Consider this problem: your evening television news broadcast, once the most respected in the world, is now on the decline. Your viewership's median age is 60, and is down 25% since the 1990s. Clearly, your audience is "aging out," and you have a few more years until obsolescence. This is the situation that confronts CBS Evening News, the broadcast that Cronkite built. In the New York Times today, four media types explain how they would make the show relevant again.
Lizz Winstead, co-creator of "The Daily Show," would essentially repeat her magic on a non-fake scale. Don Hewitt, creator of "60 Minutes" (the only old-format news show still attracting viewers), would add a minute and a half of commentary by rotating personalities at the end of the show. Mark Burnett, "Survivor" creator, doesn't offer format, but suggests straightforward, observational honesty would bring viewers back. Finally, Al Primo, who was an early pioneer in local TV news, suggests a broadcast that interacts with the fluid mediascape (including blogs) and which is simulcast on radio so people can tune in away from TVs.
To frame the problem, Hewitt captures the central difficulty confronting news now:
When I started in this business, America waited for Walter Cronkite or Huntley-Brinkley to tell them what happened at night. Now, they know what happened. If it's not CNN or Fox News or MSNBC, it's all - news radio in your car.
So, what would you do?