TVN’S FRONT OFFICE BY MARY COLLINS

Collins | Redesigning The Workforce, Post-Pandemic

In March, when state shutdowns began, companies had only days to transition to work-from-home. No one could predict how long such arrangements might last. Now, it seems that some employees will be returning to offices soon, while others will work from home through the end of the year or indefinitely. If they haven’t done so already, now is the time for companies to evaluate the potential issues with these arrangements.

Pegasus Beyond The Plow: Broadcast TV’s Path To Innovation

COMMENTARY

Police Have Been Spying On Black Reporters

Wendi C. Thomas: I learned during a police surveillance trial that the Memphis Police Department spied on me and three other journalists. (Photo by Andrea Morales)

COMMENTARY

Commentary: TV Depictions Of Cops Can’t, And Shouldn’t, Go Back To The Way They Were

John Wenzel: The pressure on TV writers and producers is enormous right now. It’s an opportunity.

COMMENTARY

Black America Speaks. America Should Listen.

Byron Allen: Ten proposals on what the United States needs to do to never come back here again.

COMMENTARY

The Mission Must Drive Journalists’ Questions

Margaret Sullivan: Journalism is a mess these days. But it’s the kind of mess that American journalists could come out of stronger and better if they — and the American people they serve — grapple with some difficult questions.

COMMENTARY

Media, Heal Thyself. Before It’s Too Late.

Hugh Hewitt: “There are far fewer Americans across the vast political spectrum who “trust” anyone on television anymore — anchors, “analysts” or reporters, regardless of whether they purport to “report” or transparently “opine.” And that’s a problem. We need a free and fair television press that can be trusted. We will perish as a free republic without it. And we don’t have one now.”

COMMENTARY

Should We Cancel TV Cop Shows For Good?

Amid protests against racisim after the death of George Floyd, do TV shows valorizing the police like Law & Order: SVU really belong on the air anymore?

JESSELL AT LARGE

Jessell | Trump’s Order On Social Becomes Carr’s Folly

FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr has tripped over himself publicly enthusing about President Trump’s executive order calling on the FCC to police social media. In his attempts to ingratiate himself with the president, he’s forgetting it’s Congress’ decision whether or not to give the agency oversight and enforcement duties over such media. ~ Also, remembering LPTV champion Mike Gravino.

OPEN MIKE FROM CHARLES CONROY

Esports Can Fill COVID-19’s Live Sports TV Void

A long lockdown without live sports has pushed esports toward record audiences on the streaming platforms where they’re usually watched, with broadcasters now testing the waters. With professional leagues’ reemergence still hazy, esports may be having their breakthrough moment sooner than expected.

COMMENTARY

WAVE Reporter On Being Shot With Pepper Ball

Kaitlin Rust: “As a journalist, you never want to be the story. It makes my stomach turn to see so many other journalists experiencing much worse and much greater physical harm for simply doing their jobs.”

COMMENTARY

Floyd Dying Or Rioters: The Power Of Images

If the snapshot of this time is George Floyd on the ground, Derek Chauvin’s knee hard on his neck, society moves in one direction. But other images entice with a competing narrative: looters loading stolen goods into waiting cars; rogue protesters setting fires; graffiti on national monuments in Washington. For too many nights now, that narrative has gained strength — and moves the country closer to an outcome where force can be seen as both a short-term tactic and a long-term solution.

COMMENTARY

Trump Echoes Nixon In Targeting Twitter

Preston Padden: “In Nixon’s railing against the liberal bias of the networks, one can almost hear Mr. Trump railing against social-media companies.”

COMMENTARY

Journalists Under Assault From Police, Protesters

COMMENTARY

ATSC 3.0: Small Cities, Big Opportunities

Edge Networks’ Todd Achilles: “Many cities and towns in America have only a single local TV signal, importing network programming via long-distance cable and satellite feeds. Now that ATSC 3.0 has begun its march across America, there’s a real opportunity to hitch our future to a powerful stagecoach — particularly for viewers in mid-sized and small markets.”

TVN’S FRONT OFFICE BY MARY COLLINS

Collins | Rising Above A Pandemic

Enlightened businesses who will survive today’s challenging environment will realize the value of reaching customers via equally savvy media companies that can provide both core media products along with broader exposure for marketing messages via today’s emerging services like over-the-top, podcasting, geofencing, branded content and retargeted banners.

OPEN MIKE FROM NICOLE BERGEN

Advertisers Need To Drop Togetherness Message

The latest consumer research shows Americans are fatigued with hearing “we’re all in this together” from advertisers. They want a deal, touchless buying and deferred payments, not empathy.

THE PRICE POINT

The Price Point | Amid COVID-19, What Has TV Learned?

Some trends in local television are making themselves clear as the country slowly reopens, among them a growing pressure to consolidate, a need to find new revenue streams and greater workplace portability.

COMMENTARY

‘Liberal Leaning’ Media Passed Its Tipping Point

Van Gordon Sauter: To many journalists, objectivity, balance and fairness — once the gold standard of reporting — are not mandatory in a divided political era and in a country they believe to be severely flawed. A return to balance would be commercially unviable. The best solution may be an honest embrace of bias.

COMMENTARY

’60 Minutes’ Is Having A Moment. Here’s Why

Early this month, with the 60 Minutes season nearly ready to wrap production for the summer, executive producer Bill Owens took a heartfelt pitch to his boss, CBS News President Susan Zirinsky. “We can’t stop,” he told her. Zirinsky agreed, despite the fact that the labor-intensive Sunday-night newsmagazine show weighs heavily on the network budget, and took the plan to the corporate honchos. Remarkably, they got on board, too. As a result, instead of ending the season last weekend, new episodes will continue until at least June 28.

OPEN MIKE FROM ED GREBOW

Top 10 Effects Of Coronavirus On TV Trade Shows

The pandemic will affect the shows, attendees and exhibitors for years to come. Each of us now has a chance to think about where we as an industry go from here.

How To Build A Station Recovery Plan

TV stations have seen their ad revenues take a sharp hit in the pandemic. Now is the time to be proactive about shoring up their morning newscasts, working closely with wary advertisers and vying for localized national ad dollars to chart a path through the crisis.

Commentary: One Simple Thing The Cable Industry Can Do To Save Itself

It’s Time To Uproot American Newspapers From Hedge Funds And Replant Them In More Hospitable Ground

Commentary: Relationship Between Sinclair’s WBFF And Mayoral Candidate Raises Questions

TVN’S FRONT OFFICE BY MARY COLLINS

Collins | COVID-19 And Media Companies’ Futures

With every generation relying on media from a multitude of sources to inform and distract more than ever before, there is a huge opportunity for media companies to engage a captive audience. Forward-thinking media companies will be focused on creative solutions to keep engaging content flowing to consumers across a variety of platforms while continuing to find ways for advertisers to reach their potential customers.

Commentary: WPVI Anchor’s Videos Of Encouragement Strike Right Note

JESSELL AT LARGE

Jessell | For Local TV, Flat Would Be A Victory Now

As 1Q earnings come to a close, it’s clear that 2020 will no longer be a year of double-digit ad growth driven by record political spending. On the plus side, local TV has proved once more that the business is fundamentally sound and resilient. Also, Dennis Wharton has had enough.

COMMENTARY

Stress And The Dangers Of Our Media ‘Pundemic’

The next front line in the COVID-19 battle will be struggles with the psychological damage. Concerns over society-wide anxiety and depression are increasing as people face the physical and economic fallout of the pandemic. But there’s a contributing factor to that growing alarm hiding in plain sight. Call it the “pundemic,” the parade of on-camera and online pundits delivering daily doses of dread and doom, based less on science and more on science fiction.

COMMENTARY

Media Must Not Aid In Normalizing Virus Deaths

Margaret Sullivan: Trump wants America to ‘normalize’ coronavirus deaths. It’s the media’s job not to play along.

COMMENTARY

Live(ish) From Someone’s Room, This Is TV

American Idol and The Voice, usually oversized spectacles, have become test cases for TV under lockdown. The results so far have been both affecting and unsettling, emotional and apocalyptic.

COMMENTARY

How Biden Can Beat Trump From His Basement

Lis Smith: If he can win the battle for our screens, he can benefit from the death of the traditional presidential campaign. Democrats should use the media to highlight Biden’s empathy and position him as the presidential warm blanket that a scarred America will need.

OPEN MIKE FROM JOHN ALTENBERN

Don’t Bet Against Local TV Advertising

Local TV is facing a brutal quarter ahead, but the industry has shown creativity and endurance when dealing with past downturns. There’s every reason to believe it will do so again, and its first efforts are already visible.

JESSELL AT LARGE

Jessell | After Proxy Loss, Pondering Kim’s Next Move

Soo Kim took a shot across the bow at Tegna’s management in conceding his loss in a proxy fight last week. But beyond his Tegna stake, he’s backing other broadcast ventures in which a larger strategy is harder to see. Bonus news and commentary: The pandemic could hurt retrans revenue as well as ad revenue; group stock prices can’t get much worse; Nexstar offers a hard plan to soften AE woes; and TV and radio take another step toward full newsgathing equality.

THE PRICE POINT

The Price Point | Financial Management Is More Than Money

Station business managers are critical to the organization’s success. Sometimes overlooked, they’re a GM’s partner in running the station and essential to realizing its strategic plan.

COMMENTARY BY RAY SUAREZ

I Did Everything Right. Why Can’t I Stay Afloat?

Journalist Ray Suarez clung to the middle class as he aged. The pandemic pulled him under.

OPEN MIKE FROM MARIELLA MILLER

At WLVT, Carefully Crafting History’s First Draft

Staffers at PBS affiliate WLVT and NPR affiliate, WLVR-FM in Lehigh Valley, Pa., feel the weight of the pandemic’s historic power in their everyday reporting. It’s keeping them motivated through an intensely difficult and uncertain time.

COMMENTARY

Trust, Familiarity Are Why Network News Viewership Peaking

COMMENTARY

Welcome To The Skype Pandemic

The rough-and-ready video quality of journalism during the coronavirus crisis is changing the way we engage with the media.

THE PRICE POINT

The Price Point | During The Pandemic, Plenty Of Fortitude

If there ever was doubt employees are our strongest assets, that should be gone. Engineers, to cite only one example, have repurposed, reworked and scrounged everything from laptops to boom mikes. And that same creativity and positive attitude has been on display in every other department at TV operations.