A New Kind Of Hero? Last Week’s Emotional TV May Be A Sign

For anyone tuned in to television news, this past week was very emotional. I mean that literally. Tears flowed through the screen and difficult feelings were exposed by prominent personalities, all in very public settings. It hasn’t always been that way. Over many years, audiences have slowly but steadily changed how they react to strong emotions brought into their homes by TV cameras and close-ups. Last week was something of a breakthrough in that transformation.


Will Streaming Kill Broadcast, Cable News?

The end is near for television news as we know it. That’s the clear signal coming from an important set of Nielsen company viewership data that seems like good (or at least not-so-bad) news for cable and broadcast — until you take a closer look at the numbers and trends.

Why Do Our News Media Assume We’re So Helpless?

Society expects journalists to fill several important functions: check on government power, community watchdog, reliable source of basic information. But there’s one role we really don’t need from the news business — life coach. And yet, as Americans move out of the pandemic and into more normal lives, reporters, editors and producers are flooding the media universe with a heavy stream of soft stories filled with trite advice on everything from how to hug again to the safest method for dipping back into the habit of gossipy behavior.


Journalism Has Been ‘Jerry Springerized’

Joe Ferullo: “Donald Trump is gone, but the damage done to news media lingers on. Thanks to the former president, journalism has been “Jerry Springerized” — addicted to conflict and madness in the search for audience.”


Cable News Could Learn Something From Psaki And Cronkite

Joe Ferullo: “With Donald Trump banned from Twitter and exiled to Mar-a-Lago, television news channels find themselves searching for a new tone and a fresh direction. Here’s a modest proposal: America’s overheated, hyper-dramatic cable personalities might want to take a page from Jen Psaki — because the White House press secretary is cool. And by that, I mean: “medium cool.”


A Culture War Inside America’s Newsrooms

It’s been called a “civil war” in some of the nation’s leading newsrooms, a battle between generations of reporters and writers over the directions and goals of journalism, especially in how it covers challenging topics like race, gender and a certain figure in the White House.


Media Need To Shift Focus On Violence

To gain viewers or boost readership, cover violent crime big-time, whether on the front page or the top of the newscast. But those very methods contribute to the madness many now feel about the nation’s unhealthy dependency on police and prison to solve every problem. Journalism needs to accept its share of responsibility and change how it does business.

How ’70s Network TV Can Help You Understand Election 2020


Floyd Dying Or Rioters: The Power Of Images

If the snapshot of this time is George Floyd on the ground, Derek Chauvin’s knee hard on his neck, society moves in one direction. But other images entice with a competing narrative: looters loading stolen goods into waiting cars; rogue protesters setting fires; graffiti on national monuments in Washington. For too many nights now, that narrative has gained strength — and moves the country closer to an outcome where force can be seen as both a short-term tactic and a long-term solution.


Stress And The Dangers Of Our Media ‘Pundemic’

The next front line in the COVID-19 battle will be struggles with the psychological damage. Concerns over society-wide anxiety and depression are increasing as people face the physical and economic fallout of the pandemic. But there’s a contributing factor to that growing alarm hiding in plain sight. Call it the “pundemic,” the parade of on-camera and online pundits delivering daily doses of dread and doom, based less on science and more on science fiction.


Traditional TV Offers What We Need Now

Joe Ferullo: “It turns out broadcasting delivers us something suddenly in short supply: human connection. The universal themes and populist appeal of most network shows allow everyone stuck at home to watch something together. And the set-in-stone broadcast TV schedule means you share that viewing experience in real time with millions of other people across the country.”


How Media Fall In & Out Of Love With Candidates

Joe Ferullo: Reporting on presidential candidates can be a lot like high school romance: It’s all about crushes and rejections, falling hard — only to fall quickly out of love. After New Hampshire, journalists and pundits are desperately scanning the cafeteria for their next soul mate. But now that voters are actually part of the equation, the media’s search for love will need to evolve.


Iowa & N.H. Highlight The Crisis Of Local News

Iowa and New Hampshire are known for the charm of their retail politics — town halls, handshakes and hash browns. They are also the home of retail media — very local newspapers, TV and radio stations. But these days, small-town news is in big financial trouble, profoundly reshaping how the electorate in these key states now size-up candidates.

Impeachment Hearings: Are Dems Ready For Their Close-Up?


Democrats Should Look To Judge Judy

Joe Ferullo: “In many ways, Judge Judy is a daily dose of wish fulfillment for working families, a place where the issues and the answers are clear. Sheindlin sends the hard-nosed but reassuring message that — even in a world her viewers suspect is wobbling off its axis — certain things remain unshakeable: the law, common sense, and the bright moral line between right and wrong.”


In Defense Of Network News

Joe Ferullo: “The evening newscasts, even now, remain an important counter to all of this, a way to escape the deluge and to begin sorting out what really matters among the day’s events. That mission is never more valuable than in days like these, when so much alleged information seems unmoored from context and substance.”


Could I Have Some News With My Emotions?

Emotion now blankets the media landscape like an infant’s crib at bedtime. Google “Shepard Smith emotional,” and up come nearly 3 million results, many of them focused on the Fox anchor’s recent visceral response to immigrant suffering. A search of “Rachel Maddow crying” delivers more than 1 million offerings. Contemporary culture trusts feelings over facts, rewards heated emotion — tears or anger — and rejects medium cool. The effect on journalism is unmistakable. And a lot of the blame can be placed on those all-too-common twin devils: television and the internet.

CBS TV Distribution Makes 2 Appointments

Maureen FitzPatrick joins as SVP of programming and development and Joe Ferullo is promoted to SVP of programming and development.