Viewers will continue to flock to cable news nets for breaking news and analysis, but the web will play a prominent role in delivering the news of the day to young consumers in particular, according to former CNN anchor T.J. Holmes who is joining BET at the beginning of 2012. Part two of my interview with the award-winning news anchor appears below.
TU: What will you take away from your experience at CNN?
TJ Holmes: No doubt the reach and resources of CNN. You hear about some news breaking in the middle of some town you never heard of, and then the producer gets into your ear and says ‘we’ve got our correspondent live on the scene.’ I’ve been amazed at the reach of CNN and what the company has built over the 30-plus years it’s been around – it’s something to marvel at. It’s certainly something I will look back on. Also being on the air when news happens – when something breaks and you don’t have time to do research, but you have to just go with it and depend on your knowledge. There’s nothing like being live when news is happening right in front of you and the country and the world is looking at you to deliver an important and sometimes historic story to them. CNN has been great to me over the past five year and can’t say enough about the experience I’ve had.
TU: Give me your thoughts on the influence the cable news networks have had on how we consume news on a day to day basis.
TJH: It something how CNN started 30 years ago as the only kid on the cable news block and now to see what has become of the cable news landscape. People now expect a certain thing from you, and if you don’t give it to when they want it they have all these other places to go t o get it. It makes you stay on your toes. The[familiar] tease in television where an anchor will say, ‘coming up after the break we’ll tell you about so and so story’ has always been the most annoying thing to viewers. Now people aren’t waiting for the break anymore; they’re going on their blackberry and their iPhones to look up whatever the answer was you were just teasing them with. So cable has had to keep up with the times – it’s difficult to do in a very competitive environment – but I don’t think it’s going anywhere. In a place like CNN that has the resources to bring the story directly to you is not something you’re going to get on a website or on your iPhone. People keep talking about the demise of cable news, but it’s such a valuable resource that I don’t think it’s going anywhere anytime soon.
TU: How influential then is new media going to be as you develop projects for BET?
TJH: You absolutely have to factor that in because that’s how people are connecting. Anybody out there who is still trying to be an old-school journalist better start tweeting and get that Facebook page up because that’s just the way of the world. Certainly younger folks are using [new media] so you have to be engaged, and the audience expects you to be engaged. You have to incorporate it on the TV screen, and you’re doing it at your own peril if you are not trying to keep up with the times.