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Radio and television
Couric takes over. In the long history of the CBS Evening News, there had been only three permanent anchors: Douglas Edwards, Walter Cronkite and Dan Rather. Now there is a fourth. Katie Couric (CBS biography) debuted as the newscast's latest anchor last night. Couric is a legitimate journalist who was part of NBC's news team covering the Pentagon and the Gulf War in 1991. For the last 15 years she has been the host of NBC's Today Show, and her work has not been considered to be on the front lines of reporting. Her main job at CBS is not to deliver the news but to deliver an audience (preferably one that is a little younger than the one CBS has). Here are a few stories and reviews of her first night: New York Times, Washington Post, NPR. (Posted Sept. 6, 2006)
An honest mistake -- or something more. When the CBS News show "48 Hours" aired a segment a couple of weeks ago about a murder in Columbia, Mo., it altered a picture of the front page of the Columbia Daily Tribune the show used as a graphic. CBS has acknowledged the mistake, although it has not explained very well how it happened. But there is evidence CBS still doesn't understand the seriousness of its action -- particularly given the conclusion the show drew about the case.
More (Posted Feb. 26, 2006)
War News Radio. Students at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania have created an Internet radio station devoted to covering the war in Iraq. But their station, called War News Radio, is different. Instead of gathering Associated Press and other news service reports and repackaging them, they are creating their own reports using sources that are not often heard from and technology that is not often used by news organizations. The students troll the web for sources of information about Iraq – many of them in Iraq itself. Then they use an Internet telephone service called Skype to call these folks up, interview them and put together their stories. The result is something you would not hear on most radio news broadcasts, even National Public Radio, which, by the way, did a story about War News Radio in January and interviewed two of its producers. Another story about War News Radio has just appeared in the Los Angeles Times. War News Radio is the product of some innovative thinking and initiative, and it could happen anywhere. (Posted Feb. 20, 2006)
Super Bowl advertising 2005. Advertisers at this year's Super Bowl will spend $2.4 million to reach the 90 million people in the television audience for 30 seconds. That figure is up slightly from the $2.3 million they spent last year. Traditionally, the Super Bowl draws the single largest television audience of any show during the year. Here is a Wall Street Journal article about advertising for this year's game -- and not just the television kind. The Super Bowl provides a major opportunity for what is known as "event marketing." This means that advertisers take advantage of a crowd people that might be friendly toward their product. As the article explains:
It all might seem like small potatoes compared with the splashy commercials that have turned the Super Bowl into the ad industry's annual showcase. This year, a 30-second spot during the game will be seen by an estimated 90 million viewers at an average cost to the advertiser of $2.4 million.
But as consumers get ever more savvy and ad-resistant, marketers are diverting bigger chunks of their ad budgets to individual, hands-on marketing experiences. Strangely enough, it makes sense to bring these personalized product pitches to the Super Bowl: Like home viewers who shush their friends during commercial breaks, people at the Super Bowl tend to be in a marketing-friendly mood.
But, if you are still interested in the television stuff, an impressive archive of information about Super Bowl advertising -- including some of the ads themselves -- can be found at SuperBowl-Ads.com. (Posted Jan. 24, 2005)
RTNDA. One of the best ways to keep up with the state of broadcast news is at the Radio and Television News Directors Association web site. The foundation for the organization produces an extensive report each year on broadcast news and the public's reaction to it. Those reports are usually in PDF forms, and they may take a while to download, but they contain some excellent information.
State of radio and television. The Project for Excellence in Journalism has produced an extensive report on American news media. The report contains separate sections on network television, local television, cable television and radio, all of which are worth reading. The section on local television begins this way:
In nearly every aspect of local television - from viewership to economics to ownership structure - there are mixed signals of health and challenge. The next few years may determine whether the industry ultimately heads up or down. But at least one survey shows more people who work in local television news are pessimistic than optimistic about the industry's future.
Viewership of local news has begun to decline, much as it did years earlier in network news. Since 1997, the share of available viewers commanded by local early evening newscasts around the country has dropped 18 percent. . . (More)