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August 31, 2020 11:06 am  #1


Can A Newscast That Promises Opinion-Free Stories Get An Audience?

The answer is coming soon, as Nexstar-owned WGN-TV launches a national newscast in the U.S. on Tuesday called "NewsNation." 

What's the big deal? It pledges that the program will report only facts and not venture into opinion on anything political. They've even hired two producers to look over every piece of copy to see if there's anything that can be misinterpreted as biased. 

"Nexstar executives insist their promise of a politically neutral newscast is more than a marketing gimmick. Among the 150 people hired for the Chicago-based program...are two producers dedicated to scrutinizing every story for language that could be construed as biased.

"A team of rhetoricians — made up of media consultants and academics — have also been lined up to monitor the fairness of its coverage. Each night they will deliver a report on how the program fared."


There are two big questions here: can they actually pull this off at a time when there's so much political polarization in North America? And with so much competition in prime time, will anyone watch a national newscast at 8 PM?

WGN is available on Canadian cable and satellite, although not everybody gets it. In case you don't recognize the name, Nexstar is the owner of a chain of TV stations, including WIVB and WNLO in Buffalo. Their newscasts won't be affected. 

'NewsNation' looks for viewers who want their news served up opinion-free 

 

August 31, 2020 12:14 pm  #2


Re: Can A Newscast That Promises Opinion-Free Stories Get An Audience?

You won't actually see NewsNation in Canada, because it's on the "WGN America" cable channel, which is a completely different program schedule from WGN-TV in Chicago - and because of the way the CRTC regulates cable superstation carriage, it's the WGN-TV Chicago feed that gets carried in Canada, not WGN America.

(Same deal with the TBS Network versus the former WTBS-TV Atlanta, which is now the "Peachtree TV" WPCH-TV independent station that you get across Canada, while we get the national TBS network. Those services aren't even commonly owned anymore - TBS Network is part of the former Turner Broadcasting, which became part of TimeWarner and eventually AT&T, while WPCH-TV is now owned by Meredith.)

 

August 31, 2020 12:26 pm  #3


Re: Can A Newscast That Promises Opinion-Free Stories Get An Audience?

That's a shame. I'd like to get a look at the show to see whether they can pull it off. However, they do promise a web presence, so perhaps I can get the flavour of it that way. 

     Thread Starter
 

August 31, 2020 5:53 pm  #4


Re: Can A Newscast That Promises Opinion-Free Stories Get An Audience?

RadioActive wrote:

That's a shame. I'd like to get a look at the show to see whether they can pull it off. However, they do promise a web presence, so perhaps I can get the flavour of it that way. 

Streaming? Do I need a VPN to see it?


RadioWiz & RadioQuiz are NOT the same person. 
RadioWiz & THE Wiz are NOT the same person.
 
 

August 31, 2020 5:58 pm  #5


Re: Can A Newscast That Promises Opinion-Free Stories Get An Audience?

Too soon to know. When it launches, we'll find out. I know most of the U.S. network news sites are available here without a VPN, so maybe this one will follow suit. 

     Thread Starter
 

August 31, 2020 8:11 pm  #6


Re: Can A Newscast That Promises Opinion-Free Stories Get An Audience?

Actually, you may not have to wait after all. There are several promo sites up and none of them appear to be geoblocked. One has a tour of the studio, which certainly looks impressive. They've obviously put some money into this.

NewsNation


 

     Thread Starter
 

September 2, 2020 10:22 am  #7


Re: Can A Newscast That Promises Opinion-Free Stories Get An Audience?

This "non-biased" newscast started Tuesday. Did it work? Hard to say, since I don't see any way to watch the entire thing online. However bits and pieces of it are available in separate stories. Here's one on Trump's visit to Kenosha, Wisconsin, certainly a story that could be politically charged either way.

If you decide to watch it, I'll leave it to you to decide whether you think both sides were fairly represented. (I've always found part of the problem isn't always the newscast but the viewer's own preconceived notions. I'm not sure there's any way for the producers to overcome that no matter how balanced they try to be.) 

The video on this page does not appear to be geoblocked. 

Pres. Trump visits Kenosha, calls violence ‘domestic terrorism’ 

     Thread Starter
 

September 3, 2020 12:27 am  #8


Re: Can A Newscast That Promises Opinion-Free Stories Get An Audience?

That is a fools errand.  If they report that Trump has cut healthcare, not improved it as he claims, his voters will see that as left wing propaganda.  You can only be unbiased if there is an agreed set of facts from which to write a story.  That isn't possible in the US right now.

 

March 10, 2021 5:33 pm  #9


Re: Can A Newscast That Promises Opinion-Free Stories Get An Audience?

Well, the answer to my original thread question appears to be a resounding and very loud, "No."

Nexstar CEO fiddles with morning show while NewsNation burns

     Thread Starter
 

April 28, 2021 9:35 am  #10


Re: Can A Newscast That Promises Opinion-Free Stories Get An Audience?

If you recall this thread about the Chicago-based "no partisanship newscast," you may remember its neutrality pledge. In this fascinating L.A. Times update about a disaster in the making, it's revealed that the show has been attracting an audience of only about 27,000 people a night - and remember this is a national program! - numbers so embarrassing that several key people have already left since its debut on Sept. 1, 2020. 
 
What's more interesting though, is how quickly they appear to have completely abandoned the "balance" promise and why what happened next shows the complete disintegration of what had been a hopeful but perhaps impossible idea.

NewsNation promised an 'unbiased' alternative to Fox, CNN. What went wrong?

     Thread Starter
 

April 28, 2021 10:10 am  #11


Re: Can A Newscast That Promises Opinion-Free Stories Get An Audience?

I guess they need to go left, but carefully as to not sound too much like socialism. More of a centre left approach.  Then again, that was tried with radio...where is Air America today? lol 


 


RadioWiz & RadioQuiz are NOT the same person. 
RadioWiz & THE Wiz are NOT the same person.
 
 

April 28, 2021 11:17 am  #12


Re: Can A Newscast That Promises Opinion-Free Stories Get An Audience?

RadioActive wrote:

If you recall this thread about the Chicago-based "no partisanship newscast," you may remember its neutrality pledge. In this fascinating L.A. Times update about a disaster in the making, it's revealed that the show has been attracting an audience of only about 27,000 people a night - and remember this is a national program! - numbers so embarrassing that several key people have already left since its debut on Sept. 1, 2020. 
 
What's more interesting though, is how quickly they appear to have completely abandoned the "balance" promise and why what happened next shows the complete disintegration of what had been a hopeful but perhaps impossible idea.

NewsNation promised an 'unbiased' alternative to Fox, CNN. What went wrong?

From the article:

"The network is also hampered by WGN America's long legacy as a general entertainment programmer. Its channel position on cable and satellite systems is typically in the triple digits and not adjacent to other news networks, making it hard for viewers to find. NewsNation still runs entertainment programming during the day, likely adding to consumer confusion."

That definitely doesn't help. I just checked Spectrum's cable lineup for Buffalo (where Nexstar owns WIVB and WNLO); they've got:

BBC World News - channel 23
CNN - channel 29
HLN - channel 42
Fox News - channel 44
CNBC - channel 52
MSNBC - channel 59
NewsNation - channel 76
Fox Business - channel 80

Their cable position in Buffalo isn't terrible (though not as favourable as CNN and even BBC World News), but what's on their schedule right now? A marathon of In the Heat of the Night, and Blue Bloods is coming up at 3:00. If you're a "news" network and you're not broadcasting news, people aren't going to migrate to you. CNN debuted in 1980 with a 24/7 news lineup.

In Seattle, Comcast has them all the way up on channel 128, while CNN, HLN, MSNBC, CNBC, and Fox News are all grouped together in the 40s. Given Comcast's dominance, I wouldn't be surprised if that exact situation exists in many other markets.

Last edited by MJ Vancouver (April 28, 2021 11:22 am)

 

April 28, 2021 11:48 am  #13


Re: Can A Newscast That Promises Opinion-Free Stories Get An Audience?

Very complicated situation. Hope it works out for the people who had the original vision, even though
some of them have left, if that makes any sense.
One of the sidelights in the Yahoo! (LATimes) article posted by RA is the mention of Shep Smith, now
with CNBC. I'd like to see him at MSNBC, to see what he could do there.

Thanks for the update, RA.

 

April 28, 2021 12:21 pm  #14


Re: Can A Newscast That Promises Opinion-Free Stories Get An Audience?

RadioActive wrote:

 
What's more interesting though, is how quickly they appear to have completely abandoned the "balance" promise and why what happened next shows the complete disintegration of what had been a hopeful but perhaps impossible idea.

"Impossible" is the correct word. Politics have become polarized that just stating a fact, or even choosing to cover a story at all is seen as biased or 'fake news.'


 
 

April 28, 2021 2:01 pm  #15


Re: Can A Newscast That Promises Opinion-Free Stories Get An Audience?

The idea wasn't bad but only programming 5 hours of news per day doesn't make "News Nation" a news channel.

Scheduling entertainment shows and dramas like In The Heat of the Night and Blue Bloods during the day  doesn't make much sense, confuses the viewer, and too much like what WGN offered.   Not only are these shows available on other channels and networks everywhere, it sends out a message that your network really isn't into news that much.  Basically they are news lightweights and that will never fly, so hence the crappy ratings.

What happens when there is a huge developing news story in the morning or afternoon?  All of the other news networks have gone into breaking news mode and News Nation is showing a 30 year police show starring  Archie Bunker?  Please...  

The real problem is not the idea of fair unbiased news but rather poor programming, not much news on the channel and as mentioned the undesirable channel positions on cable and satellite away from all of the other news stations.  News Nation is DOA. 

 

April 28, 2021 2:05 pm  #16


Re: Can A Newscast That Promises Opinion-Free Stories Get An Audience?

mike marshall wrote:

Very complicated situation. Hope it works out for the people who had the original vision, even though
some of them have left, if that makes any sense.
One of the sidelights in the Yahoo! (LATimes) article posted by RA is the mention of Shep Smith, now
with CNBC. I'd like to see him at MSNBC, to see what he could do there.
👍

Thanks for the update, RA.

 

 

April 28, 2021 3:43 pm  #17


Re: Can A Newscast That Promises Opinion-Free Stories Get An Audience?

paterson1 wrote:

The idea wasn't bad but only programming 5 hours of news per day doesn't make "News Nation" a news channel.

Scheduling entertainment shows and dramas like In The Heat of the Night and Blue Bloods during the day  doesn't make much sense, confuses the viewer, and too much like what WGN offered.   Not only are these shows available on other channels and networks everywhere, it sends out a message that your network really isn't into news that much.  Basically they are news lightweights and that will never fly, so hence the crappy ratings.

What happens when there is a huge developing news story in the morning or afternoon?  All of the other news networks have gone into breaking news mode and News Nation is showing a 30 year police show starring  Archie Bunker?  Please...  

The real problem is not the idea of fair unbiased news but rather poor programming, not much news on the channel and as mentioned the undesirable channel positions on cable and satellite away from all of the other news stations.  News Nation is DOA. 

I remember CBC Newsworld in its early years broadcast quite a bit of non-news programming, at least on weekends - and that went on well into the late 90s. I remember them airing reruns of Royal Canadian Air Farce on Saturdays. They also had a show called Fashion File, which I believe was the only non-news program Newsworld had that did not also air on the main CBC network.

Difference was CBC Newsworld was the only Canadian all-news channel at the time, and I recall the non-news programming didn't last much longer after CTV News 1 came along, as they were truly 24/7 news.

CP24 also had some non-news shows early on, particularly in their early years, though it was often at least somewhat news-related - e.g. Rewind, or repackaged CityPulse News Serials. I recall seeing some shows from Access Alberta (then owned by CHUM) in the first year or so CP24 was on.

Last edited by MJ Vancouver (April 28, 2021 3:46 pm)