The split-screen interview has essentially been embargoed in local TV news.
Consider the on-going story involving Ross Mirkarimi and his fight to remain as SF sheriff.
This is a story, one could reasonably argue, that has been over-played and that only people who live in the immediate city care about, but that's not the case. The story involves domestic abuse, an attractive wife, the semi-bizarre public rantings of Mirkarimi and his lawyers, et al. That said, a good, brief one-on-one with an anchor would be welcome in this case.
Dana King, from KPIX, is an excellent interviewer. I'd love to see her go back and forth with the sheriff. First, it would make for compelling and effective TV. Second, it would undoubtedly draw huge ratings. And given Mirkarimi's very public want and desire to state his case, I'm sure he'd love the chance. King too. (Hey, PIX, you gotta great story idea).
There was a time when stations used the anchor to do a split-screen for the top story of the day. Now, it's almost a relic. Only do the networks perform the function and most of the give and take is between anchor and reporter live from the scene.
Of course some anchors can't interview. Here in the Bay Area, we're fortunate that most of our TV readers are good enough to handle the chore. I mentioned King. I'd love to see Frank Somerville do a one-on-one with Mayor Ed Lee. As much as I have ripped Radnich on radio, seeing him do a split-screen with Lew Wolff, (co-owner of the A's) would be worth watching. Both Cheryl Jennings and Dan Ashley are fantastic interviewers--ditto, the no-nonsense, Carolyn Johnson.
Of course the news directors control the flavor of local TV news. One would hope this lost feature might be a welcome addition to the Bay Area TV airwaves.
What do you think?
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