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Big Media News at a Crossroads

Big Media News at a Crossroads

PBS news anchor Jim Lehrer was especially tough on the three network news anchors for limiting convention coverage this year to just a few hours in prime time. At a Harvard panel discussion on Sunday (broadcast on CSPAN and covered in the NY Times), Lehrer boldly told Tom Brokaw, Peter Jennings, and Dan Rather:

“We’re about to elect a president of the United States at a time when we have young people dying in our name overseas, we just had a report from the 9/11 commission which says we are not safe as a nation, and one of these two groups of people is going to run our country,” Mr. Lehrer said. “The fact that you three networks decided it was not important enough to run in prime time, the message that gives the American people is huge.”

While the Big Media news anchors argue about the dwindling number of viewers who will see their convention coverage on network television, news junkies will have a new way to get the latest on this year’s political conventions: blogs. Nearly 40 bloggers will be covering the Democratic convention.

For its part, ABC News and Jennings will offer non-network gavel-to-gavel coverage of the conventions on a special digital experiment that will be broadcast on digital cable, streamed online, and accesible via some cell phones; the new ABC News Now service will air 24/7 news through Election Day.

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