Here’s a funny story.
Last month, CBS News, the least popular network news choice, got around 100 college student interns to come up with ideas on how their news shows could attract a younger audience, and present those ideas to top dogs in the news division. But this wasn’t an act of openness by a despearate network, heavens no. The head of the CBS News internship program tells us:
“The purpose was so they could see how the business works… This was for them to learn. It was not for us. Frankly, we weren’t looking for ideas for the evening news. We have a whole group of people working on that right now.”
Right. The third-ranked network asked a bunch of young people to tell them how to sell the show to young people, but they’re not looking for ideas. That’s crazy talk.
Some of these young folks’ ideas weren’t bad. They included:
- a younger co-anchor for the aged Bob Schieffer
- more international news
- extending the show from 30 to 60 minutes
- adding weather and sports
- cutting after-report chatter between the anchor and the correspondents in the field
- an “increase in ‘MTV-style’ national reporting”, whatever the hell that means
- more coverage of ethnic minorities and issues important to them
- less emphasis on correspondents in general
But the response by the execs is depressing and predictable. They disliked the sports, weather, 60 minute, and de-emphasis of correspondents ideas. But the MTV and expanded minority coverage were. The execs also seemed really into podcasting, although the interns weren’t. Which sounds like typical out-of-touch white elderthink to me (”kids love the MTV and the rap music! And I read about these ‘pod-casts’ in Business Week, they’re supposed to be the next big thing! Let’s do one of them”).
I’ll add my own suggestion:
“Maybe you guys shouldn’t suck.”
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