×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Broadcast News Chiefs Vow Deeper Coverage in 2020 Election

As the United States steels itself for a new presidential election next year, TV-news viewers will still get horse-race stories – but, also, say three of the industry’s top executives, a lot more.

The heads of CBS News, NBC News and ABC News jointly vowed Thursday that their outlets would cover the 2020 election in deeper, more nuanced fashion, and said they would all have more staffers on the ground around the nation to chronicle more precisely the actions of President Donald Trump and how Americans react to them. None of them were willing to say they would back away from coverage of rallies or the latest polls about who’s up and who’s down, but all three suggested they had taken steps to collect more information from around the country.

“We may have more journalists deployed in the field than at any other time in this news organization,” said Noah Oppenheim, president of NBC News, speaking at a “Future of News” conference organized by the Financial Times. Oppenheim said NBC News had begun to hire journalists from local papers around the U.S., and to assign them to cover the region with which they are already familiar. He said NBC News was eager to report “the things that move the needle,” which are generally “what this president is doing and how people react to them”

“You can only tell those stories with boots on the ground,” he added.

Oppenheim appeared with CBS News President Susan Zirinsky and ABC News President James Goldston.

Goldston said he felt the TV networks “kind of owe it to the audience” not to let a narrative overtake reporting. Many people were surprised Trump won the 2016 election, he said, and a win by Hillary Clinton became “a really deep-seated kind of assumption.” Letting that happen would represent ‘a great disservice to the audience,” he said.

Zirinsky said journalists have also become more inured to being criticized by the White House. “Ignore the noise” and focus on the story at hand, she advises CBS News personnel. “At this point, it’s gotten easier to ignore it,” said Oppenheim.

The three executives also discussed new ways their outlets are bringing news to the world. CBS, said Zirinsky, has broken down silo between TV and digital news operations and is working to show off its newsgathering capabilities throughout the day. NBCUniversal has plans to develop “an international news channel with a global footprint,” said Oppenheim, that could make use of Comcast’s recent acquistion of European satellite -broadcaster Sky PLC as well as NBCU’s stake in Euronews. The new outlet could use both NBC and Sky branding, he suggested.

Goldston, meanwhile, took time to spotlight “The View,” the late-morning talk show that has gotten newsier since coming under ABC News’ aegis in 2014. “That show has become a different kind of politics show,” he said, with political candidates eager to come on the program and talk to hosts like Whoopi Goldberg, Joy Behar and Meghan McCain. “They go in knowing they don’t always have the easiest time.”

 

 

 

Popular on Variety

More TV

  • Halsey, Ashley Nicolette Frangipane. Singer Halsey

    Emmys: Halsey to Sing In Memoriam Tribute at Sunday's Ceremony

    Pop star Halsey has been tapped to perform during the Emmy Awards on Sunday, while comedians Adam Devine and Thomas Lennon will also contribute to the telecast. With no Emmy host this year, producers Don Mischer Prods. and Done+Dusted are relying more on presenters and other contributors to keep the show moving, Halsey, whose hits [...]

  • Bianna Golodryga CBS News

    Bianna Golodryga Joins CNN in Full-Time Role

    Sometimes, it pays for news anchors to take root in more than one organization. When Bianna Golodryga joined CBS News in the fall of 2018, she carved out a unique role for herself. She would work as a co-anchor on “CBS This Morning” while maintaining a position she had already established as a contributor to [...]

  • Lower lakes with small waterfalls, Plitvice

    Beta Film Boards Refugee and Drug Trafficking Thriller Series 'Amnesia'

    Beta Film, whose Mipcom lineup includes “Agent Hamilton,” “Babylon Berlin” and “Medici: The Magnificent,” has partnered with Croatian production company Drugi Plan on “Amnesia,” a six-hour thriller series about refugee and drug trafficking in the Southeast of Europe. The move adds to Munich, Germany-based Beta Film’s portfolio of Central and East European series, a growing [...]

  • Reed Hastings seen on day one

    Reed Hastings on the Streamer Wars: 'It's a Whole New World Starting in November'

    After dominating the subscription streaming scene for so long, Netflix is girding for a new phase in the SVOD wars with the entry of more deep-pocketed players like Disney and Apple, CEO Reed Hastings said Friday. “While we’ve been competing with many people in the last decade, it’s a whole new world starting in November…between [...]

  • BBC ITV BritBox Streaming

    Viacom's Channel 5 and Comedy Central Join BritBox Ahead of Its U.K. Launch

    Viacom-owned Channel 5 and Comedy Central have joined BritBox, the “best-of-British” subscription streaming service created by the BBC and ITV. The platform, already available in North America, is due to launch on home turf in Britain by year’s end. Under the deal with Viacom, shows from the U.K.’s Channel 5 can appear on BritBox following [...]

  • The-Head

    Behind the Scenes With Mediapro’s Antarctic Thriller Series 'The Head'

    On Sept. 13, the cast and crew of Mediapro’s upcoming dramatic thriller “The Head” gathered at a swanky Santa Cruz de Tenerife hotel to kick off promotional duties for this English-language series, which will wrap shooting later this month. It was day 50 of production, and the cast had been working late, rushing to get [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content