GRE Essay Topic 808 - The following is a memorandum from the business manager of WLSS television station. "Over the past year, our late-night news program has devoted increasingly more time to covering national news and less time to covering weather and local news. During the same time period, most of the complaints we received from viewers were concerned with the station's coverage of weather and local news. In addition, several local businesses that used to run advertisements during our late-night news program have just cancelled 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 the coverage of weather and local news on all our news programs. " Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument.
Author: BMacklin | Date: October 20, 2014 | Score:4 | => 5 or 6 Essays, Click Here <=
While it may be the case that restoring the time devoted to weather and local news could attract more viewers and advertisers, this particular argument makes a number of unsubstantiated assumptions and unwarranted claims. In order to me more persuasive, more attention should be given to the logic of the argumentation. As it stands, this memorandum does not make a cogent case for expanding the weather and local news segments.
First, the nature of the complaints concerned with the station’s coverage of weather and local news are left unclear. If the majority of complaints pertained to the reduced time of the segments, then the conclusion would be warranted. This, however, is not articulated. Perhaps the majority of complaints actually concerned the quality of the weather and local news segments and not the length. In that case, the station may want to focus on increasing the quality of the shorter weather and local news segments. Increasing the length of a segment with poor quality may actually have the opposite of the desired effect and incite further complaints. Until we know more about the nature of the complaints, this part of the argument is not fully convincing.
The memorandum also claims that more time devoted to weather and local news would lead to more viewers. As it now stands, this claim is unwarranted. Although the memorandum does mention viewer complaints, no information is given about a decrease in viewership. Why did viewership decrease? It is possible that shorter weather and local news segments led to a decrease in viewership, but this is by no means certain. Perhaps a competing news station is responsible for a loss in viewers. Or it may be the case that the late-night news program was moved to a more unpopular time. Maybe the program as a whole has witnessed a decrease in quality. Any of these options are possible. In order to make a more cogent case for increasing the length of the weather and local news segment, the argument should clearly demonstrate that the decline in viewership is directly dependent on the reduced time.
Additionally, the passage mentions a decrease in advertising revenues. Again, the reason for this change is left unarticulated. Perhaps another news station began offering cheaper advertisement, thus leading local businesses to cancel their contracts. It may be the case that the decline in advertising revenues is due to the decrease in viewership. As stated above, though, it is unclear what role the reduced weather and local news segments had in the loss of viewers. The reasons for decrease in advertisers may be independent of the weather and local news stations.
In conclusion, the argument would be more convincing if it provided sufficient evidence for its claims and substantiated its implicit assumptions. It should definitively show both that the complaints are directly concerned with the decrease in the length of the segments and that the loss of advertisers was not caused by any external factor. It should also clearly demonstrate that increasing the time devoted the weather and local news would result in an increase in viewership and advertising revenues. Improving the logic of the argumentation would make this memorandum more compelling.