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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 14: Quick Quick Slow: From Fast News to Slow News



Quick Quick Slow: From Fast News to Slow News




In a previous chapter (Lewis, 2010), I explored the relentless drift towards “breaking” and “live” news, a trend pioneered by news channels but increasingly a part of all forms of broadcast news (Cushion, 2015). My point of departure was a body of research that suggested the growth of what we might call “fast news,” prompted by the growth of 24-hour news channels, has impoverished the quality of information we receive (Lewis, 2010). At around the same time, Dan Gillmor posted an article on the Mediactive site, describing the inevitable unreliability that flows from what we might call the currency of currency. He ended by proposing a philosophical alternative, a move towards the idea of “slow news” (Gillmor, 2009).

This idea has its antecedents: perhaps most notably Susan Greenberg’s article in Prospect magazine, which drew upon a range of historical literary traditions to outline the case for “slow journalism” (Greenberg, 2007). While it is tempting to unravel a clear, linear genealogy of these overlapping terms, the almost simultaneous emergence of the terms “slow news” or “slow journalism” from different sources—often without reference to one another—suggests a collective response to the technological rush that has shaped early 21st-century journalism. We are seeing the early stirrings of a counter to the 24-hour news culture of “speed it up and spread it thin” (Fenton,...

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