Magazine article American Journalism Review

24-Hour Cable News Will Grow; That's Good

Magazine article American Journalism Review

24-Hour Cable News Will Grow; That's Good

Article excerpt

Ted Turner is losing his unique status as the maverick entrepreneur of cable and air, now that others are joining him in his own personal mediaspace and now that he is merging CNN with megacorp Time Warner.

ABC is the latest to announce that it will start an all-news cable channel. When it does that next year, it may be the first of the old major networks to get there. NBC has announced its plans. So has Rupert Murdoch, who has much less to bring to the news table and substitutes mutterings about the need for a conservative 24-hour news channel because of the "liberalism" of CNN.

Let there be applause, then, for ABC in 1997, if it has gotten its potentially news-corruptive connection with Disney under control by then. A big "if." And a key question remains: whether ABC and the others will staff their 24-hour news operations on the cheap, using their aces (in ABC's case, Jennings, Donaldson, Sawyer, Walters, the nonpareil Brinkley and a few others) but giving separate 24-hour chores to low-wage journalists. On another level, CNN has proved this can be done, and sometimes it has been embarrassed accordingly,

Still, said the journalism dean, all this looks like jobs for journalists. Real ones. Let us hope that many of the the newsroom round-the-clockers will do actual reporting and editing, not just processing.

And hark! The return of the lobster shift, perhaps the quickening of the second and third shifts, maybe even the awakening of those lucky people who work "regular" hours. (Remaining a romantic, I perhaps really believe this. …

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