If It’s Good Enough for ABC News, Shut Up and Read……and A Former NYTimes Broadcast Exec is Back in the Saddle

If it’s good enough for the big Networks, it’s often good enough for local TV. How many times have we seen local news folks parroting what the big boys and girls are doing? Well, ABC news is following in the footsteps of the BBC and plans to start using VJs or One-Man-Bands to staff its smaller bureaus. And this doesn’t mean that they plan to stick some local stringer out there. They want to put their “youngest and brightest” out there in the these new mini-bureaus opening in places such as Seoul and Rio. According to the article posted in Shoptalk these bureau chiefs would travel with a mini-DV camera and laptop capable of editing and use a satellite to send their stuff in to New York where it would be used for World News Now and the internet along with occasionally being used on World News Tonight and Good Morning America.

The VJ is not a new concept. Yes, the BBC has been doing it for some time and folks in small market TV news have been doing it for years. It’s been tried with mixed success in medium to large markets. In Nashville at the ABC affiliate, they started a beat system with VJs a couple of years ago. I know some embraced it more than others and some loved it while others downright hated it. Of course things have changed in the last few months as the GM and News Director left and were replaced by folks who have thrown out the beat system for all practical purposes and now have the VJs covering the spot news and other “dog and pony” shows that too many times pass for local news these days.

Will the VJ trend continue to grow? I think it will as long as news is considered a business and business type folks are watching the bottom line. It’s simple economics. Granted there are times when a two man crew is required and sometimes the job just can’t be done otherwise. But I think you will see a growing number of VJs especially if the trend continues at the network level.

In San Francisco, a former TV news anchor is writing a book concerning corporate control of the news industry. The book “Shut Up and Read” has an interesting title and the anchor makes some interesting observations at least in the short article I read. I think it’s safe to say she is “mad as hell and isn’t going to take it anymore!”

And a former NYTimes Broadcast honcho is back in the TV business. Tim Morrissey, former GM at KFOR in Oklahoma City and former News Director at WREG is now the GM at WCNC in Charlotte, NC. According to what I have read and heard from folks in Oak City, they liked him as a GM and when big news broke such as twisters tearing up the city and what-not, he would often show up in the newsroom to answer phones and actually help, not hinder. I always liked working with Tim but some of my former co-workers have shared with me that they didn’t care much for him. Anyway, Tim is now calling Charlotte his home.

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3 Comments on “If It’s Good Enough for ABC News, Shut Up and Read……and A Former NYTimes Broadcast Exec is Back in the Saddle”

  1. Joe Gannon Says:

    Well, good for T-Mo. Glad to see he’s back in business.

  2. Wow, Joe Gannon where in the heck are you now? As for Tim, excellent. Tim is the guy that hired me at WREG and gave me the chance to do the regional reporting out in the DMA. Glad to hear he’s on this side of the county just down the road from us a bit here in Virginia.

  3. Make that country, not county.

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