While weather has long played a big part in local newscasts, it’s now taking over the networks’ evening news programs, a trend that’s causing some concern, reports David Bauder at the Associated Press. And there are big differences is how much time ABC, NBC and CBS spend on the weather.
“Over the past five years, the newscasts have essentially doubled the amount of time spent on weather and natural disaster stories,” Bauder reports. “The time has more than quadrupled since the early 1990s, said news consultant Andrew Tyndall, who monitors the content of the broadcasts.”
ABC is the leader in dedicating time to weather events, especially since “World News Tonight” tapped David Muir as its new anchor. In his first three months as anchor, ABC has dedicated 150 minutes to weather stories, compared with 106 minutes for NBC and 69 minutes for CBS.
“The weather is part of the national conversation and it is part of the news cycle,” Almin Karamehmedovic, executive producer of ABC’s “World News Tonight,” told the AP. ”Increasingly, we see it that way. I’m sure the weather is the same as it was 10 years ago, but we see much more of it.”
Video of dramatic weather events makes it appealing to producers, even if the events have limited news value, “NBC Nightly News” executive producer Patrick Burkey told the AP.
Bauder adds, “Others use a more blunt term: weather porn.”
News consultant Tyndall points out that the reports aren’t often accompanied by discussions about climate change, and can’t be explained by an increased frequency of bad weather.