Despite having been written off as obsolete amid years of ratings declines, the evening newscasts remain a vital cultural force. And Andrew Tyndall is still watching.
As editor of the Tyndall Report, Tyndall (who is also a B&C contributing editor) has monitored and analyzed the way the newscasts cover various topics since 1987.
Now he is inviting viewers to join him. His Website tyndallreport.com recently began offering an extensive searchable database of news stories complete with links to video clips of the segments.
Each day, Tyndall posts a grid of the previous evening’s newscasts—organized by network, topic, reporter, dateline and the "angle" of the coverage. Visitors can click on thumbnail links to watch clips of the segments on the networks’ Websites.
Although the database goes back to only mid November 2006, it already comprises more than 1,300 links to clips.
Tyndall sees the database not only as an invaluable research tool but as a sort of network-news YouTube, where viewers who might not otherwise watch the evening news can pick and choose clips of news segments. None of which seems to bother the networks.
"Every clip has an ad in front of it," Tyndall says. "So I’m helping them monetize another area of their business."
He suggests, however, that the networks consider shortening the pre-roll spots to 15 seconds: "A 30-second ad for each clip is unfriendly."