Television news may still be the most popular local-news source for most people in the US, but it's losing ground to internet news and social networking, and in some cases even failing to outpace traditional newspapers. According to a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism, although 74 …
If you've ever watched American news on TV...
...you'll not be surprised that its losing out to every other source of news.
Judging by the newscasts I've seen, US TV news reporting is the worst in the world. It seems carefully designed to keep the voters ignorant rather than seeking to inform.
I remember watching the prime ABC evening newscast in LA a while back, because there had been a significant political upset here that I thought they might cover. Fat chance. This was a full hour's news program and it broke down this way:
- in the first 10 minutes they covered four breaking stories. Three were the sort of thing that might have made the local news here on a slow day. One was about a row of three shops in Ventura that had caught fire and the other two were even more forgettable.
- the fourth story was about some fairly minor Washington politics and was covered in much the same way as the BBC might cover East European politics.
- the remaining 50 minutes was sport(!).
how it should be
it sounds like you were watching a local ABC news broadcast, not the national ABC broadcast (which would not cover things like fires in Ventura). I watch the national NBC news nightly along with CNN/CNBC and local fox news (bay area). When I want local news I go to local stations (and fast forward though the national stuff they cover), if I want national news I go to the national stations. I watch CNBC mostly for entertainment, it's fun to watch the world's economy go down the tubes.
only thing I really use the intertubes for is tech news which thereg is most of it.
as for keeping the voters ignorant -- most of the voters want to be ignorant, because ignorance is bliss. If they knew the truth they would get depressed and not spend as much. People rag on americans that don't know what is going on in the world thinking that they want to know what's going on in the world. The vast majority don't give a crap and just care about their own little circles of influence. The more I learn about what's going on in the world and see past the lies and large scale ponzi schemes being used to try to keep our economies (whether it's U.S. or europe or China or whatever) a float the more I understand why so many people would rather just not know, because there is really nothing they can do about it.
News or Infotainment?
I think one of the big problems with the TV news is that they do less and less reporting of the news and more and more reporting of "the lives of celebrities" and other junk.
Even CNN's morning show is becoming a fluffy "Good Morning America" style broadcast.
I gave up on TV news when they gave up on reporting actual news.
The "news" shows seem to show nothing but "local flavour" stories, so anybody with a view beyond their own back fence feels unsatisified. And the "current affairs" shows (which used to provide "in depth" analysis) now spend half their time "whistle blowing" on the local scam artist, and the other half on celebutard fluff items.
I get all my news from...
... The Register!
Abandon all hope...
I find I get a better sense of what is going on in the USA by watching "The Daily Show With John Steward" and "The Colbert Report") than the actual news shows. Between the two of them, they lampoon both sides of the fence and so I actually get an idea of the news rather than what the station sponsors feel I should know (I'm looking at you, Fox News).
Hardly surprising that TV is still superior
As the BBC, at least, seem to have dumbed down their internet 'news' to three-paragraph stories; or possibly worse, one liners with a three-minute video. At least the news - say Newsnight, or Channel 4 news - on TV has a little more detail, even if half of it is taken with pointless 'I'm standing outside number ten, but the PM isn't here' outside broadcasts and tedious "James", "Thanks Mavis, over to Charlie" badinage.
The Radio 4 drivetime offerings - Today and PM - are far superior to anything on the boob tube.
It has struck me as odd for years that since every story is scripted or subtitled there's no real reason why the whole story can't appear on t'internet, as read, but the BBC seems to have a real concern that it might alienate its online audience if it gives more than a snippet of information.
It is the radio for me.
Especially BBC Radio 4 or the world Service.
I can do things on the move whilst listening in to the programme. you can't do that with the goggle box or the news over the internet.
But mixing BBC Radio and their web site and in particular 'From our own correspondent' is very enlightening. iPlayer & Podcasts ensure I don't miss progs that are broadcast when I'm at work.
As for TV news? Nah. Hardly ever watch it.
As for US TV news? Well, the least said the better. Content free sections between the more important events, the Adverts.
Whilst we're on the subject....
Similarly to you Steve, I frequently listen to Radio 4 or the World Service whilst busy with DIY/gardening/driving. (God how old does that make me feel to say that!)
When in my car my stereo is pretty much permanently tuned to Radio 4 as most music-based radio around here is not to my taste and I prefer to just play my own music or perhaps even stream internet radio if music is what I'm after. A lot of Radio 4's non-news/current affairs output is often pretty dire however (I'm thinking of Libby Purves's touchy-feely-fest "Midweek" and some of the 6.30 so-called "comedy" shows).
Seems strange to me that we do not have a 24 hour FM news station in this country. Would it not be possible to broadcast the excellent World Service over FM?
I agree about R4 news programming, but...
... Humphrey Littleton's characterisation of the Today Programme as '20 minutes of news and comment packed into an exciting two hour package' has never been truer. Even in the 30 minute six o'clock news they stop about 17 minutes in to give 'the headlines again'. For goodness sake, if my attention span was that poor, I'd be listening to Radio 1.
Rolling news is just the same half dozen stories over and over again for hours. *THAT* is why the Internet is so much better for news, and why the serious news programmes are starting to bore people senseless. Just as someone pointed out above, you get actually get a greater breadth of news from satire: waiting a week then watching Mock the Week / HIGNFY or listening to the Now Show or the News Quiz. Or waiting a fortnight, then reading Private Eye.
The trouble with TV news is...
...it's so out of date (and western). E.g. when UARS was coming down, I used livestream for tracking, a couple of other forum sites and a Twitter feed in order to find out what was going on.
If something is happening in another country I use a TV app or streaming website from that country rather than waiting for our news channels' take on what's happening.
The point they are missing is that news gathering has changed. Sky just lobs in a reporter when something is happening, the BBC does jack until their lawyers say OK and ITV's idea of news is reporting on some celeb's bum boil.
What they should be doing is gathering and presenting the best feeds (especially for "live" events) and in the case of the BBC, red buttoning those feeds via a tailored UI and letting the viewer decide their own interpreation of what's happening. They can do their "authorititive" bit after the event once the dust has settled.
I mean FFS, I can watch the live data feed for F1 on a free app and at the end of Q3 I can see the data delay on the TV is about 5 seconds; so their "news" is out of date even then.
But that's because you want raw data. Most of us prefer to have someone who knows what they are talking about assimilate the data and then give us the condensed version. It's great that the raw stuff is out there but since I don't speak every langauge under the sun, the local news broadcasts are of minimal use to me.
As for F1, a 5 second delay isn't the end of the world. I can't think of any decision I need to make that requires the news of people parading around a ciruit in expensive cars that will be affected by this lag.