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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 21: The Evolving Format of US Cable News and the Proliferation of Opinion



The Evolving Format of US Cable News and the Proliferation of Opinion


In the cable boom of the 1990s, television became the primary medium by which Americans got their news. During the cable expansion, channels carved out niches for themselves by catering their news coverage to particular partisan audiences. Today, cable remains important as it is one vital component of a much larger and ideologically fragmented media system. In an effort to distinguish itself from the competition, cable news channels became partisans and the partisanship of American cable news now extends from television to radio and the internet in a media system that is ideologically reinforcing. It allows Americans to select the politics of the news they receive as it affords political elites the ability to hone a message without contest or question.

Politicians use cable news now to selectively deliver their politics to a receptive segment of the voting public who willingly adhere to their preferred partisan brand while eschewing conflicting opinion. There are great consequences for this kind of specified news content and distribution, to include increasing polarization and an overall distrust of the media and of politicians. This chapter examines the place of cable news in modern American politics as it looks ahead to what will likely emerge in the constantly-changing media landscape.


When cable first emerged in the 1970s and 1980s...

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