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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 11: Televisual Newspapers? When 24/7 Television News Channels Join Newspapers as “Old Media”


← 128 | 129 →CHAPTER ELEVEN

Televisual Newspapers? When 24/7 Television News Channels Join Newspapers as “Old Media”


In the third quarter of the 20th century, 24/7 television news channels could be classified as a form of “new media”; by the middle of the second decade of the 21st century they were already looking old fashioned (Miller, 2013). Technical developments dating back as far as the 1920s, which helped make possible the introduction of cable-based 24/7 news channels from 1980, subsequently contributed in part to the rapid growth of alternative online media forms with the potential to supplant TV. The uptake from about 2002–2004 of Web 2.0 capacity to host interactive, community-building social media represented an acceleration of change in media forms which threatened to eclipse existing ones. At about the same time, audio and video streaming were positioned as consumer products available on demand through devices connected to the internet. These were accompanied by a shift from wired static to wireless mobile receiving and sending tools. Globally by 2013, the number of television users (5.5bn) was only marginally greater than the number of mobile phone users (5.2bn) (Meeker, 2014: 8). There were also 3bn internet users, two-thirds of them in the developing world (Dragomir and Thompson, 2014: 11). Although 24/7 news channels were almost ubiquitous, the media environments in which they existed and to which they contributed varied considerably.

The mid- and late-1990s have been proposed as marking...

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