PublicationsDecember 7, 2006

Couric’s Vanishing Viewers

No one expected new CBS anchor Katie Couric to maintain her huge initial audience, which included its share of curiosity seekers. And it’s too early to pass judgment on CBS’s gamble in choosing her. But in less than three months, her newscast has lost about 2.5 million viewers and is down from a year earlier.

PublicationsDecember 6, 2006

Do You Know What’s on Your TV News?

There’s a battle brewing over whether the government should regulate the use of video news releases—prepackaged segments often produced for commercial clients—that look like news reports and sometimes appear on local TV newscasts. This PEJ backgrounder examines the dispute between television industry representatives and their critics.

PublicationsDecember 5, 2006

"Sectarian Violence" Makes a Comeback

While the political and semantic debate over what to call the violence in Iraq continues, many news outlets are still mulling over that decision and keeping their options open. A search of news stories on the Internet finds that the issue is far from settled. In the past few days, “sectarian violence” showed up in more Iraq stories than “civil war,” reversing the previous week’s trend.

PublicationsDecember 4, 2006

The Times Wins a Straw Poll

What are the best newspapers in America? The question used to be hotly debated. But when Poynter.org readers were asked to weigh in recently there was tepid response. Does that reflect a stagnating newspaper industry? We offer the results of that effort here. But maybe the more interesting, or at least refreshing question, is what are the best news web sites.

PublicationsNovember 30, 2006

Are the Media Opting for “Civil War?”

There was a turn in the media’s approach to the war in Iraq this week. NBC announced that it would use the term “civil war” to describe it, a phrase the White House has thus far refrained from using. And a search of Google News suggests that that term is now beginning to surpass “sectarian violence” as a way of describing the carnage in Iraq.

PublicationsNovember 30, 2006

Watergate Remembered In a Time of War

Three decades later, the Washington Post’s reporting on the Watergate scandal is still spoken about with a hushed reverence as a singular journalistic achievement. The legend and mythology surrounding Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein continue to grow, even as the industry itself has changed.

PublicationsNovember 27, 2006

Election Night 2006

How did the news media fare on Nov. 7? A PEJ study of 32 different media outlets on Election Day offers “five lessons” about the coverage of major breaking- news events in the multi-media era, and a “sector-by-sector” breakdown. While some outlets struggled to find their role, those that combined both speed and interactivity seemed the most useful destinations.

PublicationsNovember 22, 2006

Bad News from the College Campus

According to the Student Press Law Center, large numbers of college papers are being stolen from racks and newsstands at an alarming rate this semester. In most cases, the perpetrators seem intent in quashing stories about controversial or unpopular subjects. And one advocate for student journalists thinks it’s time for college administrators to crack down on the problem.

PublicationsNovember 20, 2006

Making it a Family Affair

Ever since the replacement of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld with Robert Gates, the media have had a field day turning U.S. war policy into a contest between President George W. Bush and his father, George H.W. Bush. That makes for an irresistible story line and plays out like a soap opera. But this new media narrative also highlights what can be a journalistic problem—the self-fulfilling story line.

PublicationsNovember 20, 2006

How the Media Speak about Madame Speaker

As the first woman Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi is big news, but what effect has her gender had on her coverage? A search of the Internet suggests the media may be looking at the new Speaker differently than other congressional leaders. Pelosi’s role as a grandmother, for instance, turns up in many stories about her. Few reporters, however, one seem to find it noteworthy that Trent Lott is a grandfather.