And So It Goes

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

In the two decades since she began her career as a television journalist, Linda Ellerbee has been witness to her share of presidential primaries, senate debates, urban crises, and royal weddings, and has served as co-anchor of various NBC newsmagazines: WEEKEND, OVERNIGHT, SUMMER SUNDAY. Network news has provided her with a wealth of stories to tell in a style that is witty, sometimes brashly glib, sometimes honest and heartfelt. AND SO IT GOES is written just as television news is written: with short sentences that get to the point quickly, emphatically. It is a style that makes the work very readable. The content makes it more so.

Although she may be accused of being cynical, Ellerbee does betray a sense of idealism. Her account of the production of OVERNIGHT, an intelligent, inventive, and thoughtful late-night newsprogram that won Columbia University’s prestigious Dupont award, is most revealing of the forces which shape television news and the feelings which go into it. When its cancellation was announced after seventeen months because of poor ratings, viewers sent protest letters, held a candlelight march, formed committees to save it, even sent money. Said NBC News President Reuven Frank, “It was our finest hour of news, and remains the model for an hour news program, but merely being the best is not enough.” As Ellerbee would say, “And so it goes....”

As a woman correspondent in a profession which has only lately begun to acknowledge that women may be able to do more than simply answer a phone, Ellerbee is well acquainted with the stratagems of sexism. However barbed her humor may be when discussing the prejudices of her colleagues, though, she manages to maintain a level-headed professionalism throughout.

In spite of her disclaimer that “the only people in my business worth a damn are those who haven’t written a book about television let me say right now that this isn’t a book about television news,” AND SO IT GOES is an entertaining and insightful account of an often cockeyed world.