Welcome to www.comprofessor.com a.k.a. Lynch Coaching: Media and Communication Prof's News and Views from Art Lynch. This blog exists to stimulate critical thinking, provide information on communication and media, stimulate discussion and share ideas. For additional media and other news see also sagactoronline.com. Thank you and tell your friends. - Art Lynch
News is no longer news. The cable news network MSNBC has chosen civil rights activist Rev. Al Sharpton to host its 6 p.m. hour. Members of the National Association of Black Journalists have questioned the hiring, saying journalists of color should have the opportunity to host prime-time cable news shows. In any case, MSNBC's moves follows similar decisions by CNN (with Eliot Spitzer) and Fox News (with Mike Huckabee and Sarah Palin), which have recently turned to public figures -- not journalists -- to helm their high-profile programming. FOX News was the first to program for ratings instead of new content, created deliberately to bring to TV the financial success of AM Conservative Talk Radio. While you can scream about the damage to journalist, ratings are up on all of those shows. Sharpton, for example, was up 13% as he guest hosts. Cable news executives, who are mostly from a sales or entertainment background, want bombastic opinions, firing up the audience and keeping the quarter hours. Journalist do not do that, at least not as large and obvious as the new "anchor/hosts". Journalist are trained to be as balanced as possible, to report facts and when possible, to take the time to gather information accurately. Talking head celebrities are not trained in journalism, coming from politics, religion or social activism where sermons, opinion and advocacy are rewarded and a part of their very being. And the same audience that complains about the "decline in journalism" flock to the talking head, shouting opinionated celebrity hosts.