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UPDATE: First TV Broadcast And Cable Coverage Of Zimmerman Not Guilty Verdict

By and | Saturday July 13, 2013 @ 7:00pm PDT

2ND UPDATE: The answer depended on where in the country you were watching tonight’s ending to the ‘Stand Your Ground’ case of neighborhood watch George Zimmerman’s fatal shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. But CBS among broadcasters and MSNBC among cable were first to cover the verdict live.

Among broadcasters, ABC News missed live coverage of the verdict but had the most comprehensive coverage. Anchor David Muir was joined live by Chief Legal Anchor Dan Abrams in NY,  Correspondents Matt Gutman and Gio Benitez outside of the Seminole County courthouse in Sanford, and Senior Justice Correspondent Pierre Thomas in Washington DC. A Special Edition of 20/20 continued until 11 PM ET with a complete look at the trial. According to TVNewser, CBS was first on the air at 9:58 PM during the closing credits of 48 Hours in the Eastern and Central time zones for a very brief special anchored by Jim Axelrod. Then on NBC Lester Holt anchored a blink-and-you-missed-it special report interrupting the final seconds of a TV movie while the verdict was being read. And ABC first joined as the jurors were being polled: the network was showing the canceled 666 Park Avenue and promoted the live verdict in a news crawl.

By contrast there was blanket coverage all today on HLN, CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC which reported the verdict at 9:49:00 followed by CNN at 9:49:55 and FNC at 21:50:11. FNC’s Harris Faulkner anchored when the verdict was read and following the announcement. Live coverage and analysis continued with Sean Hannity and Greta Van Susteren both phoning into the program. Plans are still fluid but FNC will remain live until 1 AM Sunday for more guest analysis. All cable news have seen ratings spike because Read More »

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Bad News For Network And Local TV News

If you care about news, then the Pew Research Center’s latest annual State Of The News Media report will make you want to cry. Providers across all platforms became “more undermanned and unprepared to uncover stories, dig deep into emerging ones or to question information put into [their] hands,” Pew’s Project for Excellence In Journalism finds. The shortcomings stood out during the election when “campaign reporters were acting primarily as megaphones, rather than as investigators, of the assertions put forward by the candidates and other political partisans.”

Even in a year with an exciting presidential election the collective audience for ABC, CBS and NBC’s evening newscasts fell 2% to 22.1M “resuming the downward trajectory of nearly three decades” after an uptick in 2011. Total audience for local TV newscasts — the nation’s #1 news source – shrank last year in all key time slots except for early morning and across stations aligned with all the networks, resuming a downward trend that seemed to have ended in 2011. Viewing of the evening newscasts that aired between 5:00 and 7:00 PM at the major network affiliates fell 7% last year. One reason: young people are tuning out. About 28% of adults under 30 regularly watched local news last year, down from 42% in 2006. Local news devoted 40% of air time to sports, weather, and traffic, up from 32% in 2005. And just 20% of the stories last year ran at least a minute, down from 31% a decade ago. Read More »

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YouTube News Viewers Flock To Natural Disasters And Political Upheaval: Study

By | Sunday July 15, 2012 @ 9:16pm PDT

Last year’s tsunami in Japan, the elections in Russia, and turmoil in the Middle East were the most popular topics for news watchers on YouTube in the 15 months that ended in March, according to a new study by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism. The group says that the Google-owned platform is beginning to become a major news source; in one third of the months in the study users searched for news terms more than anything else including entertainment. “The data reveal that a complex, symbiotic relationship has developed between citizens and news organizations on YouTube, a relationship that comes close to the continuous journalistic ‘dialogue’ many observers predicted would become the new journalism online,” Pew says. But it warns that videos often can’t be verified, or are copyrighted and used without permission, which ”creates the potential for news to be manufactured, or even falsified, without giving audiences much ability to know who produced it or how to verify it.” Pew says that personalities don’t necessarily drive interest in news: At least 65% of the most-watched news clips didn’t feature an individual.

Although the length of YouTube news videos varies, the median length of the most-watched ones was 2 minutes and 1 second — far longer than local TV news, where stories average 41 seconds, but less than the network evening newscasts where they average 2 minutes and 23 seconds. By and large audiences look … Read More »

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Public Confidence In TV News Hits All-Time Low: Gallup

By | Tuesday July 10, 2012 @ 2:21pm PDT

Just 21% of adults say they have “a great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in TV news, down from 27% last year — and the lowest percentage since Gallup started taking the poll in 1993 — the research firm says today. A whopping 46% of respondents gave a thumbs-up to TV news in 1993. It hovered in the mid-to-low 30% range until 2007, when it dropped to 23%. What’s striking about this year’s results, though, is that it’s the first time in years when conservatives hold TV news in slightly higher regard than do liberals and moderates. Just 19% of liberals said they have confidence in the medium, down from 30% last year, while moderates moved to 20% from 30%, and conservatives to 22% from 23%. Paradoxically, TV news won the highest scores from 18- to 29-year-olds (38% approval) and Democrats (37%), with the lowest scores coming from those 65 and older (18%) and Independents (20%). More than 1,000 people were questioned from June 7-10 for the annual poll measuring people’s confidence in 16 institutions. On Gallup’s list, people have the most confidence in the military (75%), small business (63%), and the police (56%). TV News ranked No. 11, right behind newspapers (25%). The bottom two were Congress (13%) and Health Maintenance Organizations (19%) while big business, banks, and organized labor were in a dead heat with TV news.

Related: CNN Sinks To 21-Year Primetime Read More »

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News Media Are Becoming Less Uncivil, But Are Still Pretty Bad: Survey

By | Wednesday June 13, 2012 @ 7:44am PDT

Media organizations received mixed grades this morning from the disturbing yet fascinating Civility in America annual survey measuring opinions about how people and institutions deal with each other. The third report on the subject from PR firm Weber Shandwick and KRC Research shows that 63% of the public considers incivility to be a major problem — with a majority adding that they expect it to grow worse and harm the country. The leading culprits, according to the online survey in April of 1,000 adults, are politicians (63% say they’re making things worse), government officials (57%), the economy (57%), and America’s youth (55%) — followed by the media (50%), celebrities (42%), and corporate America (42%). But a deeper dive into people’s feelings about media shows striking nuances. Overall, 62% consider the general tone of the media to be uncivil, an improvement from last year’s 74%. And respondents were more generous in assessing specific outlets. Fox News is considered the most uncivil, but only by 35% of respondents — and that’s down from last year’s 51%. The list also includes MSNBC (31%, down from 37%), CNN (31% vs 32% last year), and The New York Times (29%, same as last year). Broadcast news organizations weren’t named last year but this year include NBC News (24% consider it uncivil), ABC News (23%), CBS News (23%), and PBS (16%).

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Can TV Investigative Reporting Evolve Beyond ’60 Minutes’?

By | Tuesday April 10, 2012 @ 12:59pm PDT

In the news game they were called The Wrinklies, the old men who for years dominated TV news at 60 Minutes. Now they’re dying off. Don Hewitt, Ed Bradley, Andy Rooney — and, this past weekend, Mike Wallace. Obituaries rightly celebrate these men’s substantial accomplishments. Wallace and his colleagues adapted the news documentary formula to make it engaging for TV viewers, and kept them coming back week after week. But if newscasters want to celebrate that legacy, then they need to stop emulating the reporting style that the 60 Minutes team developed 44 years ago and find different ways to make investigative reporting relevant and sustainable. Read More »

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R.I.P. Gil Noble

By | Thursday April 5, 2012 @ 1:00pm PDT

The host and producer of Like It Is, an influential public affairs show that aired on New York’s WABC, died today, about eight months after suffering from a stroke. He was 80. Noble joined the ABC flagship station in 1967, and soon anchored its weekend newscasts. Like It Is, which debuted in 1968, created the country’s largest collection of programs and documentaries on African-Americans. He interviewed newsmakers including South Africa President Nelson Mandela and Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe; entertainers Bill Cosby, Harry Belafonte and Lena Horne; sports stars Muhammad Ali and Arthur Ashe; and political figures such as Jesse Jackson and  Louis Farrakhan. His memoir, Black Is The Color Of My TV Tube, was published in 1981. “Gil Noble’s life and work had a profound effect on our society and culture,” WABC General Manager Dave Davis says. “His contributions are a part of history and will be remembered for years to come.”

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TV News Broke Its Losing Streak In Action-Packed 2011: Study

By | Sunday March 18, 2012 @ 9:01pm PDT

This is one of the first times in years that TV journalists and executives won’t need a box of Kleenex nearby when they read the Pew Research Center’s encyclopedic and authoritative annual State Of The News Media Report, which will be released today. Broadcast networks, cable news networks, and local TV stations all showed signs of improvement in 2011 as people became riveted by stories about Arab Spring, the death of Osama bin Laden, the shooting in Tucson of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, Britain’s royal wedding, and the tsunami in Japan, according to Pew’s Project for Excellence in Journalism. The audience for the major networks’ newscasts increased for the first time since 2001. Cable news viewing also was up, a relief after a huge slide in 2010. And local news gained ground, ending a five-year decline. To be sure, traditional news providers across the board still haven’t figured out how to make money in digital media. And last year they “lost more ground to rivals in the technology industry,” Pew says. The audience for online news sources grew 17.2% while revenues were up 23.0%, Still, researchers say that “news is becoming a more important and pervasive part of people’s lives” — and that “could prove a saving factor for the future of journalism.” Here are some of the highlights for TV news: Read More »

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Study: TV Advertisers Snub Newscasters’ Web Sites

By | Sunday February 12, 2012 @ 9:01pm PST

This is a big problem for traditional news outlets, including broadcast and cable TV, according to a new study from the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism. Advertising dollars are moving so quickly to the Web that by 2016 it could be the single biggest platform for selling goods and services. But news organizations have done a lousy job of persuading their advertisers to follow them online. For example, it’s hard to watch a network TV newscast without seeing a promo for a prescription or over-the-counter medication; they’re collectively the largest category with 16% of the ads. But they’re harder to find if you turn to the newscasts’ Web sites: Financial services dominate that world with 31.3% of the online ads vs about 8% for the medicines. There’s a similar story in cable news: For example, CNN gets most of its advertising from motion pictures and TV, insurance, and telecommunications. On, though, the top categories are financial, toiletries and cosmetics, and job search.

The newscasters bear some of the blame. Most rely on static banner ads and sponsored links. Despite their roots in video, the TV newscasters sell few video ads: they accounted for just 2.5% of cable news’ online ads and much less than that for the network TV sites. If the pattern persists then it “throws into question the financial future of journalism as audiences continue to migrate online,” Pew says.

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Pew: TV Falling As Political News Source

By | Tuesday February 7, 2012 @ 10:41am PST

Only 69% of adults turned to the tube first for election news last month, the lowest percentage in at least 20 years, according to the weekly surveys taken for the Pew Research Center’s News Interest Index. The latest figure is  down from 72% four years ago, 78% in 2004, and 86% in 2000. Broadcasters are seeing the biggest losses. Just 32% of adults cited local TV news as their primary source for election news, down from 40% four years ago. The national nightly newscasts were down to 26% from 32%. Cable news channels held relatively steady at 36%, down from 38%. As you might imagine, a lot of people now are turning to the Internet for their political news fix.  It passed newspapers to become the No. 2 source of election news, with 34% turning first to the Web vs 26% in the 2008 campaign and 13% in 2004. ranked first for politics junkies on the Internet, followed by Yahoo News and Google News. Only 22% picked Read More »

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Study: Tablet Owners Love Using Them For News, As Long As They Don’t Have To Pay

By | Tuesday October 25, 2011 @ 9:50am PDT

This is sure to chill all of the newspaper and magazine companies that thought subscribers would return to the fold once the content became available on the sexy mobile devices. The finding comes from the most detailed study yet of the 11% of the country that owns a tablet, conducted by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism in collaboration with The Economist Group. They found that 53% use their tablets every day to catch up on the news — making that the second most popular activity after Web surfing (67%). Tablet news fans like to check out different sources, including many they never look at on TV or their PCs. And it isn’t just for headlines; 42% say that they read long news articles or analyses. But only 21% say they’d be willing to pay as much as $5 a month for news on their tablets. That jibes with other data showing that 14% say that they’ve paid directly for news on their tablets, although 23% have subscriptions to newspapers or magazines that include digital access. For the most part, owners use the portable screens as a substitute for the news that they used to track on their PCs or laptops — but nearly six in 10 also use their tablets as a substitute for newspapers, magazines, and TV newscasts.

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Report: TV Station Newscasts Vulnerable As Viewers Turn To Smartphones For Local Info

By | Sunday September 25, 2011 @ 9:01pm PDT

The TV station business is becoming tougher by the day, but here’s something that could make things painful: The broadcasters’ biggest cash cow, their local newscasts, could lose lots of viewers as people discover that they can find the info they want more quickly and easily on mobile devices such as smartphones. That’s one of the many sobering findings from a study that examines how people discover what’s going on in their communities, out today from the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism and the Pew Internet & American Life Project with support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. ”For some things TV matters most, for others newspapers and their websites are primary sources, and the internet is used for still other topics,” says PEJ Director Tom Rosenstiel. Newspapers satisfied the most needs with their coverage of issues including local government, taxation, and zoning matters — but still ended up as the fourth-most-popular sources of news behind TV, word-of-mouth, and radio.

But here’s the catch. Although 74% of adults watch TV newscasts at least once a week, viewers primarily tune in for just three things: weather, breaking news, and traffic. These “might easily be replaced by mobile platforms that are even more accessible than TV,” the report says. “For weather, this may already be happening — as roughly a third (32%) cite the internet as a primary … Read More »

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Fox News Suspends Contributors Newt Gingrich And Rick Santorum

By | Wednesday March 2, 2011 @ 3:08pm PST
Nellie Andreeva

Fox has suspending two of its paid contributors with presidential aspirations, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum, for 60 days. If the two don’t declare by May 1 that they won’t be running for president, their contracts will be terminated. Remaining on payroll at Fox News are two other potential presidential hopefuls, Sarah Palin and Mike Huckabee. If a network contributor is running for office, their airtime could be considered a campaign contribution.

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CBS News Correspondent Lara Logan Sexually Assaulted While Covering Egypt Revolution

Nellie Andreeva

In what is the most gruesome attack against an U.S. journalist in Egypt so far, CBS News is reporting that its chief foreign correspondent Lara Logan suffered “a brutal and sustained sexual assault and beating” on Friday, the day Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak stepped down. She was covering the festivities in Tahrir Square for a 60 Minutes story when she and her team and their security were surrounded by a mob of more than 200 people. Logan was eventually separated from her crew and was brutally assaulted before a group of women and soldiers came to her rescue. Logan, who has a 2-year-old son, was quickly flown back to the U.S. and is recovering in a hospital.

The news shows how volatile the security situation in Egypt continues to be. The U.S. networks dispatched some of its top news anchors to Cairo when the protests first started, but after several prominent TV journalists, including Anderson Cooper, Katie Couric, Christiane Amanpour and Fox News correspondent Greg Palkot, were attacked by angry mobs, most of anchors left Egypt.

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David Muir Named Sole Anchor Of ABC’s ‘World News’ Weekend Editions

By | Monday February 14, 2011 @ 10:30am PST
Nellie Andreeva

David Muir has been named the sole anchor of the weekend edition of ABC’s World News. He had already been anchoring World News Saturday. Now he will also take over the Sunday editions, and the weekend broadcasts will be named World News with David Muir. Muir has been with ABC News since 2003, most recently reporting extensively from Cairo during the Egyptian uprising.

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Fox News Tops Ratings For Egypt Coverage

Nellie Andreeva

CNN’s former dominance in coverage of major international crises is long gone. Fox News leads the cable news ratings for the coverage of the unrest in Egypt so far by a wide margin, but the continuous coverage of the turmoil in Cairo has lifted CNN from No.3 to No.2 in most categories. From Monday through Thursday, Fox News drew 2.5 million viewers (628,000 in adults 25-54) in primetime and 1.2 million (344,000) in total day. CNN’s averages were: primetime (959,000; 341,000 in 25-45) and total day (620,000; 213,000 in 25-54), MSNBC  drew 961,000 (254,000 in 25-54) in primetime and 486,000 (134,000 in 25-54) in total day. Vs. their January averages, CNN posted the biggest ratings bump, up 43% in total viewers in primetime. It was followed closely by Fox News, up 38%, while MSNBC didn’t gain a lot, up 16%.

The much publicized Cairo attack on CNN’s Anderson Cooper on Wednesday led to a rare win for his AC 360 program that night in the 25-54 demographic (409,000) over Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren (342,000) and MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow (231,000). Van Susteren still won the 10 PM in total viewers by a comfortable margin (1.7 million vs. 1.2 million) By Thursday night, Cooper’s demo advantage was pretty much gone, averaging 446,000 viewers in the 25-54 demographic vs. 443,000 for Van Susteren.

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Cairo Assault On Fox News: “They Hit Us With Their Fists, Sticks, Bars, Rocks”

Nellie Andreeva

Fox News correspondent Greg Palkot, who, along with his camerman were badly beaten by demonstrators in Cairo on Wednesday, this morning gave a pretty fascinating firsthand account of the events in a post on Here it is:

CAIRO, Egypt –  It was Wednesday afternoon. We were covering the clashes between pro- and anti-government protesters near Tahrir or Liberation Square in Cairo.

A short time after we started our shooting, cameraman Olaf Wiig was threatened by a small group of pro-Mubarak thugs.

We ducked down an alley. It turned out to be a dead end, so we dashed into a nearby building.

At first it was a perfect vantage point to cover the street battle. Then it quickly turned into a battle station for the pro-government side.

Read More »

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More Violence Against U.S. Journalists In Egypt: ABC News Crew Carjacked

Nellie Andreeva

Egypt is rapidly becoming a very dangerous place for foreign journalists. On the heels of the attacks on Fox News’ Greg Palkot, CNN’s Anderson Cooper and ABC News’ Christiane Amanpour, an NBC News crew has been carjacked by a group of angry Egyptian men and threatened with beheading. According to ABC News, its producer Brian Hartman, cameraman Akram Abi-hanna and two other ABC News employees were surrounded on a crowded (and considered safe) road that leads from Cairo’s airport to the city’s downtown area.

Hartman told ABC that it was only through the appeal of Abi-hanna, who is Lebanese and a veteran ABC cameraman, that they were saved from being killed or severely beaten. “We thought we were goners,” Hartman said . “We absolutely thought we were doomed.”

A total of 30 journalists from different countries have been targeted by protesters in Egypt in the past few days.

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Fox News Team Severely Beaten, Hospitalized In Cairo

Nellie Andreeva

UPDATE FRIDAY: Greg Palkot this morning wrote a pretty fascinating firsthand account of the ordeal. Read it here:

PREVIOUS: FOX News Channel’s veteran foreign correspondent Greg Palkot and his camerman Olaf Wiig have suffered severe injuries in Cairo while covering the unrest in the Egypt capital. Palkot was badly beaten and Wiig has a possible broken jaw after being attacked by pro-Hosni Mubarak supporters yesterday. Both were hospitalized overnight. Out of concern for the safety of its journalists, Fox News kept the incident a secret until their release from the hospital today. Now more details explaining the network’s decision to keep the attack quiet have emerged. Sources at Fox News confirm that at the hospital, Palkot and Wiig were detained by military police and accused of being Israeli spies, prompting the network’s executives to seek help from the State Department. In 2007, the same camerman, Olaf Wiig, was taken hostage in the Gaza strip with correspondent Steve Centanni. They were released 2 weeks later.

This marks the most brazen attack yet on American journalists in Egypt where violence has been escalating, with 10 anti-Hosni Mubarak protesters killed over the past 24 hours in Tahrir Square alone. Yesterday, CNN’s Anderson Cooper and ABC News’ Christiane Amanpour and CBS News’ Katie Couric were confronted by angry mobs supporting Mubarak but left largely unscathed. Additionally, an ABC News crew was carjacked by angry Egyptian men and threatened with beheading … Read More »

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