 1996.
TVNewser was around for MSNBC’s 10th anniversary. See here…