Waffling in THREE dimensions.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Rough Draft

Television News Survey

Derek Allen


Journalism 201/Speech 228

Fall 2007 9:00-10:00


October 24, 2007

Does the program fulfill the broadcaster’s responsibility to inform U.S. citizens? Is the program of a high quality? Can citizens learn much about the state of the world by watching such a program? Based on the advertisements, what appears to be the targeted demographic? Does the program represent infotainment? Or is it a “serious” new program? Feel free to comment on issues you believe are relevant to the assignment. Include page numbers, a two to three page analysis.


I did not feel anymore informed after watching CBS Evening News than I did before. Perhaps this was due to my consumption of radio news broadcasts, or the perceived fluffy nature of Katie Couric’s delivery of what should be hard news. It could be due to the mandatory consumption of said product, but I left unsatisfied.


I enjoyed the pieces that were not done by Katie Couric. Every story she presented made me wonder, is this really the most important story she could be covering? Perhaps it’s just me, but her presentations lacked a certain weight, or gravitas, that I have come to expect from the news. Katie’s downy delivery makes me yearn for the thick eccentricity of Dan Rather; even Satirist Stephen Colbert has a more satisfactory delivery. I implicate myself as a sexist, but she seems to lack any authority in her presentation even as much Barabra Walters manages to convey. Walter Cronkite has spoiled us.

Entertainment value

Strangely, the most entertaining part of the broadcast was unintentional. During a segment about the drought in the Southeastern United States an interviewee stated, “Unfortunately, drought is the Rodney Dangerfield of natural disasters. People don’t take it seriously until it’s too late.” Apparently, the drought ‘don’t get no respect’; it was the fourth longest story. The longest story was about the presidential election, which is still a year away, and made use of a colorful board game as a representation of political caucus. This was a colorful and enriching method to convey a foreign concept to its viewership.


I had a roommate who used to tape commercials he found entertaining, like HeadOn and Gieco commercials, and then watch them over and over. This was annoying; he would quote them like they were shiny gems of pop culture. The advertisements in the CBS Evening News were not entertaining; perhaps I wasn’t their target audience. In fact, I am sure that I am not in their target demographic, but I doubt they would have been funny to anyone. As far as I can tell, there is nothing funny about vitamin supplements or erectile dysfunction. I found the commercials much less funny than the actual news segments, but any news story that makes a reference to Rodney Dangerfield is gold, so its not really a fair comparison.

The targeted demographic was old.


Katie Couric does not have gravitas[D1] . Light and fluffy like a morning show, superfluous. She seemed to appear primarily for transitions with the largest stories being covered by a different correspondent. There was no coverage of Iraq.

[D1] Define gravitas

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