07.17.2005 12:24 PM
CBS News revamps online presence

CBS News President Andrew Heyward took steps last week to move his organization beyond television and to reverse its declining fortunes.

CBS News is aggressively expanding its Internet capabilities to offer a 24-hour news network with a video jukebox that allows consumers to construct online newscasts. Called The EyeBox, viewers can build newscasts from exclusive Web video, material already broadcast on the network, and archival material.

The updated CBSNews.com Web site also will incorporate a blog — called Public Eye — that will allow CBS News executives and reporters to respond to questions and complaints from the public.

The advertiser-supported Web site will offer free access to more than 25,000 video clips. CBS reporters will be encouraged to frequently contribute video reports to the site instead of simply waiting for the next television broadcast.

CBS hopes the redesign can also help attract more young people to its news programming. But the changes more broadly reflect an effort to expand the reach of CBS News, which has been outmatched both on television and online.

The network has decided to treat its online news site much the way other networks treat their cable networks. Its correspondents and producers will create video news reports throughout the day that will be distributed only on the Web site. In addition, Web users will be able to see most of the breaking-news reports used on the network’s daily broadcasts, though they will not be able to watch entire programs.

CBS’s contracts with its affiliated TV stations prohibit replaying most of its broadcast programs over the Web. To get around that, Bob Schieffer, the anchor of The CBS Evening News, will host of a somewhat shorter edition for the Web.

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