TVGuide.com: MSNBC is considered a problem from a business standpoint, but journalistically, its existence is still an advantage for NBC News, isn’t it?
MSNBC was a very strong play when we established it. It was two-pronged: One [part] was cable; one was the Internet. I don’t think people focus on the truly remarkable success story of MSNBC.com. It’s the No. 1 news and information site more often than not. None of our competitors has anything close to what we’ve got online. We do battle against Yahoo for the No. 1 position. It’s a great platform for reporting for MSNBC news…. While a lot of people like to define the channel by its ratings, there are a lot of ways we measure success. It has made the news division stronger. We are in the game 24/7. I think that gives us an advantage over the other guys…. Look at some of the people who’ve come out of MSNBC and are our marquee players. Whether it’s David Gregory or Campbell Brown or Natalie Morales. Brian Williams. Ann Curry was over there, too.
There is some iffy spin here. While I wouldn’t dispute Morales or Williams, the other three bear closer scrutiny. Gregory hosted a show with Laurie Dhue for a brief period of time. He was never really an MSNBC personality who got the attention of NBC and was pulled over to the mothership like Morales was. Brown never hosted a show on MSNBC and only turned in reports from Washington for both NBC and MSNBC as far as I can remember. Curry was always considered NBC property. That’s where she got her start.
Better examples would be John Siegenthaler and Lester Holt, both of whom toiled away at MSNBC for years before jumping to NBC. That they haven’t been mentioned, particularly Holt, is…interesting…
And why not cite the talented people that are still full time at MSNBC? Why does Capus feel the need to restrict the discussion to former MSBNC people now on NBC? There are some people now at MSNBC who work their tails off every day and have done major assignments for the network and excelled at breaking news coverage. And yet Capus doesn’t mention them….
Capus also mentions that a name change may be in the future…
TVGuide.com: Is a name change under consideration?
Capus: Yeah, we’re thinking about it. I’m not sure whether that makes sense or not. I don’t want to lose sight of the fact that MSNBC.com is such a successful business. Does anybody in America know what ESPN stands for? But you know what it means.
Personally I think that’s a non-starter for the same reason that Capus is non-committal; what it could do to MSNBC.com. In any case, it’s not a name change that’s the problem with MSNBC. It’s how NBC uses (some would say misuses) MSNBC that’s the problem. You can change the name but it won’t matter if the strategy is the same.