Author: Edward

The Power of Live News

The Power of Live News

Column: The best way to watch election night coverage on TV? Don’t stream it—just check the newspaper.

The New York Times did something rather surprising last year: They actually made a decision to not stream their election night coverage live. What changed? They simply decided to wait until the next day—when the news of the night is already available to their audience. The result? According to data from TV News Daily, “on average, the Times delayed airing the most election night stories until 10 p.m. Eastern Time that night, but their first-run stories didn’t start airing until 11:00 p.m. Eastern.”

In other words, the Times waited until they had an audience who was already looking at their news to begin live coverage of the big night, and what a time to do that—a day after the polls closed!

This is the power of live news. In many ways, the Times is very smart to wait until the day after the election to broadcast their stories. After all, after 8 p.m. Eastern time, they’re already hosting the Late Night With Seth Meyers, but their live election night coverage is far enough in the future that it won’t compete with what’s already happening.

Live coverage is also important for reasons of timing. It’s the first thing people see when they get home. It might be the only thing they see before they go to bed. (This is especially important for people who don’t stay up late.) But most crucially, it is the thing people see the morning after. So it means more to the newspaper than just another day on the front page. It means the news and the analysis that goes into a newspaper story. And with a live broadcast, the paper stands to benefit from every second of coverage it receives, from the night before until the morning after.

There’s a reason for the NYT’s practice—it’s a very smart way to do business.

The Washington Post’s live coverage is also interesting. Although they do not stream its Election Night coverage, they decided to go with a different strategy: a “rolling” live stream that changes every hour. “We are testing a technique similar to live

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