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The Turmoil Saga of NewsNation


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title may not be great, thread might get closed but looking at the number of people who left and the number of controversies that NewsNation is going through. I feel like it's worthy of a thread to discuss in detail the turmoil that's going on at NewsNation.

 

It's amazing how in a few months, NewsNation lost a majority of it's staff and is going far to the right in defiance of it's original mission (which didn't get ratings but they could of tried harder). I'd be surprised if the network didn't shut down at the end of the year, gained a sizable audience and managed to make something for itself in the cable news world.

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Maybe someone can help me here but I fail to understand these broad doomsday statements. Saying that "NewsNation has lost a majority of its staff" is simply not true. There are about 150 people on sta

I hate to say it, but you know who is the one free agent that would save this channel?   Lou Dobbs.

Scott shouldn't talk. I can barely understand the point he's trying to make with as many errors as there are in that post.

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In theory, NewsNation is a fantastic idea. Given Sinclair's spread across the country, they are positioned to have coverage of many major news events via their local affiliates. 10-12 years ago might have been a boom. Today with the over saturation of news, or "news", it's just another statistic.

 

Instead of a network, Nexstar may have been better off with starting NewsNation as an hour-long "national" newscast on their stations to test the waters. Surely someone had to do their research to know that NewsNation would have been more profitable than WGNA (you'd think?) but testing it on their stations would have given them a decent ratings picture.

 

For the sake of all the employees, I hope NewsNation finds at least enough success to remain a going concern.

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42 minutes ago, GodfreyGR said:

In theory, NewsNation is a fantastic idea. Given Sinclair's spread across the country, they are positioned to have coverage of many major news events via their local affiliates. 10-12 years ago might have been a boom. Today with the over saturation of news, or "news", it's just another statistic.

 

Instead of a network, Nexstar may have been better off with starting NewsNation as an hour-long "national" newscast on their stations to test the waters. Surely someone had to do their research to know that NewsNation would have been more profitable than WGNA (you'd think?) but testing it on their stations would have given them a decent ratings picture.

 

For the sake of all the employees, I hope NewsNation finds at least enough success to remain a going concern.

 

hour long version of NewsNation...That's what I said!

 

I said it before and I'll say it again. How about an hour-long version of NewsNation? Or, even a half-hour version? Air that version on Nexstar-owned FOX, CW and MNTV affiliates that DON'T HAVE a national nightly newscast. It would be like the days of the Independent Network News. Produced by WPIX New York, and distributed to independent stations without a national newscast, even indies owned by Tribune back then. 

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I swear the mishandling of Tribune could be it's own documentary. They had no idea what to do with WGN America (when compared to TBS which was a superstation in itself) and the only saving grace they had was that they had an image and namesake stations like WPIX/KTLA/WGN and the like.

 

Ever since Nexstar bought Tribune, it's like Tribune's management has been poisoning the company. To me, Nexstar today feels like what would of happened had Sinclair successfully attempted to acquire Tribune, a total trainwreck that claims to care about locals but only cares about the bottom line.

 

I wouldn't be surprised if many Nexstar stations go right wing in the future if Nexstar's investment in a right-wing NewsNation is successful. Nexstar is essentially Sinclair but better handled in my eyes now.

 

It's not NewsNation related but I posted this because Nexstar's handling of NewsNation could be the future of Nexstar as a whole.

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After watching the first broadcast, which was clean and attractive, but void of any reason to watch, I knew it was destined to fail.

And for those saying “give it time”. Time for what??? There is nothing about any of their programs that make it appointment viewing. Faced with a flop, Compton is now desperately trying to chase after the angry trump viewers?

 

their mistake was hiring some bad talent to begin with, but also not finding reporters who could break news, but without bias. 

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The seeds of WGN (America's) decline were planted long ago, and are mostly rooted in the changing times of cable television.

 

The big draw of WGN to begin with was the Cubs/White Sox & Bulls telecasts.  Then the sports world got too expensive, and these games began slowly slipping away.  Also, WGN itself as a SuperStation was just happenstance, since it was another company that distributed the signal nationally, and SyndEx took some of the local flavor out of it.

 

Flash forward to around 2008 and the privatization of Tribune by Sam Zell, that's when the deliberate destruction began.  The "eye" logo and the antics of Randy Michaels coupled with a long and twisted trip into bankruptcy.

 

Then came the "original programs" that came and went, and until Sincl....I mean Nexstar took over, WGN was a shell of its former self.

 

I'm sure had Sinclair gotten WGN America, they would have done the same thing, but would have been a little less restrained about the slant than Nexstar was.

 

It's just a boring time right now, given all we've been through over the past year or four.....

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1 hour ago, tyrannical bastard said:

The seeds of WGN (America's) decline were planted long ago, and are mostly rooted in the changing times of cable television.

 

The big draw of WGN to begin with was the Cubs/White Sox & Bulls telecasts.  Then the sports world got too expensive, and these games began slowly slipping away.  Also, WGN itself as a SuperStation was just happenstance, since it was another company that distributed the signal nationally, and SyndEx took some of the local flavor out of it.

 

Flash forward to around 2008 and the privatization of Tribune by Sam Zell, that's when the deliberate destruction began.  The "eye" logo and the antics of Randy Michaels coupled with a long and twisted trip into bankruptcy.

 

Then came the "original programs" that came and went, and until Sincl....I mean Nexstar took over, WGN was a shell of its former self.

 

I'm sure had Sinclair gotten WGN America, they would have done the same thing, but would have been a little less restrained about the slant than Nexstar was.

 

It's just a boring time right now, given all we've been through over the past year or four.....

This 1 million times over.

 

It really proves that in 2021, trying to start a cable channel of any genre is just not a wise idea.

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You know, I'll commend you for taking a bold stance on this forum about NN, as it is, indeed, as you mentioned, a dicey topic. The sheer mismanagement of it all, and treating it like a pet project to feed Compton's ego is absolutely astounding and the Times article succinctly describes how hypocritical the network has been from the start. Yes, it is fair to say that the CNN/Fox sphere of television is toxic and an echo chamber and they're also just as much, if not more, of an ego-feeding mission for Zucker and Murdoch. But to prescribe to the world that you are better and fairer than others, and asking viewers to take your word for it, while you don't actually uphold those said standards, is shameful. For one to conduct strictly unbiased programming, one must actually invite varying fact-centered perspectives and challenge any soundbites and answers given. In addition to NewsNation, we should also properly scrutinize how dangerously large Nexstar is; no one has duly analyzed the influence Nexstar has, because the antagonization has been so centered on Sinclair. Seriously, one of Nexstar's Washington reporters actually interviewed an anti-immigration, white nationalist to discuss immigration policy last month and that package was sent out nationwide. Surely, that must provide plenty of healthy nuance for a divisive topic. 

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4 hours ago, dman748 said:

This 1 million times over.

 

It really proves that in 2021, trying to start a cable channel of any genre is just not a wise idea.

 

Especially, with the fact that more and more people are dropping cable/satellite on a daily basis.

 

This is why CBS, and ABC launched 24/7 OTT streams instead of a 24/7 news channel. 

 

I know that Nexstar had "Dead Space" with WGN America, but they should have launched NewsNation as an OTT product in this day an age, and sell WGN America to recoup some of their losses but at the same time Nexstar is  behind the times when it comes to digital.

 

It wouldn't shock me if the endgame for NewsNation is to become Nexstar's version of NewsCentral.

Edited by elfuego35
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I just plain wonder if, regardless of approach, launching a news channel right now is a good idea.  I'm starting to get the feeling that, after the last four years in general and the past year in particular, people are just completely and totally burned out on news.  I know I am -  I used to watch a lot of local and cable news up until the pandemic, and then made a conscious decision to stop watching.  And I've long considered myself a hard core news junkie.

 

The problem for Nexstar, of course, is that I don't think there was any other viable option.  Sports is kind of in a weird spot right now, still mostly cable but on the verge of making a significant streaming push.  Discovery kinda has the factual and unscripted stuff locked down.  True Crime is saturated between HLN/Oxygen/ID and OTA options like Scripps' Court TV networks.  And prestige scripting... forget about it, the streamers have that on lock down now.

 

Additionally, this might have been the most newsworthy six months of our lifetimes, between the pandemic, the ongoing racial unrest, the election, the chaos after the election, 1/6, Biden taking office, and probably a ton of other things I can't think of.  And they have utterly failed to capitalize.  The audience is either unaware - unlikely because Nexstar's stations are pushing this relentlessly - or more likely, utterly disinterested in this offering.  At minimum, something needs to change... and it might just be getting close to the time to cut losses.

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It seems to me that Perry Sook is a rather slow or old fashioned kind of guy. Remember, up until the assimilation of Media General, they were against online streaming of local newscasts and subchannels on their stations. 

 

This whole having NewsNation as a cable channel you can only stream through your cable subscription instead of an OTT network you can watch for free on a service like Pluto TV is another example.

Edited by hmaxhanson
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1 hour ago, hmaxhanson said:

 

This whole having NewsNation as a cable channel you can only stream through your cable subscription instead of an OTT network you can watch for free on a service like Pluto TV is another example.

This👏🏼

I don’t know why Nexstar doesn’t have an app for Roku, etc where you can watch your local Nexstar station and the News Nation broadcast. CBS is doing it very well and they must make a profit to continue it. 
 

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Maybe someone can help me here but I fail to understand these broad doomsday statements. Saying that "NewsNation has lost a majority of its staff" is simply not true. There are about 150 people on staff at NewsNation. Have over 75 people quit?  Sure they have lost a few key leaders, and I'm not downplaying that, but to say a majority of their staff is a gross exaggeration.

 

And I still don't understand the "cut losses" concept. People on this board have been clamoring for it to be shut down since the day it launched. This product is a little over 6 months old!  FOX News took 6 years before they became a ratings juggernaut. MSNBC took much longer. And both of those channels took far more start up cash than NewsNation did. As long as Nexstar sees long term potential, I believe they will give the channel time to find an audience. All it takes is one marquee program and they can build around that. O'Reilly was the cornerstone for Fox while Olbermann was the ticket for MSNBC.

I do agree they need a better programming strategy. The all-things to all-people programming strategy is no longer viable. I would advise them to take a "heartland" approach. I hear a lot from friends in the middle of the country that news is too focused on NY and LA. Maybe being in Chicago then can build a news product for middle America. That certainly would distinguish them. Their ratings would probably be modest, given the population density. But it would give them a target audience for programming and ad sales. In any event, with a lot of people's jobs on the line I'm sure not rooting for a failure. I hope they are given time to find their voice.

Edited by carolinanews4
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41 minutes ago, carolinanews4 said:

And I still don't understand the "cut losses" concept. People on this board have been clamoring for it to be shut down since the day it launched. This product is a little over 6 months old!

Thank you. We certainly don't need more than one thread just to say "this sucks and I want it gone".

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In my personal opinion, it is completely unfair to consider NewsNation a fail less than one year after they launched (as a newscast).  I think it is self-evident that there are those who literally want NewsNation to crash and burn, because Nexstar had the idea of creating a news channel.  I think we can all agree that any start-up has to make changes as time goes on with plenty of room for improvement -- and this is no different.  They are undoubtedly experiencing growing pains and people should keep that fact in mind.  I also think it is also unfair to tie NewsNation directly to the decline of WGN America. 

 

WGN America had seen better days before Nexstar, to put it mildly.  And now Nexstar is injecting new life into the channel under the new NewsNation brand.   As much as people want to say otherwise, WGN America was not going to survive long-term without major changes. And now Nexstar is making changes that, in my opinion, puts the channel on the best possible path to being successful.  I personally would've preferred that they kept the WGN America name, at least nominally, to maintain continuity of the brand.  But nonetheless, I think NewsNation has a solid concept and they are well on their way to fulfilling their mission. 

 

I agree that NewsNation cable feed should be more accessible to digital users, but we should also remember that they have to turn a profit and just making it free over the Internet, while trying to be successful on cable, can short-circuit their success on cable.

 

Finally, referring to the NY Times piece, I think it is ridiculous to suggest NewsNation has some kind of unique bias.  I'm sure if the shoe was on the other foot, the NY Times would have no objections.    I perceive NewsNation as being objective and trying to be fair.  There is no such thing as a perfect news outlet.  But I would say NewsNation is among the best on cable right now for straight news.

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In what has to be a first, The Today Show used footage and interviews from NewsNation on the broadcast this morning (top of broadcast too. :06).

 

Exposure is exposure...

 

Today NewsNation.jpg

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10 hours ago, TheRyan said:

In my personal opinion, it is completely unfair to consider NewsNation a fail less than one year after they launched (as a newscast).  I think it is self-evident that there are those who literally want NewsNation to crash and burn, because Nexstar had the idea of creating a news channel.  I think we can all agree that any start-up has to make changes as time goes on with plenty of room for improvement -- and this is no different.  They are undoubtedly experiencing growing pains and people should keep that fact in mind.  I also think it is also unfair to tie NewsNation directly to the decline of WGN America. 

 

WGN America had seen better days before Nexstar, to put it mildly.  And now Nexstar is injecting new life into the channel under the new NewsNation brand.   As much as people want to say otherwise, WGN America was not going to survive long-term without major changes. And now Nexstar is making changes that, in my opinion, puts the channel on the best possible path to being successful.  I personally would've preferred that they kept the WGN America name, at least nominally, to maintain continuity of the brand.  But nonetheless, I think NewsNation has a solid concept and they are well on their way to fulfilling their mission. 

 

I agree that NewsNation cable feed should be more accessible to digital users, but we should also remember that they have to turn a profit and just making it free over the Internet, while trying to be successful on cable, can short-circuit their success on cable.

 

Finally, referring to the NY Times piece, I think it is ridiculous to suggest NewsNation has some kind of unique bias.  I'm sure if the shoe was on the other foot, the NY Times would have no objections.    I perceive NewsNation as being objective and trying to be fair.  There is no such thing as a perfect news outlet.  But I would say NewsNation is among the best on cable right now for straight news.

Exactly! NewsNation is still in its "infancy"; much like the other news channels were at one point. WGN America was going to suffer from ratings decline, much like other channels have been dealing with.

 

To be quite honest, even the most "neutral" newscasts and organizations will have been accused of bias at some point, whether or not we remember.

 

Also, NewsNation has been uploading stuff to their YouTube channel (even full episodes of Banfield). This means that they are trying to make things more accessible to more people.

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12 hours ago, TheRyan said:

In my personal opinion, it is completely unfair to consider NewsNation a fail less than one year after they launched (as a newscast).  I think it is self-evident that there are those who literally want NewsNation to crash and burn, because Nexstar had the idea of creating a news channel.  I think we can all agree that any start-up has to make changes as time goes on with plenty of room for improvement -- and this is no different.  They are undoubtedly experiencing growing pains and people should keep that fact in mind.  I also think it is also unfair to tie NewsNation directly to the decline of WGN America. 

 

WGN America had seen better days before Nexstar, to put it mildly.  And now Nexstar is injecting new life into the channel under the new NewsNation brand.   As much as people want to say otherwise, WGN America was not going to survive long-term without major changes. And now Nexstar is making changes that, in my opinion, puts the channel on the best possible path to being successful.  I personally would've preferred that they kept the WGN America name, at least nominally, to maintain continuity of the brand.  But nonetheless, I think NewsNation has a solid concept and they are well on their way to fulfilling their mission. 

 

I agree that NewsNation cable feed should be more accessible to digital users, but we should also remember that they have to turn a profit and just making it free over the Internet, while trying to be successful on cable, can short-circuit their success on cable.

 

Finally, referring to the NY Times piece, I think it is ridiculous to suggest NewsNation has some kind of unique bias.  I'm sure if the shoe was on the other foot, the NY Times would have no objections.    I perceive NewsNation as being objective and trying to be fair.  There is no such thing as a perfect news outlet.  But I would say NewsNation is among the best on cable right now for straight news.

 

WGN America was only semi-popular from from the start of being a non-superstation to the end of the WGN America branding nearly a week ago. Outside of originals like Salem and Underground, it was mainly a dumping ground for long running syndicated shows like In the Heat of the Night and COPS. A channel of mostly reruns is not a great strategy in the long run. They even tried Canadian shows for awhile in primetime too and a Dog the Bounty Hunter spinoff. Agreed it was time to try something really different on the channel. 

2 hours ago, JosiahCubed said:

Exactly! NewsNation is still in its "infancy"; much like the other news channels were at one point. WGN America was going to suffer from ratings decline, much like other channels have been dealing with.

 

To be quite honest, even the most "neutral" newscasts and organizations will have been accused of bias at some point, whether or not we remember.

 

Also, NewsNation has been uploading stuff to their YouTube channel (even full episodes of Banfield). This means that they are trying to make things more accessible to more people.

 

I'll give NexStar credit for trying to make things accessible to more people who don't have linear TV. It's great that NewsNation is now on several pay streaming services. Launching a new channel on cable or satellite is a risky move in 2021 with cord-cutting at all time highs.

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I'll give it six more months or so.  If it hasn't picked up any sizable traction by Septemberish, it might be gone a month or two after that.  And with COVID restrictions probably loosening up even more by summer, people are going to want to do other things instead of sitting at home & watching TV.  Especially news... and especially a new news network with a weak lineup... in a slow news cycle.

Edited by RCA TK47
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