Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Networks should cut Convention coverage

Networks planning less coverage

Major television networks are considering curtailing coverage of the Democratic National Convention after Monday’s announcement that Barack Obama will accept his party's nomination in a Denver stadium. According to several broadcast executives, the networks will still cover all the major speeches. But beyond that, all options are open as they look for savings to balance out the anticipated costs surrounding the stadium event. The acceptance event is an unexpected departure from the traditional convention hall format for which they have spent months planning. Network executives expect Obama’s relatively late-breaking decision to speak at Invesco Field at Mile High, a 76,000-seat football stadium, could add hundreds of thousands of dollars in costs to already cash-strapped news divisions. Each network has budgeted millions to cover the political conventions, but that spending is already accounted for in specific costs ranging from hotel rooms to staffing to building convention platforms.

Many are lamenting the planned cutback on network coverage of the Presidential conventions. However, the parties have made it so that nothing happens that isn't planned so this can't be classified as news anymore. The Networks should monitor the situation, and only report or cover news. That would include the speeches by the Pres and Vice Pres. nominees and any other event that actually would matter a year or 2 years from now. For instance, I think Barrack Obama's speech at the 2004 Dem. Convention was news because of his story, who he was, and what he represented for the future of the party. That was news. But it would be foolish to cover a parade of speakers and presentations as if it mattered when it doesn't.

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