Sunday, May 10, 2009

TV News Turns to Newspapers for Help. Inspiration or Double Drowning?

Robert Papper, a journalism professor at Hofstra who annually surveys TV newsrooms, found that local stations shed 1,200 news jobs last year. According to a New York Times report, Papper also found a 13 percent drop in reporter salaries and a 11.5 percent decline in anchor salaries.

And where is TV news turning to for help?


The bankrupt Tribune Company, which owns 23 TV stations and 12 newspapers, has merged its TV stations and daily newspapers in Miami and Hartford.

We're going to start seeing more shotgun weddings taking place between TV news and newspaper operations in each city, as they leverage their mutually diminished forces to bolster their Website content.

What that means is that you'll see newspaper reporters doing stories for (and getting facetime on) television, and TV reporters showing up in videos on newspaper Websites. It's already happening in San Diego, Detroit, and other cities.

While media consolidation is usually detrimental to diverse and competitive reporting, right now it's considered a do-or-die survival tactic. Better some news than none at all.

We're hoping these arranged marriages will stoke creative juices and help re-energize the journalism industry. We're also hoping that the fusion of TV and newspaper talents will result in an increase in the quantity and quality of professional online videojournalism.

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