With Katie Couric’s departure from CBS News I find it increasingly difficult to remember who the evening anchors are on the national news networks (ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC). Last night I saw a promotion in the New York market to watch the evening news on NBC with Sue Simmons. As someone that does not watch evening news it seemed to me that Sue Simmons has been around for ages. I was right. She started in New York on ‘Live at Five’ with Chuck Scarborough in 1980. This means Ms. Simmons has been on the air in the New York metropolitan area for more than 30 years. She is far from unique. New York television newscaster Ernie Anastos will be 68 years old in July and has been on the air in New York since 1978.
Since most Americans get their news from a number of news sources and nearly 60% get their news from both online and offline services (source Pew Research Center http://bit.ly/m3rAl1) it surprises me that television news has not already gone by the wayside. I have respect for the professional abilities of longtime newscasters like Sue Simmons, Chuck Scarborough (still on the air also) and Ernie Anastos but I am guessing the only reason they are still on the air is that the local networks have not figured out programming that would draw more viewers in the same time slot – and accordingly, command more advertising dollars.
Another essay from Pew Research http://bit.ly/kFuV87 on the State of the News Media 2011 discusses both the durability and decline of television network news. (I am aware the newscasters I am noting are local affiliate newscasters). I am postulating that television newscasters are truly a vanishing breed and we will never see again a newscaster endure multiple decades on air.
And the most trusted ‘national’ newscaster in the United States today is….Jon Stewart. What does that tell you?
Hyper-local sites like AOL’s Patch (http://www.patch.com) offer news and information on an individual town basis. I think Patch could be seriously upgraded and can see a time in the near future where video coverage of local events (updated every 3 or 4 hours) could be made available on a website. It would be ad supported both within the broadcast as well as on the page itself. I’m not sure a subscription would work for something like that. But having video and stories from your local town – news, events, and sports (videos of kid’s and high school sports would be a huge draw) is relevant and highly engaging.
I like to watch Bloomberg News and have in on in the office all day. Do you watch the evening news? Do you watch the morning news or any television news for that matter?