Friday, May 2, 2014

The Changing Local TV News Landscape; Friday Starter

 Part of the downside of rapidly departing news faces and voices here is it's become almost rampant day to day.

We see and hear these people every morning and afternoon. They become part of our routine. A part of the family. They come into our home and create a sort of bond. It's unique and special.

I had a e-mail recently lamenting all the changes taking place. Some are through normal attrition. People come and go and most people don't care. When, say, a Dennis Richmond and Rita Williams retires after decades of work, we care. We are also sensitive to the undercurrent of emotion that asks us did they leave on their own terms.

In the case of Richmond and Williams, from all accounts, they were ready to step aside. Ditto people like Lloyd Lacuesta and Randy Shandobil, both fine reporters from KTVU who spent decades at the same station before leaving the arena. Big names and TV News journalistic giants.

Today's environment is a much different dynamic. There's new faces everyday although at an amazingly alarming pace. The changes are so rapid-fire that we hardly notice or seem to care. KTVU has seen a deluge of new reporters. Same thing at KPIX. Most of the old Channel 2 legacy status was based upon the fact that so few people left and when one did, it was major news itself throughout the industry and here. Those days are long gone.

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  1. Most of the old Channel 2 legacy status was based upon the fact that their repoters were once experts in their assigned fields, having worked there before coming to KTVU, ie., Fowler was a commercial pilot, Vacar a consumer advocate, Griffith worked in education, Banmiller in finance, etc. Today's reporters are haircuts who know how to hold a stick mike and say their name.

    1. One of the best posts ever !!

    2. No question, great post, and very true to the point.

  2. sadder but wiserMay 2, 2014 at 10:53 AM

    Congratulations Rich on finally waking up and recognizing the new world. It may not be a better world, but it's the only one we've got.

    At some point you need to stop looking back at that rear view mirror and face forward to figure out where you are and what's up ahead.

  3. No great revelation, but I also think in the old days there were only three network affiliates, and one independent, to get our nightly news besides a printed newspaper. I don't know if people build the same loyalty to local TV news. To some degree, maybe, but not like when the options were much more limited.

  4. Rich, you do realize that in every industry people reach a certain age and retire. What makes you think the television news industry should be any different?

  5. One reason for the faster-changing landscape is the standardization of local owned-and-operated stations, which have had to hew to corporate budgets, pare staffs drastically and use more younger, non-contract reporters. (KTVU though, has seemed to be able to resist the trend to a generic quality, even the branding and logo.) Maybe most crucial is that no matter who wins ratings "sweeps," one trend stays the same; fewer people watch local newscasts with each measurement. It may be that news staffs are no longer really our "extended family," and there really are no more "star" anchors. Personalities are not as valuable, thus the expensive ones are expendable, and, as with companies of all kinds, management has learned the trick of doing the same work with fewer people.