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Bill Baker ponders future of public television

Bill Baker

Bill Baker

William Baker, Ph.D., Fordham’s Claudio Acquaviva Chair and director of the Bernard L. Schwartz Center for Media, Public Policy at the Graduate School of Education, wrote an Op-Ed in which he ponders the future of television news in the United States. In it, he says Germany has a successful model worthy of emulating.

Writing for Current, a nonprofit news service for and about public media in the United States, Baker says:

“Germany has a nightly public television program called Tagesschau (basically, ‘Daily Show’), arguably the highest-rated news program in the western world. Ten million people tune in each evening, in a country with a quarter of the U.S. population. The broadcast has a 34 percent share of the audience, nearly bettering the combined audience share of all the American networks, PBS and cable newscasts combined. The Germans have a heterogeneous audience that sits around the common campfire to listen to the day’s stories.”

Baker then explains how the show’s open and straightforward style, which does not include any tabloid or soft news, nets them success:

“To draw together an immense, heterogeneous, multigenerational audience requires trustworthy sources and reporters of the highest integrity. Tagesschau has both in abundance, but its formula does not depend on a Walter Cronkite figure; the program uses newsreaders who follow a script provided by a deep team of top editors and researchers. Their objective is to be the most reliable source of news, not just the fastest. Every story is checked two to three times by different editors before going live.”

Can the United States restore trust in the media? Read more of his thoughts in his Op-Ed via Current.


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