Friday, January 30, 2009

Hard News on US TV draws higher ratings

Even as many news programs face a postelection audience drop-off, "serious" television news is drawing serious ratings this winter, with viewers flocking to shows like CBS's "60 Minutes" and PBS's "NewsHour with Jim Lehrer." This interrupts a decade-long drift of viewers away from hard news toward softer fare. Executives and producers credit high interest in all things Obama, as well as a raft of major developments in the economy and the Middle East that demand longer attention spans from viewers.

Eschewing conventional wisdom, which holds that viewers don't like shows about war or the finer points of a bad economy, 60 Minutes has devoted segments to violence in the Middle East and the fallout of the subprime meltdown. Where some news coverage has focused on the celebrity of President Obama and his family, it has hewed to the substance of the president's policy.

(c)Benton Foundation 2008
[SOURCE: Wall Street Journal, AUTHOR: Rebecca Dana]