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CBS News changes leadership in midst of technology transition

Facing major technology transitions both on air and online, CBS News is getting a new president — a man whose role model oversaw one of video technology’s biggest shifts more than 30 years ago.

Sean McManus will now head both CBS News and CBS Sports. McManus has been head of the CBS Sports division since 1996. He began his career at ABC Sports, where the late Roone Arledge set a precedent for a network sports president to also take over a news division.

Just as Arledge used new video and graphics technology to rebuild ABC programming in the 1970s, McManus enters the CBS news division as the network begins a new technological era. Ironically, the same week McManus was appointed, CBS News announced it is now operational with Sony’s XDCAM professional disc technology as its new ENG platform.

Sony’s optical system, whose selection was approved by Heyward, is expected to streamline the CBS News operations and production workflow.

In another major technological shift, CBS News is also set to unveil a major new Web initiative this winter that will allow viewers to build their own newscasts from among hundreds of online video news reports.

McManus replaces Andrew Heyward, who served more than 10 years as head of the CBS News division. The change is effective Nov. 7.

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