Ten News Media Stories To Watch In 2023 –

It’s hard to see the past year in the news business as anything other than trying and tumultuous.

What started as a promising job market ended with an advertising slowdown dominated by news of layoffs and job freezes.


News networks and news divisions are entering the coming year with the start of the presidential term, but with Donald Trump already on the ballot, there are doubts that the audience numbers will be the same as the ones at the end of the last decade. will match Buster’s data.

It is possible to outline in broad strokes what to expect in 2023, but it is a fool’s errand to predict. Over the past year, Ukraine’s resistance and resilience to Russia has defied expectations. In politics, Democrats bucked historical trends in the midterms. In the government, the Jan. 6 committee stunned by presenting a series of made-for-TV hearings, presenting an easy-to-understand narrative that included bombshells and surprising witnesses. In the celebrity realm, the Johnny Depp-Amber Heard defamation trial drew attention, in part because a judge’s decision to allow cameras in the courtroom turned it into a daily soap opera.

So here’s what to watch for in the next 12 months:



Presidential election

Donald Trump’s campaign has already begun. If it can’t feel that way. After the first of the year, political media attention will shift to 2024, whether other GOP contenders will enter the field or whether President Joe Biden decides to run for re-election. Initially as it seems, it is not unusual. The first Democratic debate of the 2020 cycle was held on June 26, 2019. Earlier, in the 2008 cycle, the presidential campaigns of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton ran until February 2007. News networks will jot down the next presidential contest as a way to promote audiences and brands, looking at blockbuster numbers from recent cycles, and hosting town halls and debates. One of the storylines of the GOP primary race has already emerged: a potential showdown between Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, should the latter decide to run. Far more difficult to game out is what happens if Biden decides. no running, opening up the field to what is likely to be a long list of contenders.



No other news network had a more tumultuous 2022 than CNN. Yesterday’s viewership was down 27% from a year ago, but ratings tell only part of the story: Jeff Zucker’s exit, short-lived CNN+, year-end newsroom layoffs, etc. Next year will be a test for Chairman and CEO Chris Licht’s strategy, focusing on “core news gathering and products,” as he reduces the number of network partners, original series and has left movies behind, and ceded original programming at HLN to Discovery. Meanwhile, he has said he is promoting investments in digital, where is a leader, while a revamped show, CNN this morningDebuted in November. Licht’s most closely watched move may be what he makes for primetime, which has lacked a permanent host in the 9 p.m. ET hour since Chris Cuomo was fired in 2020, and Primetime viewership was down 33 percent from a year ago.


Unlike CNN, Fox News leans heavily on opinion. Five And other panel shows, and hosts like Tucker Carlson and other talk radio, often tap into right-wing grievances in a way that, in terms of audience, has worked: 11 in 2022 vs. 11 in 2021 in the network’s total daytime audience. The percentage increased. , while CNN and MSNBC were down. All networks, however, saw ratings declines in prime-time hours as audiences fragmented and, especially when it came to cable news, by age. In a podcast interview with Kara Swisher, Leicht talked about the dangers of fighting for a “larger piece of the shrinking pie.” Instead, he saw the challenge as a competition against non-news options. “I’m fighting for people down in newstime. I’m fighting for people’s discretionary attention. And I don’t believe the way of the future is to try to steal people from Fox. Fast forward to the presidential election cycle. It may indicate whether news anchors can sustain viewer interest in a lasting way.


lazyload fallback

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The year will likely begin with the only drama of who Republicans choose to be the next speaker when they take control of the House. Whether it’s Kevin McCarthy or someone else, Republicans plan to launch a wave of investigations into the Biden administration, on topics ranging from Hunter Biden or the border. There has even been talk of a counter-investigation by the January 6 committee. Expect plenty of criticism for the networks if they don’t give these hearings the same level of attention they gave the January 6 committee meetings, despite the false equivalency. More likely, the focus will be on the GOP’s fragile majority and the challenge of holding it together, as well as a potentially disastrous deadlock over the debt ceiling expected in the third quarter.


Elon Musk has cooled off a bit after a stormy few days in December where he suspended a series of journalists and then appeared to fire himself as CEO of Twitter. Despite the platform’s erratic leadership, Twitter remains a megaphone for journalists and a leading source of news. But its future is, to be fair, murky, and rests with Musk himself. Explained the need for mass layoffs. By comparing the company to a crashed airplane. If Musk follows through with plans to get rid of legacy blue checkmarks in favor of a subscription offering, there could be more chaos. Its ownership has highlighted a long-simmering, publisher-versus-public-square issue for tech platforms, which are largely immune from liability for content moderation decisions.

Donald Trump

The former president continues to dominate news cycles in 2022, but not in the way he once enjoyed. Major broadcast and cable networks hesitated over how they would approach his 2024 candidacy, just as they covered his kickoff announcement in November. But his candidacy in the coming year could very well be overshadowed by the investigations he faces, including special counsel Jack Smith’s handling of Trump’s classified information and the federal investigation into the events of January 6. .

lazyload fallback

A Dominion machine in Las Vegas in October

Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Dominion and Smartmatic

The multibillion-dollar defamation lawsuits filed by election system companies Dominion Voting Systems and Smartmatic against Fox News and other media defendants are moving forward. Both lawsuits focus on the role of media outlets in promoting false claims about the 2020 presidential election, as the companies argue that Fox News knew full well that allegations by Trump and his allies were bogus, while the Net. Work has defended itself on the grounds that the First Amendment protects coverage of issues in the public interest. The cases are in the discovery phase, with Lachlan Murdoch, Laura Ingraham, Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity and CEO Suzanne Scott allegedly deposed. Dominion’s trial is scheduled to begin in April in a Delaware court, and if it proceeds as planned (if court cases always go big), it could be one of the most closely watched defamation cases in recent memory. will be one of the cases, except for the Depp-case heard.



Broadcast and cable networks excelled in their coverage of the war in Ukraine, sometimes at great personal risk and cost. The attack in March seriously injured Fox News’ Benjamin Hall and killed Fox News cameraman Pierre Zakrzewski and Ukrainian journalist Oleksandra “Sasha” Kushnova. According to the International Federation of Journalists, 12 journalists and media personnel have been killed in Ukraine as of early December, the most of any country. As the battle rages on, the Biden administration and lawmakers on Capitol Hill worry about losing public interest, and one factor is the extent to which networks continue to devote resources to the conflict. Meanwhile, there are A growing concern Press freedoms in Ukraine, as President Volodymyr Zelensky signs a law that expands government regulatory oversight.

Media integration

Standard General’s proposed $8.6 billion acquisition of Tegna, which has 64 stations in 51 markets, is not one of the big media mergers of recent years, but it has drawn significant vocal opposition, with the FCC next year A review is expected to be completed early. Although the commission, split 2-2 between the parties, has yet to weigh in, the lengthy review signals a changing regulatory environment for M&A in the Biden administration. The Justice Department’s victory in its case against the Penguin Random House and Simon & Schuster merger ultimately killed the deal, and the FTC’s recent effort to block the Microsoft-Activision Blizzard merger illustrates its general limitations. What is possible for media CEOs? ‘Dreams of stability amid turbulent times across businesses. Regulatory agencies will continue to focus on big technology, but the past year has also shown the power of lobbying. For all the rhetoric on Capitol Hill and elsewhere about the need to rein in Facebook, Amazon, etc., the recent Congress failed to pass a series of strong antitrust guidelines, leaving lawmakers with long-term problems. Reluctance to follow despite efforts was highlighted. Complaints that passed was legislation to increase merger fees as a way to increase enforcement.


Local media

2022 was a disappointing year for local media, with more rounds of layoffs at print companies like Gannett and, amid a softening advertising market, likely more to come across the industry. Steven Waldman, president of the Rebuild Local News Coalition, said an average of two newspapers are closing each week. Congress has highlighted the struggle for local media and what it means for democracy, but it has not passed a series of proposals designed to promote newspapers and local stations. That includes payroll tax credits for hiring reporters, and exemptions from antitrust laws so outlets can bargain collectively with tech giants for their content. The latter bill fell in early December, when Facebook threatened to remove news from its platform entirely if the law passed.

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