Diane Sawyer recently took over the anchor chair of ABC World News from Charles Gibson, transforming the evening news landscape with two of the three major network prime-time newscasts now anchored by women. Katie Couric made history only three years ago as the first woman to solo a major network nightly news program, CBS Nightly News.
These are important milestones for women, to be sure. But these significant milestones for women come at a perilous time in the history of television, when network news is viewed as an ailing franchise. The growth and proliferation of cable television programming and the ever-intensifying competition from the Internet have resulted in diminishing viewership of the major network evening news, once respected as the go-to source for dependable news.
Given the current state of television news, that two of the three networks have women at the helm would have been much bigger news ten years ago than it is today. That Couric and Sawyer are in these still important positions reminds me of a curious phenomenon in organizational management: the glass cliff.