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CNN Can Find a Roadmap in … ‘The Newsroom’ ?

Did you watch “The Newsroom” last night? If so, did you find yourself wondering, “I wish cable news was more like that!”

The NYTimes’ David Carr says the CNN newsroom is the closest thing we have to “The Newsroom,” but adds, “CNN has stuck with, well, a version of the news, and gotten clobbered in the process.”

“The Newsroom’s” brain, Aaron Sorkin tells Carr, “[I]f I were the president of CNN I would put the smartest news people I know in a room and ask, ‘What would a utopian news show look like?’ and then I’d ask ‘What’s stopping us from doing that?’”

Perhaps they have. But that doesn’t mean people will watch. Carr points out why:

Much of the audience expects to be infotained when they turn on the news, so every wiggle and wobble of the Tot Mom becomes freighted with meaning. But there is also a sizable audience that tunes in for updates on actual news and sees talking heads arguing over Bristol Palin as if she were a head of state, and drug-fueled cannibalism discussed as a growing trend. There are others like me, fans of news, who feel less enlightened than implicated when we do tune in.

Carr’s solution:

Leave the Tot Mom to others and stick to coming up with a well-cooked, nutritious news diet. Why not ride through the news cycle with some dignity and feed a loyal, reliable audience, standing by for when the world threatens to blow apart and ratings skyrocket?

The true test of all this may whether people tune in to “The Newsroom.” If viewers have little interest in a “utopian” fake newsroom, why would they watch the real thing?

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