Skip to main content

Newscaster Personality Matters

As reported by MediaPost's Real Media Riffs on Monday, the personality of television news anchors is a major factor influencing whether U.S. TV viewers watch a given newscast. While that finding, which was released Monday by market researcher InsightExpress, may not seem surprising, the bad news is that two of those personalities—NBC's Tom Brokaw and CBS' Dan Rather —are leaving their anchor seats. The recent retirement of Tom Brokaw is especially vexing.

The main resons for watching a newscast: "timely coverage" (#1) and convenient "broadcast times" (#2).

"As choices for television news are near an all time high, Americans reveal that the person who delivers the news still matters," said Lee Smith, president-COO of InsightExpress in the MediaPost Real Media Riffs report. "Network news executives who closely follow consumer preferences for anchors stand the best chance of maintaining and attracting viewers."

InsightExpress News Personality Scores
(higher is better)

Tom Brokaw 66.8
Peter Jennings 63.9
Shepard Smith 58.3
Tim Russert 58.1
Brian Williams 57.3
Anderson Cooper 55.6
Aaron Brown 53.3
Dan Rather 52.8
John Roberts 52.6
Jim Lehrer 52.2
Gwen Ifell 52.1
Bob Schieffer 50.1
George Stephanopoulos 50.0
Britt Hume 49.9
John Siegenthaler 48.3
Paula Zahn 44.1
Chris Matthews 42.1
Bob Woodruff 41.1
Bill O'Reilly 37.4

Source: InsightExpress News Personality Scores. Derived from an online survey of 500 Americans