Can news media bounce back in 2022?

Because donald trumpfrom the chaotic departure from the White House in early 2021, and as COVID-related fatigue only grew throughout the year, the American public’s appetite for news dropped sharply. Perhaps some decrease was inevitable, given that a once-in-a-century pandemic, a mass protest movement calling for racial justice and a contentious presidential election generated intense media interest and engagement in 2020. .

Still, declines for some media have been steep, with Axios describing the news pledge as having “fallen off a cliff”. For example, weekday primetime cable news viewership dropped 38% on CNN, 34% on Fox News Channel, and 25% on MSNBC. according to to the data tracked by Nielsen. Although some major events in 2021, such as the end of the war in Afghanistan, the Derek Chauvin Trump’s trial and second impeachment, likely generated outsized engagement, such heightened interest proved fleeting. The more conventional Biden administration is a significant departure from the controversial Trump years, which provided endless fodder for cable producers. As a journalism professor at the University of Maryland Tom Rosenstiel recently Recount the AP, “You become, to some degree, a prisoner of the audience you’ve built.”

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As the networks work to entice viewers into the new year, the Fox News host jesse watters suggested on Monday that more conflict on the left would benefit his network. “I work at Fox. I want to see the disarray on the left. It’s good for America. Watters said, adding, “It’s good for our grades.” While the idea of ​​media companies stoking national disputes to boost their ratings isn’t entirely outrageous, Watters stating it bluntly drew criticism from a competitor. “That’s the quiet part, he said the quiet part [out loud]”, CNN commentator SE Mug remarked Tuesday morning. “I never imagined calling Jesse Watters an academic, however, I think what he just did was really articulate the three pillars of America’s New Right…. He talks about wanting to see disarray on the left, as if that’s not also wanting to see disarray in America, and not just in a political party, but he wants real pain in the streets. Cupp went on to say that conservative media networks prioritize “ratings above all else.” That’s true at Fox, where ratings certainly seemed to trump public health and safety, as well as facts.

In the first weeks of 2021, Fox News made to lose its place at the top of the cable news hierarchy, as One America News Network and Newsmax apparently siphoned off some of its viewers, leading MSNBC and CNN to skip Fox for a brief period. But the network has since reclaimed its top spot in the rankings, a rebound that the Fox News CEO Suzanne Scott highlighted in it end of year statement. “Not only were we the only network to grow our viewership,” she said, “but we did it while changing our programming and transforming the entire late-night television landscape into the process, ensuring our continued momentum for many years to come.”

Beyond the television news, the AP noted that The Washington Postthe number of unique visitors to fell 44% in November 2021 compared to the previous year, according to Comscore; The New York Times fell 34% during this period. (The To post has proved particularly dependent on new policies for traffic.) Yet the new year has already brought news of a major media launch: On Tuesday, the CEO of Bloomberg Media Justin Smith and Ben Smith, the former editor of BuzzFeed and more recently the New York Times‘ featured media columnist, announcement plans for a start-up targeting a global audience. “There are 200 million people who are university educated, who read in English, but who no one really treats as an audience, but who talk to each other and talk to us”, Ben Smith Recount his now old diary. “That’s what we consider our audience.”

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