Television airing the news was a natural progression away from radio news. In the early 1940s, both NBC and CBC, who began as radio news channels, began television networking programs. Never did they imagine that their content would later be shared on an open platform as ubiquitous as the internet. Executive Producer and experienced media and communications manager, Gary LaPlante, took the time to go over the ins and outs of working for a TV news network and how the industry has changed in the face of social media and the internet.
Television News Networks
Television news is still widely used and considered an important source of news, and despite the rise of social media and alternative news outlets at a time of fragmenting media use, television remains the dominant way that Americans get news at home. According to a survey, three out of four American adults watch local television news, with local television remaining the most popular way of accessing news.
With the 24-hour news cycle, and the rate at which stories travel the globe, working at a television news network has never been more challenging. For example, having a varied and constantly changing schedule is a natural figment of T.V. news network life. Gary LaPlante explains that flexibility and availability are a crux in T.V. news, demanding early mornings, late nights, and everything in between; if a news story breaks at 3AM, you have to be there to cover it. The dedication showcased by these teams is specifically why most online news outlets rely on the content covered by television news networks to supplement their programming.
The dedication to news doesn’t end there, as another component of the job is to be connected 24 hours a day; from emails to phone calls, there is no time when your phone is not ringing off the hook. Needing to be continually engaged with content and news coverage means that when you have a weekend off, you will need to know what your colleagues covered while you were away. Gary LaPlante, who has bee working in the field for more than a decade, explains that your day doesn’t end when the newscast is over! Additionally, every day is different. For many, this is the most exciting part of the job; every day you start from scratch and you never know who you are going to meet or where you are going to end up. As the demands for news on different platforms increase, so will the need to continually create content.
Trends in Media Coverage
In the United States, individuals are now consuming more of their news from social media platforms, meaning that it has become increasingly important for television news networks to adapt to the changing medium. Almost all TV News Networks now engage with audiences online, from websites to Facebook to Twitter, showing a rise in on-demand, distributed, and mobile viewing. Linear scheduled television continues to be an important part of this digital environment, but only one part, and is no longer the dominant platform it was for much of the twentieth century.
Gary LaPlante’s Final Thoughts
Television news is still a widely used and important source of news and will remain so for many older people for years to come. As Gary LaPlante has explained, television news providers need to react to the decline in traditional television viewing and start innovating when it comes to how their content is shared online.