The Incredible News Cycle
Shepard, Alicia C., The World and I
Long ago, before there was an Internet and even before there were 24-hour cable news networks, most journalists lived the easy life. They didn't think so then. But they de now.
Back in those not-so-distant days, a White House correspondent needed only to report what happened that day and write it as a news story for the next day's paper or that night's television news broadcast. It was all so straightforward: "Yesterday, the president of the United States said such and such about taxes or foreign policy or the state of the economy."
Then in 1980, an upstart cable news channel, known among the wags as Chicken Noodle Network but better known as Cable News Network, or CNN, came along and revolutionized journalism with its regular diet of news around the clock.
Anyone old enough to watch television in January 1991 remembers when CNN skyrocketed to fame with its 17-hour, uninterrupted broadcast from Baghdad as war broke out between Iraq and the allied forces. No other major U.S. television network provided the same coverage, and it paid off: For the first time in its history, CNN beat all the other networks in ratings for a 24-hour period. CNN became a contender.
In the last three year's, there's another new player: the Internet, which now provides an avalanche of information. Just dial into the Internet and at one's fingertips are World Wide Web sites hosted by 500 major daily newspapers, three major television networks, and three 24-hour cable networks, plus hundreds more sites feeding news junkies tantalizing news tidbits.
Journalism's new dimension
News is no longer reported once in the evening, on television, and again, in the morning, in newspapers. CNN and its around-the-clock cable successors, MSNBC and Fox News Channel, along with the Internet are dramatically recasting how journalists do their jobs by shortening news cycles down from daily to hourly to sometimes 10minute cycles.
Gone forever are the days of reflection, when a journalist could spend a whole day thoroughly reporting a story. Now, in the midst of news gathering, journalists are challenged with making sense of hourly …
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Publication information: Article title: The Incredible News Cycle. Contributors: Shepard, Alicia C. - Author. Magazine title: The World and I. Volume: 13. Issue: 6 Publication date: June 1998. Page number: 80+. © 1999 News World Communications, Inc. COPYRIGHT 1998 Gale Group.
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