What The News Emmys Tell Us About The News

The 30th Annual Emmy awards for News and Documentaries were announced last night. While I’m sure the winners are all grateful for the recognition, and many are respectable productions, there is much to learn from who did NOT win.

Emmys awarded to Cable News Networks:

  • Fox News – 0
  • MSNBC – 0
  • CNN – 1

Now, I don’t think anyone would have expected Fox to win an award for news. The Academy probably stipulates that any recipient for a news award has to actually produce news programming. And MSNBC hasn’t really gone out of its way to produce extraordinary programs either, though their cousins at NBC came in third in the trophy stakes, following PBS and CBS. It’s somewhat interesting that the two lowest rated networks took home the most awards.

But there is something disconcerting about the fact that the 24 hour networks devoted exclusively to news performed so dismally. The single Emmy amongst them (CNN) was for election night coverage. It seems to me that if you have a network that specializes in the production of a single genre of programming, you ought to be able to deliver some that deserves the recognition of your peers. All of the other winners were employed by networks for whom news was just a small part of their schedule.

If the cable news networks can’t deliver product that achieves a level of excellence worthy of an award or two, then maybe they are in the wrong business.


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