Let me begin with saying what happened in Nepal is absolutely horrible. I truly feel for all the victims, and it definitely deserves mention in every hour, on both CNN International and CNN Domestic (the latter having largely been ignoring the earthquake).
But that being said…
Is the earthquake CNN International’s MH370?
MH370 was covered endlessly, with no real news to report, for months on end. Now, needless to say, CNNI won’t cover the earthquake for months, but the point remains: since this became a big issue Saturday morning ET, the international network has been live nonstop, covering the earthquake, recycling old interviews, interviewing guests with no substantive information to add, repeatedly including weather reports…
For maybe the last five to ten minutes of the hour of news, the news anchor will go over other world headlines, but for the rest of the show, it is focused exclusively on Nepal.
Even as I write this, anchor Paula Newton just said (52 minutes into the hour):
“Now, our in-depth coverage of the events in Nepal will continue in just a moment, but we want to give you a round-up of the main world headlines we’re following here at CNN.”
Thank you, CNN, for illustrating my point.
3,900 people dead is huge news. But, seriously – is it the only thing going on in the world? No.
CNN Domestic is definitely a victim of the “Zuckerification” of news. In my eyes, the Nepali earthquake coverage has similar aspects to the Zuckerification of news. Although KC Estenson was laid off, before he left the network, in an interview with Mashable, he said of CNN’s coverage of MH370:
“We’re looking at consumption patterns and trends across the web, mobile, social and video, and then on third-party sites, looking at that and making decisions about how we program for all platforms. You’re seeing that start to come online and start to bear fruit with something like the Malaysian airline story.”
He added: “That data we’re bringing in online is now also helping to embolden Jeff [Zucker] to tell the TV producers ‘stay with this story.'”
And, the way I see it… the same thing is happening now. They’re getting lots of digital traffic, and they’re translating that into hours of programming on TV.