“We think they are making a difference,” said Sam Feist, CNN’s Washington Bureau chief and a senior vice president, in an interview.
Some of the nation’s biggest TV-news outlets seem obsessed with capturing the feel of a small town.
TV-news junkies seeking to get the opinion of the average citizen on the day’s top issues have been in luck this week.
On Fox News Channel Monday, Megyn Kelly hosted a panel of about 30 people – activists, religious leaders, gun advocates and law enforcement authorities – to discuss the issues of police and race in America.
CNN has for two days pre-empted regular programming: on Tuesday, it let people talk to Speaker of the House Paul Ryan; and last night, Don Lemon convened an emotional assemblage of families of victims, government officials and others in the wake of the shootings of several police officers in Dallas.
CNN has aired about 15 “town hall” events since the start of the year, Feist estimated.
MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow drew attention in late January for bringing together residents of the town of Flint, Michigan, where flaws in lead pipes have led to a water crisis. “There’s a new view, a modern view, of something that was in vogue many years ago,” said James Goldston, president of ABC News, in an interview.
Even ABC’s “Good Morning America” and NBC’s “Today” have gotten in on the act, bringing leading candidates in the race for U. “”This is the renaissance of the ‘town hall.’” ABC last year further bent the genre last summer by arranging for Pope Francis to meet with groups of students, congregants and the homeless via satellite for what it dubbed a “virtual” extension of the format. TV networks often have to book new venues to hold studio audiences, and spend time screening people who have a connection to the topic at hand.
The shows are “town halls,” programs that mix traditional news anchors with the average citizens they deliver information to each day.
Walt Disney will take the concept to new levels this evening.
A one-hour discussion featuring President Barack Obama, police officials and even families of recent victims of police-involved deaths will be moderated by anchor David Muir and broadcast at 8 p.m.
eastern across ABC, cable networks ESPN and Freeform and various digital and radio outlets.