UT Professors: Changes Likely in TV News

KNOXVILLE — With the departures of Dan Rather and Tom Brokaw and changing audience demographics, national broadcast media may need to make changes to their nightly news broadcasts, two University of Tennessee professors said Wednesday.

“I think we can expect to see some changes in broadcast media,” said Dr. James Crook, director of the UT school of journalism and electronic media.

“Networks are now competing with cable news channels such as CNN and Fox News and this would be a great time to try something new.”

Crook said he thought now would be a good time to try either a two anchor or a rotating anchor presentation style.

Dr. Mark Harmon, associate professor of journalism and electronic media, had comments on the situation from an economic viewpoint.

“The profitability and desirability of newscasts themselves are changing,” Harmon said. “The primary audience of nightly news broadcasts is aging and more people are moving to the Internet and cable for news.”

“Young people are growing up with no regular nightly newscast habit,” he said. “Advertising likes younger audiences better, so nightly network broadcasts may be in trouble.”

No matter what the networks do, Harmon says it will take a while for them to rebuild a relationship with their viewers.