Network news undergoing change in faces, roles

Nate Sharir

Network news is facing an epiphany of the times. On Dec. 1, esteemed news anchor Tom Brokaw ended his 21 year tenure as NBC Nightly News anchor. What is more, CBS Evening News anchor Dan Rather announced that he will also be retiring from his position next March. With these figures in broadcast news stepping down from their positions, the competition from other news sources is reaching large proportions.

As the people working for the network news outlets continue to struggle in their effort to fill up to 30 minutes of broadcast, viewers are constantly changing their channels to gain the rapid-fire up-to-the-minute developments that different 24-hour news channels are providing. With the progress of these news sources, people find it easier to simply leave on channels like CNN and C-Span as an insurance policy to catch the latest developments in the news field.

In an effort to compete against these outlets, network news is slowly progressing to attract viewership by showcasing stories that offer more in human interest instead of current events. Some shows, like NBC’s Today show, do it by having on trendy Hollywood celebrities, or simply using the fact that they are airing live by showcasing latest developments in fashion or modern electronics. It is as if they are merely doing this as a desperate attempt to keep audiences watching, rather than supplying the public with hard-hitting reporting that has made the news what it was in the past.

Another interesting factor to consider is that most audiences at home or at colleges would rather get their news information from other news sources. Most families would watch the 24-hour news channel of their choice, as well as discussing their own viewpoints of the events of the day. And some people would not even watch the news in general and just receive their information from their favorite news publication.

The Internet has assisted people quite well in obtaining the latest news stories. Unlike network news, the internet provides the capability to access current events simply by frequenting the website of their choice. And, with this outlet for obtaining the news, you are able to watch footage of various press conferences, addresses of political officials, and even the stories that are broadcast on the news programs online. This ability provides the opportunity for a person to view whenever they are able.

Despite the rise in 24-hour news channels and technology, network broadcast news still has a role to play in the field of journalism. They do, after all, have the capability to choose the most relevant stories of the day to broadcast. Furthermore, network news has provided an outlet for people to gain more of an appreciation regarding the entire field of television news.

People watch the news anchors and reporters exhibit their sheer respect of their chosen field. And based on that amount of respect for the news, viewers will be able to gain their own appreciation for broadcast news that, hopefully, will motivate them to enter the field as well. That is why we had people like Brokaw and Rather in the news industry in the first place.