Will the Evening News Become TMZ?

Even in this marketplace, it is hard to discount entertainment news and entertainment business news, probably the most easily digestible news content.

TMZ creator Harvey Levin must believe this theory in spades -- since he'll talk about it at the National Press Club. Here's the obvious title of that talk: "Will the evening news become TMZ?"

Even in bad times, consumer entertainment and business entertainment TV reporting seems the last areas to be cut. Prospective business insiders and consumers can't help but love the stuff. To hear Levin tell it, YMZ is more than just "celebrity" news. Mind you, we still hear examples of TMZ's top-notch scoops of Mel Gibson's DUI, John Edwards' sex scandal, and Michael Jackson's death.

A press release  for the National Press Club event says a New York Times report lists TMZ/ in the top ten of Google's most influential news organizations -- after the Washington Post and ahead of the Los Angeles Times, ABC, CBS, FOX, Time magazine, and USA Today.



At the same time, another executive from another part of TV news spectrum -- CBS News chairman Jeff Fager -- calls for more real, investigative reporting. He doesn't say in which particular areas. I'm guessing the subject matter could include politics, business, and, yes, even entertainment.

In the world of presenting these stories, you can find common nexus: Both political and business stories can be boring. But spice them up with yelling, screaming and finger pointing. and you have some, err... "entertaining" content.

Advertisers have no problem with this content from "TMZ," "Entertainment Tonight," "Today," or "The CBS Evening News," given their keen-eyed -- maybe "engaging" -viewers.

Fager says real investigative reporting can be expensive, difficult and time-consuming. Viewers can process complicated stories. But as with anything else, it's the storytelling that can become convincing, even powerful.

If viewers have a heightened familiarity with subject matter -- or at least the mere mention of Charlie Sheen in the lead -- so much the better. But now and then they might want to know how their 401Ks are doing, whether a hurricane is coming, or that their local school districts are running out of money.

2 comments about "Will the Evening News Become TMZ? ".
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  1. Mark Walker from aka Media Mark, October 3, 2011 at 5:04 p.m.

    Oh Gosh, I hope not!
    Maybe a better questions (analogous?) is "will the newspaper become National Enquirer?"

  2. Aaron B. from, October 3, 2011 at 5:05 p.m.

    Real investigative is hard work, and expensive, sure. Another thing news organizations would have to consider is simply time spent. If you let a reporter go hard at one or two subjects over the course of several months, you risk losing their pencil/keyboard when it comes to covering other, daily topics.

    Last week, CNN had a great segment on Latino congressmen/congresswomen in Texas who felt their districts were being redrawn in order to reduce the number of minorities in congress... but it was only a 4.5-minute piece, and... that was it. Interesting topic; could have benefited from additional on the ground reporting interviews, but otherwise solid; and could become salient as the next election cycle nears. But what are the chances CNN revisits the piece? Investigative reporting is also about human resources, not just the cash monies.

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