Evening News Reasserts Viability

One theory holds that if "newspapers are dinosaurs doomed to extinction, then the nightly newscasts are wooly mammoths lumbering toward oblivion," writes Rachel Smolkin in the American Journalism Review. But she claims that the equivalent of a tectonic plate shift has "disrupted, slowed and perhaps even reversed this natural order." Within the last two years, anchor chairs at all three top nets have changed the "grossly exaggerated" story line of their demise. "The conventional wisdom of television was the morning shows were king, and the evening news shows were a dying breed," says Jon Banner, executive producer of "World News with Charles Gibson." But Banner believes the events of the last few months have countered that opinion. He cites the switches by Gibson on his network and Katie Couric's move from NBC to CBS. Now the evening newscasts appear as the editorial spines of the news divisions. As a result of the much-publicized musical chairs, Smolkin points out that "the evening newscasts have what their morning print counterparts can only dream of: buzz and opportunity."

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