Why TV News Sucks, Pt. 3


Yesterday’s New York Times had an 8-page, four color insert all about how great The New York Times was. It extolled their great reporting from all over the world. The back page of the insert was devoted exclusively to their VIDEOJOURNALISTS!

A new kind of reporter who carries their own small digital video camera…

And these are no 23-year olds, but real, New York Times reporters, working in video.

Mazel Tov.

Now, here is a radical idea:

Katie Couric, anchor for The CBS Evening News, gets paid $14 million a year to (let us be honest) work 22 minutes a night reading what someone else has written for her.

Suppose we took that $14 million and instead hired 100 New York Times quality videojournalists, at $140,000 each. (Anyone here want the job? Hands down).

Suppose each VJ now had to produce just one story per week.

That would give CBS Evening News 5200 packages a year – very high quality packages, from a cadre of the best video equipped journalists in the world.

Now (stick with me on this one…), The CBS Evening News is on 5 nights a week. Let’s say they run 5 real packages per night. That means they have a total appetite for 25 packages a week. 100 packages a month. 1200 packages a year. That barely puts a dent in our Katie-purchased 5200 extremely high quality news packages per year. Where do they others go?

They go to feed the web, video on phones, or maybe just some margins so our journalists can have ‘freedom to fail’ once in a while.

For the price of Katie Couric’s salary, CBS Evening News could field the most powerful and dynamic television reporting team in the world. They could enter the new world of non-linear, web driven, online, VOD news and conquer it. Own it! They could, in a stroke, become the Digital Tiffany Network (so to speak), and set a global standard for video reporting and journalism.

They could…..

Do you think Katie looks better in the pink dress, or the blue one. And what have they done with her hair?


2 responses to “Why TV News Sucks, Pt. 3

  1. While Katie may not be the answer she might not be the problem. Perhaps this is more than a simple casting issue. For CBS to break out of third place palpable differentiation will be critical. What’s needed here is nothing short of radical game-changing innovation. Your suggestion is exactly the kind of forward thinking that deserves a fair and candid hearing. Rather than fighting for a share of the past CBS should be competing for the future.

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