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Sign Off

Jon Katz. Bantam Books, $18.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-553-07123-8

In an absorbing, well-paced debut, Katz, a former producer for CBS Morning News , instructs on the inner workings of a television news division. USB News is a major, Manhattan-based TV network where integrity, accuracy and getting the news out first are the major goals. But since high salaries and perks come before corporate budgetary considerations, the station is ripe for a takeover. Peter Herbert, executive producer of Morning in the U.S. , loves his cyclonic, privileged life at the center of world events. When the inevitable takeover occurs, however, decades of loyalties and tradition are obliterated and people are heartlessly dismissed. Though not terminated, Peter is manifestly demoted and, reluctant to accept the new realities, he determines to fight back rather than become part of the hated bottom-line culture. Issues of responsibility, loyalty and compassion in the corporate world are raised in this modern morality tale. (Jan.)