All the News That's Fit to Sell by Hamilton James T.;

All the News That's Fit to Sell by Hamilton James T.;

Author:Hamilton, James T.;
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Published: 2011-09-29T16:00:00+00:00

Note:N = 31. Standard errors in parentheses. *** = statistically significant at the .01 level; ** = significant at the .05 level; * = significant at the .10 level. Each specification also included an intercept term.


Chapter 3 offered a snapshot of the network evening news market in 2000 that underscored how economics affects decision making on these programs. Survey data reveal that the majority of network news viewers are fifty years old or older. A high percentage of the marginal viewers, those who watch only sometimes, are female or young (i.e., 18–34). Young female viewers are particularly valued by advertisers, who hope to influence their purchasing decisions. These marginal viewers are less interested in politics, which means that networks trying to attract them will de-emphasize hard news stories such as the daily political battles on Capitol Hill. Interests in particular political issues vary by age and gender. Young females are more likely to say that gun control or education, for example, should be national priorities. The results indicate that when the evening news broadcasts do cover politics, they are more likely to devote time to stories about political issues deemed important by their marginal viewers, particularly the young and female.

This chapter shows how economics can be used to chart the changes in the network evening news broadcasts over a thirty-year period. The five Ws of the spatial model predict how the content offered on the evening news will respond to changes in ownership goals, audience demand, and technology. Press accounts and journalists’ memoirs stress how news decisions on these broadcasts were shaped by strategies of product location. The programs went to great lengths to promote their anchors, brand their stories, and position their shows relative to other sources of news and entertainment. The statistical analysis confirms the observations made by press critics and reporters that changes in the news brought more soft news tales and fewer stories about votes on major congressional legislation. The final chapter assesses the impact on public affairs of media content such as the network broadcasts.


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