Network News Chiefs: ‘The audience ultimately will make the decision as to whether we are still relevant or capable or not’
At The Atlantic‘s Washington ideas Forum this afternoon, the magazine brought together the three networks news chiefs for a panel discussion. James Fallows spoke to NBC’s Steve Capus, ABC’s Ben Sherwood and CBS’ David Rhodes discussed the future of the evening newscasts, broadcast journalism’s relevance in an digital world, and what their organizations have planned for the future.
Fallows began the conversation with something of a loaded question, asking if the network newscasts should even exist in a world where news is available from a plethora of outlets, 24/7. Sherwood noted that the three evening newscasts saw higher ratings this year than they did last year.
“I still think they are incredibly important outlets and forums,” Capus said. “I disagree that it shouldn’t exist. You look at the size of the audiences that gather every night, they are still substantial.”
“It is true I was in cable for 15 years until February, but I think the one misnomer in the sort of dialogue about these newscasts or these news division is that credibility has become quaint” Rhodes added. “It has not.”
Capus was asked whether the politically polarizing network that he oversees, MSNBC, hurts NBC’s news credibility. He responded by arguing that no, it does not, but that the environment on cable news does not necessarily lend itself to good journalism.