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The Future of 24-Hour News

New Directions, New Challenges

Edited By Stephen Cushion and Richard Sambrook

Over the last 30 years 24-hour television news channels have reshaped the practice and culture of journalism. But the arrival of new content and social media platforms over recent years has challenged their power and authority, with fast-changing technologies accelerating the speed of news delivery and reshaping audience behaviour. Following on from The Rise of 24-Hour News Television: Global Perspectives (Cushion and Lewis, 2010), this volume explores new challenges and pressures facing television news channels, and considers the future of 24-hour news. Featuring a wide range of industry and academic perspectives, including the heads of some of the major international news channels (BBC Global News, Al Jazeera and Sky News, among others) as well as leading academics from around the world, contributors reflect on how well rolling television news is reinventing itself for digital platforms and the rapidly changing expectations of audiences. Overall, the 24 chapters in this volume deliver fresh insights into how 24-hour news channels have redefined rolling news journalism – or potentially could do – in order to remain relevant and effective in supplying continuous news for 21st-century audiences.
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Introduction: The Future of 24-Hour News: New Directions, New Challenges



24-hour news is no longer a new or novel part of journalism. Dedicated television news channels, after all, have been operating for well over thirty years, whilst online news or live rolling blogs are now decades old. More recently, new content and social media platforms—from YouTube to Twitter, Weibo to Facebook, Vine to Periscope—have accelerated the pace of news delivery, instantly publishing at the tap of an app a story, comment, photo, pre-recorded image or live moving pictures. News is now supplied in a more fluid form and faster pace than at any other point in history, radically different to the culture of journalism in 1980 when CNN launched the first-ever 24-hour television news channel. Even at the beginning of the new millennium, the growing army of dedicated television news channels around the world did not face the same level of competition or type of editorial pressures from today’s hyper-accelerated news culture.

For news has converged at spectacular speed: from smart phones to radios, television sets to tablets, newspapers to computers, people can—and increasingly do—move seamlessly between an ever-extending menu of media platforms. As internet penetration has increased over recent decades and more people connect online to new portable devices that allow news to be easily consumed throughout the day, the role and purpose of dedicated 24-hour television news channels has been brought into sharper focus. Whereas rolling news channels could once claim...

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