Wednesday, December 01, 2004

More on network news

Continuing on from this morning's editorial, here are a few links for further reading on Dan Rather's retirement from the anchor's desk --he's staying on at "60 Minutes" -- and on the general state of broadcast media.

Liberal media critic Eric Alterman isn't
sad to see Rather exit. "Forgive me, but I’ve got no sympathy for Dan Rather, and I don’t think it’s only because I've met the guy maybe ten times and he’s never once remembered. As a rule, I make it a practice to dole out my sympathy only to people who make less than say, ten million bucks a year."

The Chicago Tribune's Steve Johnson
"The median age of the newscast viewers is 60, about 10 years older than for network programming and 25 years beyond the age of the average American. But network newscasts have held their audience better than networks as a whole, losing just 23 percent of their audience share between 1993 and 2001, while network prime-time programming over that time has dropped 42 percent, according to a report by the Project for Excellence in Journalism.
"The same report notes that 'the 'Today' show and 'Good Morning America' bring in nearly three times the revenue of their evening news counterparts," although they are on-air four times as long, 2 hours versus 30 minutes."

Newsday's Verne Gay
quotes a former NBC News exec in summing up the state of the evening news on the Big 3 networks. "The anchor 'used to be almost biblical, but that's no longer possible,' says Reuven Frank, the former NBC News president who anointed Brokaw as the 'Nightly News' solo anchor. 'We're in the second stage of very fast-moving, hardworking anchors who can go anywhere and report from anywhere. I'm not sure what the third stage is.'

Of course, there's always the cranky watchdogs on the right and the left.