Monday, October 30, 2006

Do Local News Shows Clown Around Too Much?

The other day another student (who is not from Illinois) asked me why the anchors on WGN and Fox joked around so much. I hadn’t given much though to the issue, but I’ve heard others complain about all the banter, particularly during the morning newscasts.

I realize morning news shows have more leeway and often feature segments on cooking and other light-weight fare. But newscasts only have a limited amount of time, shouldn't that time be used for news? I’m all in favor of the occasional witty remark, but do local broadcasts go too far in the other direction? And does it take away from the credibility of a journalist if he or she jokes around so much?

Speaking of WGN, why is it OK for the news to regularly advertise for CW television shows? The first item on the WGN Web site is an ad for "Everybody Hates Chris," not a link to the day's top news stories.

Going back to my initial point, the Web site also features a "rejected morning news promo" spoofing “CW” as Country Western. The anchors, wearing cowboy hats, vests and fake mustaches, sing and promise you the news quality will remain the same with all the changes to the network. Never mind that the clip is more corny than funny, are the journalists stepping a little too far outside their roles by poking fun at themselves in this way? And shouldn’t they focus their energy on the news and leave promotions to the advertising department?

To see the video, go to and click on the Video Clip of the Day.



At Wednesday, November 01, 2006, Blogger Medill Media Watch said...

You make a good point regarding WGN's advertising stunt, but I don't think all morning news shows steer away from reporting the news. In fact, I love the morning news and would be happy to report it. When I start out my morning, I don't want to be bombarded with only breaking news. Oftentimes that news revolves around car crashes, deaths, traffic, etc. I think the ability of newscasts to bump to a "lighter" segment works to a network's advantage. If it didn't, these segments wouldn't exist. Ultimately, you have to give your viewers what they want. Clearly viewers want more than just hard-hitting news.


At Thursday, November 02, 2006, Anonymous TD said...

I do think the joking around can be a bit much at times, but I do like the light hearted nature of morning shows.

It is easier to wake up to a smiling anchor than a very stern one. But, I do wish that more time was given to breaking news in the mornings. I like to know whats going on!

At Saturday, November 04, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree that there should be a balance, but few people can walk the fine line between "serious" news and entertainment very well. And that's where problems with credibility emerge, and as we're always told, credibility's all we've got.



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