Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Sinclair Stirred, Not Shaken

Columbia Journalism Review has posted an excellent update on the state of Sinclair, profiling our colleagues at Columbus's WSYX, which NEWSBREAKERS volunteered a cooperative reporting segment for in February. In case you missed it, the Reaper's cameo grimly foreshadowed the troubles ahead.

Seems the Sinclair twins WSYX and WTTE in Columbus are getting "crushed" in news ratings by their competitors, lacking resources that the locally owned station WBNS and NBC-owned WCMH use to gather news, like helocopters for aerial coverage. This shellacking is not a remote occurance for Sinclair, so they are stirring things up by reportedly halting "News Central," which takes the local out of local news, blending syndicated news programming--even piped-in weather reports-- from their headquarters in Baltimore. If you love their commitment to conservative biases, worry not, Mark Hyman's "The Point" is still required for all news programming.

Sinclair may be battered but they're not deterred. The reported News Central hiatus reported in this piece is referred to as "revamping," and no indication is given that Sinclair is going to make any further moves to divest its interests or release its grip on broadcast news.

Read Elizabeth Jensen's piece for the full story, posted on cjr.org.

Hmm, first it was Reverend Utah Snakewater who purged Clear Channel of their live entertainment holdings, and then it's revealed that Grim's got the skills to put an end to News Central. Kind of makes one wonder what Cheese Ninja's long-term impact is going to be.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Sensationalism Reigns

Theantimedia.com posted an excellent article this month about the degradation of television news, avalable at: http://theantimedia.blogspot.com/2005/05/bottom-line-pressures-erode-local.html.

Take a moment to check it out. The article addresses the perceived (by media insiders) lack of news value of the Scott Peterson media circus, the decline of in-depth reporting for want of the "quick hit" news story, and the rising stock of consultants, and the publicity "flacks" that shape our news, which make as much as three times the money that a journalist charged with unbiased objectivity makes.

If bias is what sells, and sales equate to value, who can we trust to deliver us news that reports an objective look at the happenings of our world?

Props to John McMannus for his piece, titled "Bottom-line pressures erode local print and broadcast journalism," which explores these difficult challenges to journalists who stick to their convictions that their responsibility to the public remains paramount.