I’m sure the idea isn’t unique, but the Daily Show happened upon an author who is trying to cash in on the notion that the six o’clock news is a dying breed, and I thought it was worth linking to.
I think, for all that Stewart pokes fun at the idea, that there is a bit of validity in the argument. It must be noted that concept of “only” 25 million viewers is a bit ridiculous, but the points that the audience is aging and new sources of information are beginning to take over are factual and undeniably risky for “traditional” newscasters.
The problem for these news programs is that they have failed to keep up with the pace they set. It’s an inevitable occurrence, I suppose, but since television news became a primarily entertainment-driven form of information, it has lost both credibility and momentum. Once, the news was watched because it was informative. Somewhere along there, the company heads decided that they were going to try to increase their audience by innovating the format of the news hour. Rather than in-depth coverage of major issues, the news became a sound bite — even more so than most other shows or media. Since the content was less invigorating, I suppose the thought process went, then the format should be made even more entertaining than most shows.
Well, now we’re in an age of sound bites, and other technologies have surpassed the news in their ability to condense the news into a three-second blip. iPods are mentioned, but I think more important still are websites and blogs, which can easily reduce news to less than a single thought, all the while offering it free of charge and at ones convenience.
Television news standardized the thought that news was to be entertaining. But the television is a media which gets overwhelming when filled with too many flashes of information. As such, the standard has become the laggard, and newscasters really do have to fight for their survival.
And, in my opinion, the best thing that could happen is for the traditional News to die off, and be replaced by one of two things. First, programs ike the Daily Show are a very good successor to regular six o’clock news. They are informative, but deliver entertainment in a different, less choppy manner, which adds to their sustainability and gives them a unique twist. I would much rather watch the Daily Show than CBC News. Also, I think there would be a market for really traditional news, if some business would be willing to take the gamble. If a show were to surface that went back to longer, more in-depth stories, with many different perspectives, I think it might hit off better than the surface information that plagues the news today. While it would depend on a niche audience, for sure, that audience would surely be dedicated to the program, and the owners would have founded a dependable source of income!