Kimberly Meltzer, Ph.D. candidate, had a busy Spring. In addition to finishing up her thesis on newspaper endorsements of political candidates, she presented papers at two conferences in April and authored a chapter entitled “Polling, Surveys and Focus Groups” in Analysis of the Messages of the Early Childhood Movement, published by the Annenberg Public Policy Center (Spring, 2003). At the Annual American Culture Association/Popular Culture Association Conference in New Orleans, LA, she presented, "There’s No Such Thing as an ‘All-News Network’" (see abstract below). At the annual Eastern Communication Association conference in Washington, DC, Kim and fellow Ph.D. students Russ Tisinger, Kelli Lammie and Talia Jomini presented papers on a panel entitled Mediated Politics: Non-Traditional Sources of Political Information in the Political Communication Division.
Abstract of "There’s No Such Thing as an ‘All-News Network’": Since its inception in 1980, CNN has come to be regarded as the preeminent news network, perpetuating an image of itself as an “all-news network” to the public. This paper compares the content appearing on CNN from 1982 to 2001 through examination of its programming lineups and descriptions in order to argue that the concept of an all-news network was and is a theoretical and practical impossibility. In reality, content that can fairly be characterized as “news” comprises, in some weeks, as little as 50% of CNN’s total programming. Interview/debate programming has increased in prime-time and late-night since 1980, yielding a more “talky” format, and news programming decreased in prime-time. Further, any perception of changes in content and format across time are mostly the effects of marketing strategies.