Entries in "gravitas"

September 13, 2006

a brief followup on last week's entry on CBS evening news

So, will I look foolish in retrospect for succumbing to the marketing and giving Couric & Co a positive early review? Perhaps. The buzz among marketers is now about how quickly viewer ratings are dropping for the CBS evening news. However, I wonder whether the management at CBS is watching statistics like these, or statistics like these. Which is more important, in a business sense? TV viewers, or website visitors?

If the trend that is hinted at in this graph comparing web traffic for CBS.com and NBC.com continues, along with the trend shown in this graph comparing the CBS news site and the PBS online newshour site, CBS may be happy to keep Katie in the anchor chair, all criticism of whether she is a "tough enough" journalist aside. I must say, though, that I was intrigued with the idea of Gwen Ifill filling the CBS Evening News chair. Now *that* would be something to challenge stereotypes about women and serious journalism.

It's interesting that the way the website domain names are set up, it's difficult to directly compare, on Alexa, the visitors to the CBS evening news website and, say, the NBC evening news website.

September 06, 2006

the evening news

I do remember watching Walter Cronkite on the evening news as a child. I think I also watched Dan Rather for a while, and Tom Brokaw -- but of course, right about at the age when I would have started to pay more attention to current events, I moved to Switzerland, so I was removed from the high-stakes world of the American news media. That was in 1982.

Even after I moved back to the US in 1987, I don't remember often sitting down to watch the evening news. Certainly, I didn't do so once I started graduate school and got married, in 1993. Well before my daughter was born, my husband and I were accustomed to getting our news primarily via NPR during our commutes, and to eating dinner between 6:30 and 7, with the tv off so we could reconnect at the end of our workdays.

Once we became parents, in 2001, we didn't want our daughter exposed to the ugliest of the bad news in the world via video, so we made a special effort not to watch news shows while she was awake. Occasionally, I had time to catch the Today show at the top of the news hour at 7 am, when Katie Couric or Matt Lauer would send their viewers over to Ann Curry's desk for 5 minutes of headlines (or maybe it's only 2 minutes?) Sometimes I watched Katie and Matt for a few more minutes, but typically, I had to keep moving in order to get through my morning routines and out the door by 8:30 or 9.

When I heard that Couric was jumping from NBC to CBS, and from morning to evening news, I was intrigued. Would she be given a chance to reshape the evening news anchor role to fit her personal style? I created an account on CBSNews a few days ago, because I wanted to see how the network was preparing for Ms. Couric's official debut as news anchor for the 6:30 national news. Unfortunately, I didn't remember to set up the Tivo to record the debut show, thinking I'd be able to watch it live... but when I asked my daughter to change the channel, and she saw that I wanted to watch a news show, she asked why. I noted that the reporter in charge of the show was a woman, and she said, "So what? I want to watch Animal Planet."

(Hurray for the world she will grow up in, where it is not unusual to see women in positions of influence on television. May that be even more the truth by the time she begins making choices about what to pursue for her first career.)

So, I ran upstairs and turned on the second tv, and Tivo'ed the show.

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