01Brian Williams Out as Anchor of NBC Nightly News
News anchor Brian Williams saw his career take a tumble during 2015. At first, he was suspended as anchor of the flagship NBC Nightly News for embellishing personal stories of danger he said he faced while covering stories. Before the year was up, he was demoted to MSNBC where he now gets far less exposure. His replacement at NBC, Lester Holt, has maintained NBC's competitive edge in the network news race.
02Donald Trump Uses the Media to Fire Up His Supporters
Billionaire businessman Donald Trump has repeatedly blasted the media during his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination. His supporters have loved every minute of it. Despite NBC's decision to end its relationship with Trump, who had hosted the reality show The Apprentice, Trump's exposure only grew during the year.
03Steve Harvey's Monumental Mistake at the Miss Universe Pageant
Comedian Steve Harvey wasn't laughing as he committed one of the biggest on-air TV blunders of the year. He announced the wrong winner of the Miss Universe pageant, then had to correct his mistake to a stunned audience. For anyone working in television, it was a lesson on what can happen in a live broadcast and what you must do to recover from the embarrassment.
04News Crew Shot and Killed on Live TV
The murders of a reporter and videographer during a live remote broadcast at WDBJ in Roanoke, Virginia, served as a wake-up call to anyone working in television. Personal safety is usually an afterthought when a news crew is in pursuit of a story. Once it became known that a former colleague was accused of committing the killings, it showed the need for all journalists to focus on their personal safety, which only used to be a concern for reporters in war zones.
05Ratings Plunge for American Idol as Final Season Planned
One-time ratings juggernaut American Idol hit a sour note in 2015 that will bring the music to an end for the show's 15th and final season in 2016. While Idol created stars, such as Kelly Clarkson from its first year on the air, several factors diminished both the buzz surrounding the show as well as its Nielsen ratings. Still, Clarkson as well as other contestants such as Carrie Underwood and Chris Daughtry have shown how TV can create music careers.
06Controversy over Presidential Debates
Campaign 2016 got off to a rocky start in 2015 during the first few presidential debates. The issue didn't revolve around the candidates, but instead it was the debate moderators who found themselves in the crosshairs of controversy. Some moderators were accused of liberal media bias in the questions they asked and the tone they took toward the candidates. On the Republican side, some candidates were able to use this criticism to fire up their supporters.
07College Students Turn Against the Media
You would expect protesters to welcome media coverage as they try to spread their message. That wasn't the case at the University of Missouri, where people wanting to oust the university's president turned their anger toward the news media. Meanwhile, students at Smith College who wanted to show their support for protesters at Missouri banned the media from covering their events unless reporters pledged to personally support their cause. It seemed that no one ever considered the Freedom of the Press guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.
08News Media Criticized for Baltimore Riots Coverage
News media outlets are sometimes accused of overblowing breaking news coverage, presenting more hype than fact. But during riots in Baltimore, reporters were accused of making tensions worse by covering what was happening in the wake of a man's mysterious death while in police custody. Reporters found themselves being criticized for covering the violence in the streets, which couldn't be ignored. At the same time, the amount of coverage did little to bring the chaos to an end.
09More People Cut the Cord of Cable and Satellite TV
It used to be unthinkable to be a TV lover and not have a subscription to a cable or satellite service where you could watch ESPN or HBO. But an emerging trend has some viewers deciding to cut the cord to their traditional pay-TV service and use streaming or other similar products instead. Local channels just need an antenna to receive, much as was done in the pre-cable days of the 1960s and 70s. This presents a danger signal for cable and satellite providers in the years to come.
10New York Times Makes Error in Covering Mass Shooting
The mass shootings at a church in Charleston, South Carolina, led to an embarrassing mistake by The New York Times. A reporter quoted a supposed Facebook friend of the shooting suspect. It turns out, the "friend" reportedly didn't know the suspect at all and had wanted to see if he could fool someone in the media into reporting his comments. While the Times only had the comments in a website version of a story for a few hours, it demonstrated that in breaking news situations, the scramble to get information should never stop journalists from verifying what they think they know.
Top 10 Stories about Media in 2015
There was plenty of news being made in the media industry in 2015. From shocking surprises to unforeseen controversies, few could have predicted how this year would turn out. These are the top 10 stories about media during the year.