May 14, 2018
Fox and NYT Team up to Report the News?
If the media consumer marketplace, blogosphere, and social media can be believed, the viewers of Fox and readers of the New York Times practically live in different universes. While millions consume content from both media sources, and many others, diehard fans of either source will insist theirs is the “real” news, and the other source is a major purveyor of “fake” news.
Given those cultural assumptions, it was a bit of a surprise for many, recently, when it was announced that The New York Times and 21st Century Fox will be working together to air a weekly news program.
The show, aptly called, “The Weekly,” will be produced by The Times and aired by FX and Hulu. According to promotional releases, the program will concentrate on “…narrative documentary news program that includes one or two of The Times’s biggest and most important visual stories each week… Viewers will be with those stories and the reporters as the show brings them to life.”
The format creates an interesting choice for media consumers. Fox News and The Times are often at odds with regard to their overall perspectives on the news of the day. Now, a Fox channel will air content that might be at odds with its other news network. The choice is put into even sharper perspective when you realize The Times has been shopping the concept around for some time, but couldn’t get anyone to bite, until now.
And, based on a statement from FX CEO John Landgraf, you would think any consumer head-scratching about the network juxtaposition is all for nothing: “The New York Times is synonymous with excellence and FX is honored to be chosen as their partner on what will be the first entry for both organizations into the weekly TV news business… A free press is vital to the health of our American democracy. The Weekly will give viewers compelling stories about the courage and commitment New York Times journalists bring to seeking out and reporting the truth.”
It’s the kind of positive acclamation you would expect from a new business partner, but it’s also the kind of commentary that might leave a lot of current Fox News fans a bit perplexed. While it’s true that FX and Fox News are two separate networks under the larger Fox umbrella, the company has tended to tailor its news coverage with a certain demographic and political affiliation in mind.
However, if “The Weekly” hits, Fox could succeed in reaching consumers across the socio-political spectrum, giving the company an even stronger voice in the current cultural conversation.
Ronn Torossian is the CEO of 5W Public Relations