Broadcast news: Wasting your time for ratings

Bill Weedmark, Co-Editor

Have you ever caught the 10 o’clock local news on Fox after “American Idol?” If so, maybe you noticed something that’s been driving me insane.

See, Fox has this bad habit of running “news stories” after “American Idol” that focus on, would you believe it, “American Idol.”

One week it’s a “story” on how mean Simon is to all of the contestants, with a first-hand story from a central Florida girl who got rejected. Next week, a sit-down panel with the top-24 finalists. Wow! What hard hitting, relevant news.

Since when is it acceptable to waste people’s time and call it news? I understand that ratings always play a factor in television news, and
that sometimes stations have to give people what they want to hear rather than what’s most important. It is a business, after all.

But to tease your half-hour news block with reality television stories just to hook the 30 million weekly viewers disgusts me.

After you factor in commercial breaks, that half-hour news program is 22 minutes. If half of that is dedicated to “American Idol” topics and another five minutes to the weather, what does that leave for real issues affecting us locally and nationally?

I remember being told in one of my journalism courses that a 30-minute broadcast news show only has as much content as one page of a newspaper. I think that number is a little inflated lately.

Yeah, “American Idol” interests people and has some limited news value, but it’s not OK in my book to focus on a TV show over current events just to draw in viewers.

ABC news cracked me up the other night with a preview of their nightly news. The voice-over asked if I was sick of other news channels wasting my time on TV shows. Yeah, ABC, I am. You hit that nail on the head.
Now don’t do any stories on “Desperate Housewives” and maybe I’ll tune in.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Be the first to comment on "Broadcast news: Wasting your time for ratings"

Leave a comment