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« The future, on the cheap | Main | Rethinking advertising... in 2005 »

Friday, March 11, 2011


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A couple of comments. Firstly, it is the artificiality of the manufactured crises that are presented when there is no real crisis that has killed much of TV journalism. Secondly, there really isn't a content "business" in the world of news. The media, as I've said a lot lately, isn't in the content business; it's in the advertising business. Where the ad revolution goes, that's where media companies need to go, because that will pay for their (alleged) commitment to journalism.

Andrew Tyndall

...So here's a thought question: How many "times of momentous news" do we experience in a typical month?

Over the years this question has been answered by analyzing how frequently the news of the day is heavy enough for the audience for the broadcast TV networks' nightly newscasts to enjoy a spike. The annual average is roughly one newscast in 20: in other words, normal news 95% of the time, heavy news 5% of the time (or a dozen or so weekdays each year).

On those occasions the newscasts resort to saturation coverage (at least two thirds of their newshole on the Story of the Day). In normal circumstances, the Story of the Day averages about 20% of the daily newshole.


Good points.

My essay leaves off one mitigating factor that doesn't reverse its point, but I think it's worth including here. Not all audiences are equal to advertisers.

I'm not just talking about the niche audiences, or the geo-niche audiences, although they're significant. I mean that we could always gather cheap audiences with tawdry photos, gossip and train-wreck meanness, but the value of those numbers would be lower than what we get for journalistic content, because many advertisers don't want their products associated with bikini photos and celebrity sex tapes.


We're not just failing to tell the stories of US soldiers killed in Afghanistan; we're massively failing to tell the stories of Afghanis killed in Afghanistan (ditto for Iraq). Our unimaginative and fear-mongering coverage of other nations has left the US with a xenophobic public ripe for the picking by Fox News.

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