Listening Post

24-hour TV news: an endangered species?

We explore the impact that social media and other tools of the digital age have on rolling television news channels.

Last updated: 05 Apr 2014 14:47
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Back in 1991, CNN made television news history with its coverage of the first Gulf War. The satellite age had arrived and it transformed TV news: for the first time ever, viewers were taken live into the heart of a conflict and could follow reporters on the ground 24-hours-a-day.

Gone were the scheduled bulletins: people could tune in when they wanted - fledgling news ‘on demand’. But two decades later, the satellite age has been overtaken by the digital one.

Some say social media and mobile phones satisfy the instant news needs of consumers better than any 24-hour news channel can. They say the need to feed the hungry 24-hour news beast makes for more opinion, less journalism - and too many live updates; not enough newsgathering that would take journalists away from the live position and into the story itself.

Regardless, 24-hour TV news is by no means on its way out, with China’s CCTV, Russia’s RT, France 24, Qatar’s Al Jazeera. Whether they are about quality journalism, or a soft-power push, they are all expanding their operations around the world.

The Listening Post’s Marcela Pizarro reports on whether 24-hour news has passed its ‘sell-by date’.

Listening Post can be seen each week at the following times GMT: Saturday: 0830, 1930; Sunday: 1430; Monday: 0430.

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Al Jazeera
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