“I Pretty Much Know What I Need to Know”

17 Jul ’06

Via Paul Kedrosky, David Carr’s column in the NYT on the impact that CBS hopes Katie Couric will have on the CBS Evening News. The fly in the ointment is the diminishing relevance of the network news broadcasts to younger viewers and anyone else who gets their news off the ‘net. Paul picks up on extracts from the piece that point to the problem, but for me, the following hit home:

A few machines away, Liz Post, who runs a personal shopping business, was hustling to get through a few more loads. She lives in a news-interested household and is looking forward to a new reason to watch a form that has changed little in decades.

“Maybe they will stop repeating the same story over and over,” she said. “Maybe they have to do that, but it is pretty dumbed-down to begin with. It’s like, ‘I get it, let’s move on.’ ”

“Africa is a mess, the Middle East is blowing up, but I don’t see any teeth in any of these stories,” he said. “People are already informed. You have to give me something more — tell me what you think the truth is — to expect me to take the time to tune in network news.”

“I have Bloomberg, CNN and all of the information coming at me over the Internet every day. By the time I get home, I pretty much know what I need to know and could use a little peace and quiet.”

CBS has announced changes for the broadcast, but simulcasting extracts on radio and keeping Bob Schieffer around a little longer strike me as, well, unresponsive to the problem network news has.

Update: It occurs to me that I haven’t watched a US network news broadcast in perhaps 10 years, and that I do watch Canadian network news broadcasts, but generally only because it’s harder to find varied and rich content online about Canadian news. If it weren’t, I wouldn’t. Meanwhile, elsewhere in the NYT, coincidentally enough a piece on the graying of the record store.

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