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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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Chapter 1: Have 24-Hour TV News Channels Had Their Day?


← 14 | 15 →CHAPTER ONE

Have 24-Hour TV News Channels Had Their Day?


In 2014, we wrote two articles for The Guardian website on the future of 24-hour TV News channels.1 As a former Director of BBC News and former Head of Strategy for BBC News, we had been instrumental in the launching of a number of news channels, but felt there was now little recognition of the imminent impact of digital and mobile platforms on their function and performance. The articles were polemical—intended to provoke debate in an industry we felt had been insufficiently innovative in response to digital technologies and which had fallen into some complacency.

The reaction was decidedly mixed. Some editors and executives welcomed and joined the debate in an open fashion. Others told us they privately agreed but publicly would have to reject our arguments. Some simply disagreed. A number of editors initially rejected the arguments, but later said they recognized some of the points we made. We were invited to talk to several broadcasters in Europe and take part in internal discussions on the future of TV news. In the UK, the Head of Sky News, John Ryley took on the arguments in public at a speech at the Royal Society of Arts.2 (See Chapter Six.)

As the future of BBC funding began to be publicly debated speculation grew about whether the BBC News Channel could be...

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