I avoid getting my news from TV and instead try to get it from the web or newspapers. Nonetheless, I find this statistic, reported by The New York Times, startling:
According to Nielsen Media Research, the median age of the top-rated Fox News audience is 63.9 years old, nearly four years older than that of the second-highest-rated news channel, CNN, and eight years older than for the third-place channel, MSNBC.
The median age for the three evening newscasts is 60.5.
The news story concerns attempts by TV news to attract "young voters." The idea is apparently to put young reporters on TV because the young like to watch their peers. I'm 46, but my reasons for preferring to get news almost any way except TV is that I want to read immediately about what I want to know about, rather than waiting through endless and repetitive commercials and coverage of other things. Also, waiting through the crap is a gamble: most of the time you don't know if they are going to get around to your subject matter. (There are additional and obvious reasons not to watch or read Fox News.) TV news abuses the viewers patience in ways I find unacceptable.
When we were staying in a hotel in Orlando for the International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts, for mysterious reasons, the hotel had flatscreen TVs, mostly tuned to Fox, all over the place. There were even TVs in the publicly available bathrooms: I was really bothered by having to listen to the broadcast of George W. Bush reading from the Bible while in the toilet stall. This struck me as vaguely obscene.
While I am not in the age group targeted by the strategies described in the article, I somehow don't think that what's broke about TV news can be fixed by substituting younger talking heads. The NYT article opens,
Television networks are assigning reporters to a new beat this election year: people who don’t watch the evening news.Ohh-kaaay. And why don't they translate all those running captions into text-messaging-speak? And maybe all the male announcers should be required to have those funny little Jesus beards. And . . .
Ah, marketing. The networks' plans seem to me like new shades of lipstick for the pig.