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Monday, March 15, 2010

Talking heads take the cake in recently released journalism study

The only bright spot in the PEW Research Center’s dismal report on the state of American journalism is the resurgence of cable news networks. Prime-time viewership for FOX, CNN and MSNBC grew 7%, while daytime viewership rose 16% over the past year. Additionally, overall cable news revenues rose an estimated 5% due to subscription fees and audience growth.

While this is positive news for the industry as a whole, it is important to recognize that cable news shows became noticeably more ideological in 2009. The strongest ratings growth and overall ratings were among partisan talk shows – FOX’s Glenn Beck program was up 96% while The O’Reilly Factor was up 16%.

If cable talk shows are the future of television news, viewers will need to watch critically.