Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Et tu, NPR?

Today's New York Times states that Morning Edition's "traditional anchor-dominated format *** has left NPR ill positioned to respond instantly to breaking news."

But what does the Times mean by "breaking news?"

I can only think of two instances -- 9-11 and the latest Space Shuttle disaster -- where NPR should have broken into their regular format with "breaking news." The capacity to deliver breaking news can also affect the news operation itself. Take a look at 24-hour cable news channels and you will see that because they can deliver "up to the minute information" MSNBC, CNBC, Faux News and CNN treat every passing rumor, minor piece of new information, and rumors of minor pieces of new information as "breaking news."

Is that what listeners want from "Morning Edition"?

NPR should stick with a system that is working -- ME's audience has grown 41 percent in the last five years -- and leave the breathless "news" updates to cable TV.

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