The State of the News Media 2013: The Changing TV News Landscape

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The Pew Research Center’s findings are small enough not to notice but large enough to be significant. I don’t think there is anything that they have found that has changed TV News that doesn’t have a reason why.

Cable News

The report starts out discussing opinionated reporting. I think there is definitely a place for opinionated news especially from established, well trusted journalists. I think the reason why cable news outlets catch heat for expressing their opinions is because they do not distinguish between opinions and news reporting very well.

Some cable news outlets have even gone far enough to brand themselves as fair and balanced and then overwhelm the viewer with opinions.

I also think that the cable news format has changed so much because they are letting local and network news handle the live coverage and packaged stories about hard news. They have found something different to offer which is their opinion. Since they only reach television consumers that buy cable, I don’t think they have as much of an obligation to be fair and balanced as local and network news, which in theory is free.

It seems like Fox News led the way to opinionated content. I think the other cable news outlets saw the entertainment value and followed suit.

Local News

The study says that most local news outlets stay away from content that depicts the economic strains on the industry. I am not sure if that is true or not but there is value in being honest about how unglamorous the industry is. It makes television reporters and anchors more relatable.

As far as sports, weather and traffic taking up more space in local news, I think viewers expressed that these three were the most useful topics for them. It is true that you can just pick up your device and receive all the information you want about sports, weather or traffic, but I think there is still a great deal of value in hearing someone you trust verify what you have found on your smartphone.

I don’t think live coverage of events has wavered. If it has the industry has learned that not everything has to be live.

The decrease in time a reporter has to tell a story might have to do with the fact that there is so much more to incorporate in a newscast now than there was in 2007. With the emergence of social media and crowd sourcing becoming more common, the newscast has to have more time to make the viewer feel like they are participating in newsgathering rather than just the reporter always being the one to tell the story.

Also the television version of a story also has to compete as well as work with the Twitter version of the story. On Twitter the deadline is always now which changes how people consume their news. I think deadlines are coming a lot sooner for reporters now resulting in shorter pieces.

The decrease in packages and reporters voicing over and telling the story may have to do with less reporters being employed. Lots of industries have downsized personell since 2007 and news is definitely one of them.

Network News

The study shows that network news has stayed steady since 2007. I don’t think loyal viewers of The Today Show, Good Morning America and CBS this Morning like drastic change. Since they integrate so well with local news by switching off coverage, I think the networks are letting local television do the downsizing. That allows them to stay in depth because you are getting the less in depth version from the local news.

Each network is so different. You won’t get the same thing from Good Morning America, The Today Show or CBS this Morning in one single morning. I think they have all distinguished themselves with something different to offer.

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