PHOENIX (AP) _ Walter Cronkite laments the emphasis on celebrity coverage in daily journalism.

''To get the daily news is getting more and more difficult out of the newspaper or television,'' the retired CBS anchorman said Tuesday.

He said some newspapers are emphasizing shorter stories and celebrity coverage in a mistaken attempt to imitate television.

''That's not the answer,'' he said. ''The answer is to give more news, not less news.''

Cronkite was at Arizona State Universitiy to present columnist George Will with the university award that bears Cronkite's name.

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LOS ANGELES (AP) - Lionel Richie was cleared of allegations he plagiarized the work of two other songwriters.

''I can go home and go to sleep now,'' the singer-songwriter said Tuesday after the verdict.

A federal jury found no evidence to prove that Richie listened to a tape of songs by Gene Thompson and Tracy Singleton. They had claimed that parts of their songs were copied in Richie's ''Deep River Woman,'' ''Stuck on You'' and ''Sela.''

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MIAMI (AP) - E.L. Doctorow gave a thumbs-up to the movie version of his novel ''Billy Bathgate.''

''This is a pretty good film based on one of the great novels of our age,'' he joked at the Miami Book Fair International on Monday.

The novel tells the story of New York gangsters in the 1930s.

Doctorow, whose other works of historical fiction include ''Ragtime'' and ''The Book of Daniel,'' was asked why he sets so many of his stories in the past.

''I'm just very slow to catch up,'' he said.

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LONDON (AP) - A gallery in West Palm Beach, Fla., was chosen as the first site outside Europe for a show of Prince Charles' watercolors and sketches.

The three-month exhibition will open at the Norton Gallery and School of Art on Nov. 24, Buckingham Palace announced Tuesday.

Among the 82 watercolor sketches are scenes painted in nearly a dozen countries, including Britain and Botswana.

The proceeds will go to charity.

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MADRID, Spain (AP) - Spanish writer Francisco Ayala topped a field of 44 Spanish and Latin American authors to win the 1991 Miguel de Cervantes prize.

The decision was announced Tuesday by the Ministry of Culture.

The 85-year-old Ayala has published more than 50 books and taught at the University of Chicago and Bryn Mawr College.

The $120,000 prize is the top literary award in the Spanish-speaking world.

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NEW YORK (AP) - Music director Kurt Masur can't figure out why a certain passage of Bruckner's ''Symphony No. 7'' makes his audiences cough.

The work was recorded live during the first week of the New York Philharmonic's season in September.

But Masur said Tuesday thast some passages had to be played again - without an audience - because of repeated coughing.

The recording will be released next week. It is part of a six-year, 32-disc recording contract for the Philharmonic with Teldec.

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LOS ANGELES (AP) - Dennis Hopper won two nominations for cable television's best actor award.

The nominations for the ACE Awards were released Tuesday.

Home Box Office led with 102 nominations, followed by Showtime with 30; the Arts & Entertainment Network with 25; and The Disney Channel with 24.

Winners of the Award for Cable Excellence honors will be announced Jan. 12.

Hopper was recognized for his work in Showtime's ''Paris Trout,'' based on Pete Dexter's award-winning novel about a violent small-town Southern storekeeper, and HBO's ''Double Crossed,'' about a flamboyant drug informer.