Here’s the thing about Fox’s break-all-the-rules-this-one’s-for-you-young-folk newscast, Chasing New Jersey: they’re chasing the right viewers in precisely the wrong places. A year after its buzzy launch, TVNewsCheck reports Fox-owned WWOR has seen its ratings evaporate:
WWOR has taken a big hit since launching the 10 o’clock newscast on July 8, 2013. Only 11,000 viewers tuned in during the May sweeps, down 62% from the conventional newscast that aired in the slot in May 2013, according to Nielsen.
There’s no doubt Fox Television Stations boss Jack Abernethy had the right idea when—largely alone among major station groups—Fox set about trying something different. The demographics are not encouraging for station owners, who know their core audience is aging, and the viewers advertisers want to reach just don’t sit down to watch a local newscast. Six o’clock news, you say? Sure. And you want me to buy a copy of the morning newspaper, too?
Last year Abernethy declared the era of the “typical anchorman” was over, and described Chasing New Jersey as an example of desperately needed innovation in an industry that’s frustratingly resistant to moving past a business model with roots in the 1950s:
It’s “easier to start from scratch at times than waiting to evolve.”
“It replaces a traditional newscast, uses new technology in a fast-paced, cost-effective environment that can best be described as TMZ for local news,” Abernethy said.
The debut of Chasing New Jersey was designed to lure them back. Gone was the anchor desk, the news-weather-sports structure, and the anchor-to-reporter-to-package-and-back format. In came young reporters with GoPros and iPhones, more attitude, more opinion, and fewer rules.
Vice News has staked a claim to these very consumers, arguing that “no one is reporting journalism that speaks to today’s youth.” Vice has linked with YouTube, Facebook and Twitter, and sent young reporters around the world, producing some engaging stories and sparking a debate about what constitutes TV news in 2014: Read more