The Weight of an Anchor

U.S. network newscasts, which collectively commanded 84 percent of the viewing audience in 1981, now attract only 43 percent of the pie, observes the New York Times. The news anchors themselves - Dan Rather, Peter Jennings and Dan Brokaw - are all aging dinosaurs, and some are predicting that when they're gone, the evening news as we know it today will become extinct, succumbing to "the 500-channel cable-satellite media universe; the fierce and ever-expanding competition of cable news"; and "the postmodern news-grazing habits of the young, who turn to such antiestablishment sources as the Internet and Jon Stewart's 'Daily Show' for their information fix. ... For some, the idea of the anchor -- an omniscient father figure decreeing 'that's the way it was' from behind an imposing desk -- has itself become a relic of an American hierarchy that will soon be gone with the wind."