THE BLOG
06/21/2014 03:31 pm ET Updated Aug 20, 2014

The Tragedy of NY Times Video and Network News

Video by Margaret Cheatham Williams

I am old

Or at least older. Older than I used to be at any rate...

And for that reason, I am one of those increasingly rare people who still watch the evening news on television.

You can tell by the ads who the rest of the audience is.

Depends
Denture Creams
Viagra (or Cialis)

I am only glad they are not advertising funeral parlors (yet).

But as a long-time viewer of televison network news, (and local from time to time), I can tell you that it is singularly terrible. Like the diet of an increasing portion of their viewership it is insipid, oatmal, pablum. In short, crap.

This is tragic becasue the medium has so much potential, potential that is rarely, if ever, touched upon.

You can see just what the medium of journalism married to video could (and can) do when you search for the videos on The New York Times. Take a look at the video above. Then go to The Times and peruse all their offerings. It's astonishing.

I say search for because, being a newspaper, The Times still buries its video work.

This too is a tragedy.

The work is outstanding. The best of what video journalism could and should be.
(By way of full disclosure, I was both the founder and first President of NY Times TV -- but that was a long time ago).

But I doubt the Times video is seen by many people, which is really too bad as well.

But this made me ask an obvious question.

Why couldn't the New York Times turn their video into a nightly TV news program?

The content is certainly there already.

And how hard would it be to package it with an anchor? Not at all.

According to the Pew Center Study on the State of the News Media done in 2010, NBC's News Division generated revenue of $635 million, about equal to what The New York Times generated in ad revenue last year.

And the content already exists!

If The Times were to create a nightly news program, in a world of 500 cable channels, don't you think there might be one or two cable channels that would be willing cede a half hour (or an hour!) to The New York Times News each night? Don't you think somewhere in that vast miasma of cable offerings, there might be a value and an interest in a real quality news program.

And even if the viewership was not the "target" 21-35-year-old, there might be some value in attracting us older but higher net worth viewers.

After all, we have a lot of disposable income.

We're going to die soon(er), and there is only so much Cialis you can purchase.