"At the end of the broadcast, people not only feel empowered, smarter and enlightened, they know some of the things going on in the world that are interesting, that people are talking about," said Michael Corn, "World News" executive producer.
At CBS, "we like to have news all the way through the broadcast," said Patricia Shevlin, executive producer. That doesn't mean all protein and no garnish: the panda clip ran on CBS, too. Yet while ABC played up a tearful Jennifer Garner and Halle Berry testifying in favor of a California law restricting paparazzi, CBS ignored the celebrities.
Tyndall's content analysis also illustrates priorities. For instance, ABC spent twice as much time as CBS on winter weather stories and liked tales of lottery winners. CBS has given roughly four times the airtime to stories on gun control than ABC, with more than twice the coverage of Syria. CBS spent 47 minutes on federal budget squabbles and the sequester to ABC's 18 minutes.
"I don't think people watch CBS News because of cooking and concerts and royal updates," Rhodes said. "They do watch us for Washington news, international coverage, health and science."
CBS' viewership is up 7 percent this year to 6.4 million people per episode, Nielsen said. CBS is down 2 percent, however, among that 25-to-54-year-old demographic. That indicates "CBS Evening News" is winning back many traditional viewers — the people who once watched Walter Cronkite, not just read about him — more than gaining new ones.
ABC's audience is up 3 percent to 7.6 million, while NBC is down 2 percent to 8.4 million.
Goldston said ABC works under the assumption that most viewers know the headlines when they tune in and are looking for something new. ABC emphasizes its own exclusives, leading "World News" last month when Robin Roberts interviewed a juror in the George Zimmerman trial and last week shuffling the broadcast at the last minute for a Brian Ross report on drone strikes in Yemen.
Shevlin said CBS hopes vivid reporting can take viewers inside the news of the day — sometimes literally, as Pelley hits the road on big stories.
"We have more than 140 characters," she said.
EDITOR'S NOTE — David Bauder can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @dbauder. His work can be found at http:bigstory.ap.org/content/david-bauder.