I was pleased to read the three main networks gained viewers for the evening news broadcasts. I think these news broadcasts are points of commonality for a nation that is so diverse, and at times so broken and divided. I have always argued that the nation needs to have some basic starting points when having a dialogue on the issues of the day, and the evening newscasts allows for that. Therefore, any viewer increase is a plus.
This nation is better off when we have an ‘Uncle Walter’ type that can inform a broad section of the country. Getting the basic stories out before the country with sound journalism is important. Too often distorted and biased versions of events out-pace the facts given the many ways information is now transmitted. Therefore, the solid news departments of the three main networks matter.
Now more than ever.
Which is why this story matters to me.
The three network evening newscasts have been in a downward trend since the days of Tom Brokaw, Peter Jennings and Dan Rather. But for the first time since the 2001-02 season, all the three evening newscasts saw an increase in Total Viewers year-over-year.
Compared to the 2009-2010 season during the just completed 2010-11 season:
- NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams is up +2.7%
- ABC World News with Diane Sawyer is up +3.3%
- CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley is up +2.7%
The gain of a combined 637,000 total viewers in the 2010-11 season, followed a loss of 739,000 viewers in the 2009-2010 season; which means, while viewership is up, it’s not at the level it was in 2008-09, which saw the presidential election/inauguration