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GRE argument task : Altering news content for late-night show


Oct 11, 2015   #1
'The following is a memorandum from the business manager of a television station.

"Over the past year, our late-night news program has devoted increased time to national news and less time to weather and local news. During this time period, most of the complaints received from viewers were concerned with our station's coverage of weather and local news. In addition, local businesses that used to advertise during our late-night news program have just canceled their advertising contracts with us. Therefore, in order to attract more viewers to the program and to avoid losing any further advertising revenues, we should restore the time devoted to weather and local news to its former level."

Write a response in which you discuss what specific evidence would be needed in order to evaluate the argument and explain how the evidence would weaken or strengthen the argument.

The case of manager and television station is quite understandable, but the depicting argument in some parts seems bemused.

The late night news is broadcasted on rest time. So the valuable visitor on that time for business exactly different when business manager take their advertisement in afternoon news. Further, increasing portion for national news content over local and weather could not strongly stand. The author does not make a cogent statistical based on why should national news, is the visitor keen on watching national over local one, or, what is the valuable of weather and local over national news so that the late-night news picks those alterations.

Following complaint from concerned people of weather and local news is also confusing. There is no exact statistical number about the proportion of protester, is it major or just minor, the author does not give an appropriate measurement. Thus, the decision to change the pattern as the former may bring bias. Content of complain too, do not clearly addressed. Is it about the decreasing duration of weather-local news or the way TV channel broadcast it.

All in all, the argument for restoring late-night show could be acceptable from the side of complain and business revenue. However, the author does may weekend the argument with not providing the exact base on why such decision is taken.


Sekar, the essay that you wrote was an excellent try at responding to the memorandum that was received. However, the language you used was so confusing and unclear that it does not accurately deliver the necessary response. If you won't mind, I'd like to show you another way of writing the response to the memo based upon the requirements of the prompt. My version, for your consideration, would go something like this:

While I understand the viewership and advertisers concerns regarding the local news coverage during the late night news airings, I feel that more information is required before airtime is reduced for national news coverage and re-allotted to local news and weather reports. I would like to know some specifics before jumping to the conclusion that reducing national coverage air-time would be in the best interest of our network, viewership base, and advertisers.

To begin with, since the late news is broadcasted during non peak advertising hours, I am puzzled as to why and how the sponsorship for the program is affected by the mostly national news coverage. There are no key demographics awake during this hour that could bring in additional advertising revenue for the broadcast, neither are there any key local political figures who could be awake at the time of the coverage. Therefore, covering the national news more than the local should not be an issue. The weather report also need not be extended in coverage because any storm warnings or class cancellations due to possible storms or active storms were already reported on and covered extensively during the earlier broadcast. So cutting down the time of national news during the late show really does not make any sense.

If we were to accept the argument of the station business manager, we should do so on an informed basis. He must be asked to represent his request for additional airtime for local news and weather using verifiable figures. How many viewers have requested this move from the network? Is it proportional to the number of advertisers that have pulled out? What demographic actually watches the late news? How does that affect the advertising revenue of the network? These are questions that have no definitive answers in the memorandum that was issued.

As such, the argument to increase the late news coverage of local news and weather should be seen as flawed. There are just too many unknown variables in the discussion. Unless the business manager can present solid evidence to back up his claim, we cannot make an informed and accurate decision regarding our late news broadcast.


I hope that my sample can help you better formulate a revised version of your response. This is one time that grammar use and thought clarity are of the utmost importance in your test response.
Sekar, you raised a number of important questions in your essay, but you failed to elaborate on them. It's really a pity. For example, you point out that the author would need to provide more evidence concerning the number and the content of the complaints.This evidence is very important, because the complaints are used as one of the two premises for increasing the weather and local news coverage. However, we need to know what those complaints are about. It could be about the quality of the weather and local news, the content of the weather and local news, or as the author supposes, the reduced coverage of these programs. If the complaints are about the first two matters, the TV station might not need to increase the coverage. On the other hand, if they are about the inadequate coverage, the TV station should consider the author's suggestions. Moreover, we would want to know the exact number of the complaints. If there are only around 10 complaints in total, even if all of them are about the coverage of the weather and local news, the TV station will hardly need to worry about it, since the number is really small. In this case, increasing the coverage of the weather and local news could attract even more complaints. In short, before knowing more about number and the contents of the complaints, we are not sure if the author should use it as a premise for his argument.
Hi, I have just finished a GRE test and might give you some advice. As for the essay content, I suppose you have got great advice from previous viewers. What I want to say is that you'd better write as much as possible, otherwise, you may not be able to anayze the problem thoroughly and clearly. To my knowledge, 400 words is essential. Hope it helps


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