It’s amazing how many avenues people can utilize to get news, current events, opinions or just plain gossip. YouTube, Facebook, MySpace, Four Square….they’re all out there just waiting for you to Tweet your friends and let them know where they can follow every detail of your fairly mundane life. It’s amazing that this phenomenon has continued until it’s reached proportions most of us can’t even fathom.
I wrote last week about my fears for the television industry, and tongue in cheek, I said that by blogging, I’m contributing to my own professional demise. I really think this is true-not that my blog will really go anywhere, but the time I devote to this is time that I’m not keeping up with what’s going on via tv news. Most of us in the business see the new media as a necessary evolution, but that doesn’t keep us from poking fun at it. On our show, Eyewitness News This Morning, we posted a question asking people to post who they think should run for governor in WV. We have a couple of funny people who post on our station’s FB page who suggested I run. Of course we all got a great laugh at that on air. Most of us in the tv news biz get a laugh at the social networking obsession taking over tv news, as well. Check out this spoof performed by the staff at a Dallas station that was produced for an Emmy awards ceremony:
While that’s funny as hell, it’s also, sadly, closer to becomming reality than many of us in the business would care to admit. In just the last year, we at WCHS-TV launched a Facebook page, a Twitter account, streaming news and weather segments and have just launched an app where you can watch our news live on your mobile phone. While that’s great for consumers, it’s not really great for those of us who depend on ratings for our jobs. Although more people are watching our news product, less people are doing it in ways that can help with job security.
I think, ultimately, what you’ll see is one dominant station providing local news in each market, with that product being delivered primarily via the web or wireless device of various makes, models and types. One set of anchors, one set of photojournalists and very small production values. That’s a lot of jobs lost, but without much content lost. Producing tv news is expensive and if ratings continue to plummet like they are trending now, there is no way a news director will be able to justify the expense of running a news organization which loses money. The ultimate result will be a lack of competition and the temptation of more one-sided, issue dominated news. That’s not good for anyone. Stay tuned, we’ll be right back. Hopefully.