TVNewsCheck is occasionally featuring examples of exceptional TV station reporting from across the country. Here are the first four, taking on everything from fraud, wasteful spending and public safety to a parking lot owner with a penchant for driving other people’s cars.
Newspaper sites around the country are producing video on par with that of TV stations, often with the help of former TV multimedia journalists and photographers. In fact, some of the newspapers’ video content is so good that it has beaten material produced by TV news departments when it’s gone head-to-head in awards competitions.
Responding to a survey that ranked TV and radio news as one of the 10 worst jobs in the country, many broadcasters say they love their work despite the stress, falling salaries, cutbacks and little growth potential cited by Careercast.
Twitter and Facebook have quickly become one of the basics of TV news. Faster and easier than blogging, which industry watchers say is becoming increasingly passé, and more personal than station-run websites, social media has become so important that stations are investing in training talent to use them and, in some cases, mandating it.
The normal career path at a TV station results in general managers rising from the ranks of the sales department. Recently, there’s been an upsurge in news directors being chosen to fill the top management spot. And many say that the increased and varied responsibilities that leading a news department entails, is great experience.
The Landmark-owned CBS affiliate in Las Vegas was awarded a Peabody for its extensive investigative reporting on the causes, effects and those responsible for the city’s mushrooming housing crisis. Bringing a number of the issues to light helped prompt the state to act faster to pass laws to ease the suffering of homeowners.
U.S. Army Capt. Frank Razzano Jr. is spending a year as an intern in the news department of Raycom’s Savannah, Ga., CBS affiliate. He’s following a reporter and a photographer as they pursue stories, sits in on news meetings and studies the station’s marketing and promotion efforts. It’s all to learn techniques and skills that will help him do his Army job of convincing foreign populations to support the work of U.S. forces in their countries.
More TV stations are investing in audience research than have since before the economic troubles that began four years ago. And they are doing so using more and more online techniques that let them reap better feedback from a larger pool of participants for less money.
In their growing attempts to offer local coverage to attract interest to both newscasts and websites, more than half of the news-producing stations across the country now include prep sports coverage. Football and basketball still get the biggest play, but with many stations now making high school sports a year-round feature, everything from wrestling and riflery to girls’ volleyball gets its share of coverage.
The fact-checking service is lining up relationships with all 25 of Hearst’s news-producing stations and has even broader ambitions. Other broadcasters with PolitiFact deals include Cox and Gannett.