Sunday, November 26, 2006

A New Light for In-Depth Reporting

As the light at the end of the Medill Reports tunnel appears a little brighter and a little closer this week, I thought it might be a good time to take a look at how the networks approach long-form reporting.

One of my favorite shows, if I can stay awake, is ABC’s Nightline. I never really got into the show during the Ted Kopple days but post-Kopple, I’ve found it to be a great alternative to Letterman and Leno.

But according to some, it looks like the post-Ted Kopple Nightline” is still in its adolescent stage—trying to find itself.

The original “Nightline” premiered four days after the Iran hostage crisis started. In an effort to compete with the other networks late-night programing, ABC launched the show to update Americans on the latest in the Middle East.

After the hostage crisis, “Nightline” and its anchor Ted Kopple kept the time slot and offered a hard news end of day wrap up.

When Kopple left the show was revamped and now offers a variety of hard and soft news features.

Some say the show’s aim is to be the “New Yorker” of television, but it appears it’s got a long way to go.

One frequent criticism is that there are often more questions raised than answered. When talking about long-form in-depth reporting that’s not a good thing.

So far the ratings have held and I’m glad. To me the show encompasses the idea that television journalism is more than just spray a room and get out. TV can have depth and answer serious questions.

It just looks like the new “Nightline” needs to grow up a little before that will happen.


To leanr more about the history of “Nightline” click here.

To visit the “Nightline” home page click here.


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