The stories behind the stories: July 2012
KARE-11’s “new” anchor
After three months of deliberation, KARE-11 finally announced Mike Pomeranz’s replacement. To hardly anyone’s surprise, KARE-11 sports director Randy Shaver now sits permanently alongside co-anchor Julie Nelson to deliver the 5, 6 and 10 p.m. evening news. Shaver had already been filling in as the evening anchor before the announcement became official earlier this month. The timing of the decision coincides nicely for two reasons – July is a sweeps month and the 2012 Olympics are broadcast on the NBC-affiliate station.
There is a definite pattern of sports reporters making the transition to news anchors – especially at KARE. Tim McNiff (weekday mornings), Eric Perkins (weekends), Randy Shaver, and current KMSP anchor Jeff Passolt, who was a former KARE sports director, have all made the switch. Interestingly enough, Pomeranz switched from news to sports broadcasting.
We think Shaver is a safe decision for KARE. While making the change from sports to news can be challenging, he has already demonstrated the ability to appropriately change his demeanor. Plus, Shaver is a familiar face for this market since he joined KARE in 1983.
TV news increases airtime, decreases reliability
For the past four years, television stations have set new records for the amount of local news aired. In the last year, weekday news coverage has increased by 12 minutes – averaging five and a half hours of airtime each day. Yet, a recent Gallup poll revealed that only 21% of American adults expressed a significant amount of confidence in TV news, which is down 7% from last year and is the lowest percentage the poll has yielded since it began tracking in 1993.
This could be part of the reason why YouTube news consumption is rapidly growing. According to the Pew Research Center, more than half of the site’s most-watched videos come from news organizations, but footage in these videos sometimes incorporates shots by YouTube users.
MPR lays off 10 employees
As the news media landscape continues to evolve with tighter budget and more demands, another Twin Cities media outlet suffered layoffs this month. Minnesota Public Radio let go of 10 staffers – though none of which were reporters, editors or hosts – the bread and butter of the organization. According to company CEO Jon McTaggart, the organization is restructuring its content and development areas to better position it for future growth.
What makes this layoff unlike others is that Minnesota Public Radio is a nonprofit and relies on listener donations as its main funding source as opposed to traditional advertising revenue. This financial model may have played into the organization’s decision to keep all of its current reporters and radio hosts.
In an effort to save time and money and cover local news, major newspapers around the country have admitted to publishing dozens of articles with fake bylines provided by Journatic, a commercial content provider. What these papers weren’t doing is checking the facts in Journatic articles and publishing false information, riddled with errors and written by outsourced individuals for less than minimum wage. The major newspapers, including the Houston Chronicle, the San Francisco Chronicle, and the Chicago Tribune, which relied on this model will have their work cut out for them as they rebuild their tarnished reputations and determine how to produce quality news coverage within budget constraints.
Patch increases earnings
After facing financial woes early on this year, AOL’s Patch sites had a positive second-quarter earnings report. The hyperlocal news network more than doubled its second quarter earnings compared to a year ago, and is on track to make between $40-50 million this year.
However, in order to achieve that estimate, it seems the news outlet is putting more pressure on local editors to generate content. According to JimRomensko.com blog, local editors are required to post seven times each day – including weekends, must come up with an additional 500 people to “Like” their Facebook pages, and obtain a minimum of 1,000 comments on their Facebook pages each month.
The high demands on these editors have caused considerable turnover, making it hard to run a lucrative business. We’ll continue tracking Patch’s profitable progress under these new editor demands.
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