Newsworthy: Kris Jenner or 9/11?
Pop quiz: you’re the news director for a nationally broadcast morning news program, and you have to decide which news story is more news worthy on 9/11:
1) The 9/11 National Moment of Silence … or
2) Kris Jenner talking about her breast implants
Which one do you choose? Should be a no-brainer, right?
So you can imagine, it came as a bit of a shock to learn that the producers of NBC’s “Today” show went with choice number two and while the rest of the networks were carrying live coverage of the moment of silence, the folks at “Today” were deep into an interview with the Kardashian matriarch.
So naturally, I reacted as one might expect: I rent my garments, cried out to the spirit of Sir Walter the Cronkite (who I was sure was spinning in his grave) and wondered what in the name of Edward R. Murrow the folks at NBC were thinking?
In the interest of full disclosure, let me share that I have a PhD in Cynicism and even after 20-plus years in the military, even I tend to get a little numb at the annual barrage of Facebook posts telling me to “never forget” or “always remember” or “don’t forget to remember” or “remember to never forget.”
But I’m human, and I understand that what happened on 9/11 affected us all to varying degrees, some more so than others. And I don’t trivialize that. However, one chooses to observe, whether publically or silently, 9/11 is a day for us collectively – as a nation – to remember and (for some) to mourn.
There is some philosophical discussion taking place in journalistic circles about whether 9/11 belongs on the front page every year (this year, both the New York Times and Los Angeles Times chose not to put any 9/11 coverage on their front pages). Personally, I’m OK with that, and I’m not advocating for hours-long coverage every year either. I think there’s a point where you can give the day the treatment is deserves in the appropriate amount.
So with all that in mind, let’s get back to NBC and “Today,” which is, in part, a news-oriented show. So you’d think that the decision to cut to an event of national significance over an interview with Kris Jenner would be an easy one. Ms. Jenner could’ve waited a few minutes, right? Sadly, that wasn’t the case.
I get ratings. But as someone who’s been in the journalism and PR business for longer than 45 minutes, I also get the concept of news value. And the moment of silence had far more news value than a fluff piece with a reality TV star talking about breast implants.
Besides, airing the moment of silence was just the right thing to do.
NBC is taking heat in the social media realm for this decision, and rightfully so. They blew it, in my opinion and lost some street cred in the process.
So, what say you?
Dave Nagle never met a cup of coffee he didn’t like and downs many a cup as Vox Optima’s premier speechwriter and communications expert. With more than more than 20 years of DoD and Navy public affairs and journalism experience, Dave’s definitely a “been there, done that” guy – reporter, photographer, editor – broadcaster, PR dude. Be sure to connect with Dave by following him on Twitter at @nagleblend or on LinkedIn.
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