Here is a beginning of a report from the Project For Excellence In Journalism on the status of television networks. Please read the entire report and be ready to discuss in class. Also keep in mind that your test on Monday will include questions based on this report, the television chapter in your book and the lecture from Dr. Roger Fransecky.
By the Project For Excellence In Journalism
Heading into 2009, there were some small signs of promise in network news. Viewership of the evening newscasts actually rose in the November, December and January following the 2008 presidential election. It dipped in February and March 2009, but was up again in April.
Was it the economy and a sense among viewers that they needed the synthesis of taped packages they couldn’t get on cable talk shows? Or was it enthusiasm and curiosity about the incoming president? Or some new shift caused by DVRs or the popularity of network websites bringing people back to the networks?
Whatever it was, time wouldn’t sustain it. By May, the audience spikes dissipated. For the year, network news audiences had fallen 500,000 more from the year before, less of a drop than in many years but nevertheless a continuing decline. Most of the losses came at ABC’s World News, down 444,000 viewers year to year. NBC Nightly News actually grew by 65,000 viewers. CBS Evening News remained in third place. The year ended with a change at the ABC anchor desk, with Diane Sawyer replacing Charles Gibson. As usual, the new anchor attracted a sampling of curious new viewers, increasing audience numbers, however briefly. Sawyer’s arrival meant that, for the first time, two of the three nightly network newscasts were anchored by women.
You can read the entire report here.