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 AJR  The Beat

From AJR,   December 1997  issue

Denver's Muse No More   


By Debra Puchalla
Debra Puchalla is AJR's associate editor and deputy editor of Martha Stewart Living.      

As CBS ' Denver affiliate goes Hollywood, TV veteran Reynelda Muse leaves anchordom.

When Muse, 50, started as Colorado's first female and first black anchor at KCNC (then KOA-TV ) in 1968, she was following, locally, the path of the networks' female trailblazers: Nancy Dickerson , Pauline Frederick and Barbara Walters .

"I've seen a lot happen," she says. "From 16 millimeter film to black and white to color..from videotape to digital."

But recent changes, she says, haven't all been good. This fall CBS announced that it would reclaim the 6:30 slot at KCNC and 10 other stations and replace the news with the new "Hollywood Squares." "It's been a long career and a wonderful experience," Muse says, "but I think it's time to move on, really."

So after 24 years at KCNC and five years at CNN , during the all-news network's first days as one of its first anchors she plans to work solo, on independent projects.

Muse, who has produced several documentaries, including one on a turn-of-the-century all-black Colorado town, says she is especially interested in projects about African American culture and history. "There's a tremendous need to bring to a visual format a lot of the stories that have been left out of the history books," she says.

And she says she's "somewhat disenchanted" with TV news, given that many topics are shortchanged by today's fast-paced, low standard environment. "If you look at recent shows, there's a lot more promotional material, promoting the network shows, promoting this and that," she says. "If you look at the actual story content for hard news, it's going down.

"It's just not as satisfying," she adds. "This bottom-line economy and market we find ourselves in is perhaps driving these decisions. They're probably cost effective, but I don't think they're good journalism."