The Slatest

ABC’s News Broadcast Is Now Number One and Doesn’t Have a Full-Time Congress Reporter

ABC’s World News Tonight goes to the top of the ratings.


ABC’s World News Tonight—more commonly known as the news—has been on a bit of a winning streak of late, and climbed its way, after years and years and years, back to the top of the ratings. The Washington Post’s Paul Farhi delves into the mechanics of its rise: new anchor, slightly dumber content made for sharing, Brian Williams’ self-destruction over at NBC. It’s all added up to more non-millennials tuning in, and everyone at ABC is surely very happy about that. Even more interesting is this sign-of-the-times (media version) nugget slipped in the middle of Farhi’s story:

In perhaps a first for a national newscast, “World News” no longer has a full-time correspondent reporting on Congress.

The ratings standard-bearer of the news doesn’t have a reporter covering Congress full-time! And it’s apparently working. “[Congressional] stories are handled on an ad hoc basis by reporter Jonathan Karl, whose primary beats are the White House and political campaigns,” Farhi writes. For it’s part, ABC tells Politico it’s trying to bolster its coverage, but perhaps they’re not trying all that hard? It’s not just Congress that’s gotten benched, Farhi notes, “[ABC’s] World News devoted half as many minutes to Washington stories as CBS did during the first four months of the year, and about 40 percent less than did NBC, according to Andrew Tyndall, who tracks the networks’ newscasts through his eponymous newsletter.”