The AP reports that Katie Couric is leaving her job as anchor of the CBS Evening News.
The full story is at http://apne.ws/fBiEwf
For the record, I predicted her tenure wouldn’t work five years ago. Following is what I said:
The Washington Times:
“Katie Couric will not save the ‘CBS Evening News.’ In fact, her selection may be a recognition that the era of a ‘news’ program in the evening is over,” said Temple University journalism professor Christopher Harper, a former ABC News foreign correspondent.
Mrs. Couric, 49, won’t resonate with a young, demanding audience and will alienate older viewers attuned to traditional news delivery rather than the “softer, friendlier approach,” he said.
The Christian Science Monitor
“Katie Couric will not save the ‘CBS Evening News,’ ” says former ABC producer Christopher Harper. All three major networks – ABC, CBS, and NBC – have watched their viewerships decline in recent years and now face the same issues of a dwindling, aging audience. While 25 million or so people still watch the evening news – a significant demographic – that figure is only declining, in much the same way as readers of an evening edition of a daily newspaper did 40 years ago.
“It’s highly likely that one of the networks will end its formal newscast in the next five years,” says Mr. Harper, and find other uses for the time slot.
Katie Can’t Save It, Says Former ABC Bureau Chief
PHILADELPHIA, Aug. 29 (AScribe Newswire) — Christopher Harper, associate professor of journalism at Temple University, worked for ABC News from 1980 to 1995. He served as a bureau chief in Cairo and Rome, a correspondent in Cairo and Rome, and an investigative producer for 20/20.
He worked with the late Peter Jennings in Europe and the Middle East. Here are his thoughts on Katie Couric taking over as evening news anchor at CBS:
“Katie Couric will not save the CBS Evening News. In fact, her selection may be a recognition that the era of a ‘news’ program in the evening is over. Her ascension to the anchor chair carries the unstated implication that the evening news is trying to move toward a softer, friendlier approach. Many serious news reporters were astonished when she said she would not travel to the Middle East to cover recent events. That message trivializes the work of those reporters who do cover wars and disasters and implies that their time may be spent in a more productive manner.”
“It is likely that the CBS Evening News will gain some viewers initially, but may well alienate the older viewers, who remain the dominant audience of the three programs. If the idea is to attract younger viewers, that battle has already been lost. Eighteen-to-34-year-olds will not run to the Web to watch the evening news. Younger viewers, as well as most viewers, want news delivered when they want it rather than when the networks are willing to provide it. Moreover, a 47-year-old anchor is older than the parents of many college students.”
“ABC, CBS and NBC have seen their audiences decline with each passing year. Even though 25 million total viewers may seem significant – and to a certain extent they still are – the networks are facing the same problems that the once-dominant afternoon newspapers faced in the 1950s and 1960s. The audience is declining and growing older. That’s why most newspapers have turned to morning editions, and why morning television has become the main source of income for the three old networks. Like the afternoon papers, the evening newscasts have simply failed to adapt.”
“Simply put, it is likely that the number of viewers will continue to decline – as will the importance of the evening news. In fact, I think it is highly likely that one of the networks will end its formal newscast in the next five years, incorporating reports with local news and using the time slot to counter-program with another type of show.”
If anyone would like to ask me who the next anchor should be, it shouldn’t be anyone being bandied about now: Russ Mitchell, Scott Pelley and Harry Smith. But no one asked me the last time.