In an illustration of how the information world has changed, many people learned about the death of Osama bin Laden through media formats or devices that weren’t available a decade ago.
Nielsen says Sunday’s audience was larger than President Obama’s recent primetime addresses, including his March 28 speech on Libya. The speech was carried on ABC, CBS, NBC, Telemundo, Univision, CNN, Fox News, HLN and MSNBC.
Television news is often criticized for being sensational, overly simplified and, increasingly, politically divided. But with the story about the killing of Osama bin Laden by American troops in Pakistan, TV news had a victory of its own. While universally acknowledging the historical significance, television coverage of Bin Laden’s death resisted the temptation to become hysterical, nationalistic or overly triumphant. Instead, it focused on good old-fashioned reporting.
The international news media and social media Web sites, together, helped people process the news on Sunday night and into Monday morning, as television anchors suggested that a where-were-you-when? moment had just taken place and spoke about “absorbing” and “digesting” the stunning news.