What Would Happen to TV News if Newspapers Ceased to Exist?

Some folks may poo-poo the notion that newspapers have that much impact on what TV news operations cover.  To that I would say you have never seen what goes on in a TV newsroom.  I’m not saying that there are not people who crank out enterprise stories in television but more times than many will admit, a reporter walks in to the station, gets handed a newspaper clipping and is told to go turn that story.

What prompted this particular post is something I saw on TVSpy about the very real possibility of newspapers as we know them disappearing.  That and the fact that a number of old media companies are just now realizing that the Internet is indeed here to stay and the way of the future for news. ( just how remains to be worked out IMHO)  Some newspapers are attempting to morph into something that includes video and slideshows.   They may not have found the final mix but at least they are trying.  Those that do not try will find they are indeed riding the dinosaur toward the cliff of extinction.  And it was in that particular article that it was mentioned that the demise of newspapers would indeed be felt in TV newsrooms.  In most TV newsrooms, there is no question that they do not have the resources that many newspapers have or at least used to have.  I’ve always argued and a number of people agree that if you want immediacy, you go to TV.  If you want depth and detail, you go to newspapers.  If you want more than that, you go to the weekly news magazines.   The thought of what would happen to a TV newsroom without newspapers as a resource is a sobering thought and probably scares the heck out of any manager who thinks about it.  Heck, they might just have to give more time to sports and weather.

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2 Comments on “What Would Happen to TV News if Newspapers Ceased to Exist?”

  1. Doug J. Says:

    Good point. TV newsrooms, from the smallest markets to the networks, piggyback off the original reporting done by newspapers each day. Would the scandal rocking the Veterans Admin. be as big if the Washington Post hadn’t publshed a front page piece on the problems at Walter Reed? And would the MLGW mess be getting as much attention locally if the Commercial Appeal hadn’t given it so much space on the front page? The staffs of most television news operations are simply too small to effectively cover the entire geographical area their signals reach. Without newspapers acting as signposts, we would probably get much more canned coverage from VNRs and news releases, along with more entertainment gossip. PR professionals would have a lot more work to do, because they’d be filling a lot more time on newscasts.

    As far as newspapers’ continued existence, while computers do provide a lot of information, online sources follow the TV model, merely re-purposing material originally reported by newspapers and magazines. The advertising model has not been developed to the point where it can sustain the size staff needed to report an entire newspaper’s worth of information. And no news organization has made the subscription model successful.

    Younger generations are showing less interest in news, either in print or broadcast. So, there will end up being fewer news programs on TV. There will also end up being fewer newspapers, as we’ve seen over the last few decades. But — no one has yet demonstrated a method of delivering a varied compendium of information as effectively as newspapers — so they will probably always be around in some form. Or not. I’m often wrong..

  2. Brad Says:

    Hi, Joe. If you’d like to migrate your old Blogspot site to your new WordPress digs, you can do it, just read the instructions here:


    You cannot do the switch through IE7, it simply won’t work. Use another browser such as Firefox and it will upload like a champ.

    I’ve been reading your blog semi-regularly since late last year and I really enjoy it, Great job.

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