Essay topics: The following is a memorandum from the business manager of a television station.
"Over the past year, our late-night news program has devoted increased time to national news and less time to weather and local news. During this period, most of the complaints received from viewers were concerned with our station's coverage of weather and local news. In addition, local businesses that used to advertise during our late-night news program have canceled their advertising contracts with us. Therefore, in order to attract more viewers to our news programs and to avoid losing any further advertising revenues, we should expand our coverage of weather and local news on all our news programs."
Write a response in which you examine the stated and/or unstated assumptions of the argument. Be sure to explain how the argument depends on these assumptions and what the implications are for the argument if the assumptions prove unwarranted.
The business manager speaks of how their late night news program has changed the times allotted to the national news and weather and local news. He states that the complaints about the weather and local news as well as the cancelling of advertising contracts have only increased after this timing change.
One aspect that needs to be considered is by how much the timing for the weather and local news has changed. If it is infact substantial, like changing the earlier time of 60 minutes to 30 minutes, then it might have some effect on the viewers. Moreover, exactly how much was the viewer base for this late-night news program earlier? How much is it now? Relevant evidence that answers these questions is required to analyse whether the timing change does in fact affect the weather and local news and strengthen the argument.
Evidence about the complaints received from the viewers is also necessary. What are the viewers complaining about? If it is about the quality or accuracy of the news report, then that does not necessarily depend on the time allotted to the news program. However, if the complaints registered by the viewers are referring to the fact that the less time of the program is leading to less information being provided, then this evidence can help strengthen the argument. For example, the viewers could state that while earlier the local news provided detailed reports of crime in all areas, they are now only providing a preliminary report. This will lead to the viewers not getting all the relevant safety information that they clearly need. This evidence will help strengthen the argument.
More information about why the local businesses cancelled the advertising contracts is also required. If evidence is given that the businesses cancelled the contracts only due to the less time they are getting to advertise their products, it would strengthen the argument. However, the cancelling could also be because they no longer wish to advertise their business. Or, another tv station could also have approached them and offered better advertising prospects with less money. Reasons like these will weaken the argument that restoring the time given will avoid losing any further advertising revenues.
Once statistics like the amount of viewers of the program, the specific content they are interested in, is analysed, it can be determined whether the increased time to national news is actually making viewers dissatisfied. It could be that viewers are only concerned with the quality of the weather and local news program, and are happy with the increased time to the national news program. The recommendation that states that restoring the time devoted to weather and local news, will then only cause a drop in ratings for the station. More supporting evidence is needed to make this recommendation like whether the viewers like the national news program, whether they are satisfied with the increased time allotted to it, and whether they want more time to be allotted to the weather and local news programs. If the viewers are infact dissatisfied with the time allotted, it can help strengthen the argument and recommendation.
Thus, the evidence suggested will help to analyse the causes of the viewers' complaints and will help make a more informed decision about the argument and recommendation. Just relying on complaints and ambiguous cancelling of contracts is not enough evidence to make such a decision for the station.
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