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Network nightly newscasts morph, adapt for the streaming age

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Network nightly newscasts morph, adapt for the streaming age

NEW YORK (AP) — For more than half a century, ABC, CBS and NBC have aired evening newscasts each weeknight on television. This fall, the competition has spread to another medium.

The launch of John Dickerson’s “CBS News Prime Time” in September means that all three news divisions have unique streaming newscasts at night, a nod to the future and bid to reach young people who aren’t watching television at dinnertime.

Dickerson’s newscast debuted nearly a year after NBC’s “Top Story” with Tom Llamas. ABC’s “Live Prime” with Linsey Davis started in February 2020. Each streams live for at least an hour starting at 7 p.m. Eastern and are repeated later in the evening. All can be seen for free.

“The revolution will not be televised,” Davis quipped. “It will be streamed.”

She and her rivals have big ambitions.

“We want to be the best news show, period,” Llamas said. “I don’t want to be just the best show on streaming.”

Looking past the similarities, they each have intriguing differences in approach, more so than the broadcast evening news shows led by Lester Holt, David Muir and Norah O’Donnell.

Network news divisions aren’t looking to replace the television broadcasts, which usually reach around 20 million people combined every night, more during cold weather months.

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The streamcasts almost certainly don’t approach those numbers, although if anyone knows for sure how many people are watching, they aren’t telling. There isn’t a single outside source that measures audience size, like the Nielsen company does for TV. The networks all say the shows are catching on, but won’t share their own statistics with competitors or the public — often a sign that those levels are low.

Dickerson brings the most broadcast experience to his role, having reported for “60 Minutes,” moderated “Face the Nation” and hosted “CBS This Morning.”

At its launch, his streamcast quickly distinguished itself as the most interview-heavy of the three. He will debrief CBS News reporters who have done television stories to empty their notebooks of additional details, and find experts for conversations on the day’s major stories.

“I’m interested in who the person is who may not even be known, but knows what is going on,” Dickerson said. “It’s great to be able to ask the experts yourself, whether the experts are within CBS or not.”

Probing with experts to tell people more about stories they may have seen flash by in headlines leans into Dickerson’s strength as a journalist, said Anthony Galloway, CBS News Streaming senior vice president.

The most established streamcast, ABC’s “Live Prime,” takes advantage of what streaming has to offer over television right now: time. Davis’ show is most apt to stretch reports beyond what can be seen on TV’s “World News Tonight.” After Muir traveled to Ukraine, the streaming show gave him 10 minutes to report on what happened in a village recently liberated from the Russians. That kind of length is a luxury seldom afforded on television evening news programs that have roughly 22 minutes of news between commercials.

A profile of the jam band O.A.R. stretched like a guitar solo, and correspondent Phil Lipof even went onstage to play with the band.

“Live Prime” airs for an hour and a half, although the last half hour is largely a shortened summary of what had been on before. The CBS and NBC shows are an hour.

Internal research shows that “Live Prime” viewers appreciate the longer-form stories, more than a reliance on talking heads, said Seni Tienabeso, executive director of ABC News Live.

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Getting “Live Prime” started before its rivals allowed for more research time, said Reena Mehta, ABC’s senior vice president for streaming and digital content. She said it’s not ABC’s goal to replicate the linear television model, and the program essentially has the capacity to go live all evening. The form of these programs, though, is hardly a shock to television viewers.

For NBC, Llamas packs his fast-paced show with as much information as possible.

“I believe in delivering a high story count,” he said. “I think people right now are inundated with information, but they’re inundated with the same type of information, the same stories. I want to find stuff that’s not already out there.”

Llamas, a Cuban-American, makes sure to report on Latin American issues on each show. He travels frequently to news locations — Uvalde, Texas, and Chicago on mass shootings, from Ukraine to Scotland after the queen’s death, and twice to Wisconsin. He talks about binge-worthy entertainment. Producers comb social media and local NBC stations for news, although there’s an occasional reliance on eye candy — things like car chases that are on because the video is interesting.

There’s no evidence that the streamcasts are cutting into viewership of the televised evening news shows. The networks show no signs of abandoning them, either: NBC, for example, has quietly and successfully aired Holt’s “Nightly News” on YouTube, part of a strategy of finding an audience wherever it can.

The news divisions say they have not built the evening streamcasts to replace the television product. “I feel like it’s a nice complement to ‘World News,’” Davis said.

Besides, the television and streaming audiences tend not to overlap much.

Although there are no specific numbers for “Top Story,” NBC says that its streaming service overall gets an average of 100 million views each month. The pandemic brought in more viewers and people continue to cut the cable television cords.

Most new television sets being manufactured offer people easy access to the streaming product, said Janelle Rodriguez, senior vice president at NBC News.

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“There’s no real turning back the clock here,” she said.

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Remember last year’s Memorial Day travel jams? Chances are they will be much worse this year

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Remember last year’s Memorial Day travel jams? Chances are they will be much worse this year

The patience of Memorial Day weekend travelers was tested Thursday by widespread delays across the country, but there were relatively few canceled flights, raising hopes that airlines can handle bigger crowds expected Friday.

By early evening on the East Coast, more than 6,000 flights had been delayed Thursday, with the biggest backups at the three major airports in the New York City area and Dallas-Fort Worth International.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pasha Pidlubniak waits for a domestic flight at Miami International Airport, Thursday, May 23, 2024, in Miami. A record number of Americans are expected to travel over the 2024 Memorial Day holiday. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

 

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Pasha Pidlubniak waits for a domestic flight at Miami International Airport, Thursday, May 23, 2024, in Miami. A record number of Americans are expected to travel over the 2024 Memorial Day holiday. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

 

The Transportation Security Administration predicted that Friday will be the busiest day for air travel over the holiday weekend, with nearly 3 million people expected to pass through airport checkpoints. It could rival the record of 2.9 million, set on the Sunday after Thanksgiving last year.

“Airports are going to be more packed than we have seen in 20 years,” said Aixa Diaz, a spokesperson for AAA.

When they aren’t waiting out flight delays, travelers are reporting sticker shock at the prices.

At Chicago’s O’Hare Airport, Larisa Latimer of New Lenox, Illinois, said her airfare was reasonable but other expenses for a getaway to New Orleans were not.

 

 

 

 

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Motorists travel along Interstate 24 near the Interstate 40 interchange Thursday, May 23, 2024, in Nashville, Tenn. A record number of Americans are expected to hit the pavement over the 2024 Memorial Day holiday. (AP Photo/George Walker IV)

 

Motorists travel along Interstate 24 near the Interstate 40 interchange Thursday, May 23, 2024, in Nashville, Tenn. A record number of Americans are expected to hit the pavement over the 2024 Memorial Day holiday. (AP Photo/George Walker IV)

 

“I just have to make the accommodation,” she said. “The rental car is up … this year, the hotel accommodations were very unusually expensive.”

Kathy Larko of Fort Meyers, Florida, used frequent-flyer miles — and some flexible scheduling — to pay for her trip to Chicago.

“I’m really conscious of looking at the cost of the entire trip. We’re staying a little farther out than we normally would” to get a lower hotel rate, she said. “We’re also flying back a day later, because we could get cheaper miles.”

More travelers will be on the road. AAA estimates that 43.8 million people will venture at least 50 miles (80 kilometers) from home between Thursday and Monday, with 38 million of them taking vehicles.

 
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Travelers wait at a TSA checkpoint at the Los Angeles International Airport, Thursday, May 23, 2024, in Los Angeles. A record number of Americans are expected to travel over the 2024 Memorial Day holiday. (AP Photo/Ryan Sun)

 

Travelers wait at a TSA checkpoint at the Los Angeles International Airport, Thursday, May 23, 2024, in Los Angeles. A record number of Americans are expected to travel over the 2024 Memorial Day holiday. (AP Photo/Ryan Sun)

 

Airport unions are using the holiday weekend to highlight their demands.

About 100 workers who clean airplane cabins and drive trash trucks at the airport in Charlotte, North Carolina, started a 24-hour strike Thursday, demanding better pay and healthcare, according to the Service Employees International Union. About 15% of flights were delayed, but it was unclear whether the strike played any role.

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A planned strike at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York was averted, however. Teamsters Local 553, which represents about 300 workers who refuel passenger and cargo jets at JFK, said that it reached a settlement with Allied Aviation Services and called off a walkout planned for Friday.

 

 

 

 

 

 

George Ridley, 4, left, rides on a suitcase as he and his father Chris Ridley make their way through the Nashville international Airport, Thursday, May 23, 2024, in Nashville, Tenn. A record number of Americans are expected to travel over the 2024 Memorial Day holiday. (AP Photo/George Walker IV)

 

George Ridley, 4, left, rides on a suitcase as he and his father Chris Ridley make their way through the Nashville international Airport, Thursday, May 23, 2024, in Nashville, Tenn. A record number of Americans are expected to travel over the 2024 Memorial Day holiday. (AP Photo/George Walker IV)

 

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“We are happy an agreement has been reached, a need for a strike averted, and we are hopeful that the deal will be ratified by our members,” said Demos Demopoulos, the secretary-treasurer of the local.

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Associated Press video journalist Melissa Perez Winder in Chicago and Associated Press radio reporter Shelley Adler in Washington contributed to this report.

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Texas health department appoints anti-abortion OB-GYN to maternal mortality committee

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Texas health department appoints anti-abortion OB-GYN to maternal mortality committee

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Texas’ health department has appointed an outspoken anti-abortion OB-GYN to a committee that reviews pregnancy-related deaths as doctors have been warning that the state’s restrictive abortion ban puts women’s lives at risk.

Dr. Ingrid Skop was among the new appointees to the Texas Maternal Morality and Morbidity Review Committee announced last week by the Texas Department of State Health Services. Her term starts June 1.

The committee, which compiles data on pregnancy-related deaths, makes recommendations to the Legislature on best practices and policy changes and is expected to assess the impact of abortion laws on maternal mortality.

Skop, who has worked as an OB-GYN for over three decades, is vice president and director of medical affairs for the Charlotte Lozier Institute, an anti-abortion research group. Skop will be the committee’s rural representative.

Skop, who has worked in San Antonio for most of her career, told the Houston Chronicle that she has “often cared for women traveling long distances from rural Texas maternity deserts, including women suffering complications from abortions.”

Texas has one of the most restrictive abortion bans in the U.S., and doctors have sought clarity on the state’s medical exemption, which allows an abortion to save a woman’s life or prevent the impairment of a major bodily function. Doctors have said the exemption is too vague, making it difficult to offer life-saving care for fear of repercussions. A doctor convicted of providing an illegal abortion in Texas can face up to 99 years in prison and a $100,000 fine and lose their medical license.

Skop has said medical associations are not giving doctors the proper guidance on the matter. She has also shared more controversial views, saying during a congressional hearing in 2021 that rape or incest victims as young as 9 or 10 could carry pregnancies to term.

Texas’ abortion ban has no exemption for cases of rape or incest.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, which says abortion is “inherently tied to maternal health,” said in a statement that members of the Texas committee should be “unbiased, free of conflicts of interest and focused on the appropriate standards of care.” The organization noted that bias against abortion has already led to “compromised” analyses, citing a research articles co-authored by Skop and others affiliated with the Charlotte Lozier Institute.

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Earlier this year a medical journal retracted studies supported by the Charlotte Lozier Institute claiming to show harms of the abortion pill mifepristone, citing conflicts of interests by the authors and flaws in their research. Two of the studies were cited in a pivotal Texas court ruling that has threatened access to the drug.

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Michigan farmworker diagnosed with bird flu, becoming 2nd US case tied to dairy cows

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Michigan farmworker diagnosed with bird flu, becoming 2nd US case tied to dairy cows

A Michigan dairy worker has been diagnosed with bird flu — the second human case associated with an outbreak in U.S. dairy cows.

The male worker had been in contact with cows at a farm with infected animals. He experienced mild eye symptoms and has recovered, U.S. and Michigan health officials said in announcing the case Wednesday.

A nasal swab from the person tested negative for the virus, but an eye swab tested Tuesday was positive for bird flu, “indicating an eye infection,” U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials said.

The worker developed a “gritty feeling” in his eye earlier this month but it was a “very mild case,” said Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian, Michigan’s chief medical executive. He was not treated with oseltamivir, a medication advised for treating bird flu, she said.

The risk to the public remains low, but farmworkers exposed to infected animals are at higher risk, health officials said. They said those workers should be offered protective equipment, especially for their eyes.

Health officials say they do not know if the Michigan farmworker was wearing protective eyewear, but an investigation is continuing.

In late March, a farmworker in Texas was diagnosed in what officials called the first known instance globally of a person catching this version of bird flu from a mammal. That patient reported only eye inflammation and recovered.

Since 2020, a bird flu virus has been spreading among more animal species — including dogs, cats, skunks, bears and even seals and porpoises — in scores of countries.

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The detection in U.S. livestock earlier this year was an unexpected twist that sparked questions about food safety and whether it would start spreading among humans.

That hasn’t happened, although there’s been a steady increase of reported infections in cows. As of Wednesday, the virus had been confirmed in 51 dairy herds in nine states, according to the U.S. Agriculture Department. Fifteen of the herds were in Michigan.

The CDC’s Dr. Nirav Shah said the case was “not unexpected” and it’s possible more infections could be diagnosed in people who work around infected cows.

U.S. officials said they had tested 40 people since the first cow cases were discovered in late March. Michigan has tested 35 of them, Bagdasarian told The Associated Press in an interview.

Shah praised Michigan officials for actively monitoring farmworkers. He said health officials there have been sending daily text messages to workers exposed to infected cows asking about possible symptoms, and that the effort helped officials catch this infection. He said no other workers had reported symptoms.

That’s encouraging news, said Michael Osterholm, a University of Minnesota epidemiologist who has studied bird flu for decades. There’s no sign to date that the virus is causing flu-like illness or that it is spreading among people.

“If we had four or five people seriously ill with respiratory illness, we would be picking that up,” he said.

The virus has been found in high levels in the raw milk of infected cows, but government officials say pasteurized products sold in grocery stores are safe because heat treatment has been confirmed to kill the virus.

The new case marks the third time a person in the United States has been diagnosed with what’s known as Type A H5N1 virus. In 2022, a prison inmate in a work program picked it up while killing infected birds at a poultry farm in Montrose County, Colorado. His only symptom was fatigue, and he recovered. That predated the virus’s appearance in cows.

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The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Science and Educational Media Group. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

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