One segment from this week’s episode of On The Media deals with the quantitative increase of the network TV news viewership. In the program, they discuss why the number of viewers is returning and also why they left in the first place. This interesting find might imply that we are regressing to older means of acquiring information or, more likely, that we miss the old way we left behind and are rerouting our attention to network news out of nostalgia.
A family sitting on a couch and watching the news while eating dinner is a more wholesome scene than seeing each family member alone in a room with a laptop or smartphone checking the news via internet. Although it’s doubtful that enough people could simultaneously feel enough nostalgic pull to the news that it would be noticed, stranger things have happened. The internet is a chaotic and turbulent place. Information is constantly fired at the web surfer in the form of ads , links, text, pictures, videos, and other web media. Internet news site can garner a negative connotation when compared to TV news broadcasts because the flow of information is more manageable and easy to take in and digest. However, despite the potential noisiness of news sites, the convenience of them cannot be overlooked. Websites are more flexible, interactive, and just as cohesively presented as TV news.
Regression to earlier tech also seems unlikely. The appeal of network news lies not in its content but in the fact that it’s a TV show as well as the news. The persona of the news provider is easier to convey through the TV as opposed to their webpage.
Like they say in On The Media, network news making a comeback is not a matter of technology but of sociological climate. People want entertainment and information and possibly most important: choice. The ability to choose what station to watch based on their coverage, personnel, bias etc. is what allows TV network news to compete with the online medium. It is also capitalistic from a philosophical point and is therefore an attractive quality to Americans.
Like all things, the newfound devotion to network news will fluctuate, and people will go back to getting their news from a smartphone or laptop. Like On The Media said, the tide is currently in favor of TV news because of the economy. Internet news is a compact taste of what news on TV is like and it’s accessible anywhere anytime there is an internet connection. Its high adaptability to peoples schedules makes it more appealing than a service that broadcasts while most are at work or out to dinner. However, with the economy as it is, less people have a job to be at or have the money to eat out, and so the folks who are unemployed and shifted down a level in the economic hierarchy find themselves in front of their TV instead of at work or a restaurant.