David Frum Talks About The Challenges Facing Cable News… On CNN.com

By Alex Weprin 

David Frum

CNN contributor David Frum writes an in-depth piece looking at the challenges facing cable news… on CNN.com. It is a pretty reasonable take, with some arguments that may be familiar to longtime media watchers. Nonetheless, his advice may be worth heeding for cable news executives, particularly at CNN, which published the piece.

What cable news does do, unrivaled, is broadcast images of events to a large global audience. When there’s a crowd protesting in Tahrir Square — or a wildfire raging in southern California — viewers still turn to cable. Yet how often do such events occur? And how much longer will even that advantage hold?

As for advice, Frum has a few ideas:


“Accept that the days of ‘the news is the star’ are over,” news is everywhere, and has been heavily commoditized, so personality and entertainment value is just as important as information.

“Go upmarket,” by acknowledging that cable news is a niche product. Instead of trying to appeal to everyone, try to embrace the niche to your advantage. CNBC did it, it works for them.

“Go deep and long,” by not feeling obligated to chop everything into two to five minutes segments> You have 24 hours to fill, so use the space.

You can read his whole argument here.