Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Disappearing Act

One of our local TV stations has a new look. Last few weeks, they have been doing the news from in front of a fake-brick wall with like a naked light bulb on a wire overhead, as the studio rebuild happened. So last night, the new and improved! newsroom debuted, big monitor behind the anchors showing a view of the river, la, la, la.

KOIN is watching out for us, as their logo tells us. Asking the hard questions ...

Come time for the weather segment, and there's this perky young woman I haven't seen before, Kristin Van Dyke, and Jeff and Kelly congratulate her as the new chief meteorologist.

Whoa. What happened to Bruce Sussman?

Gone. Contract ran down, Adíos, Bruce!

Mike and Shirley went the same way. One night, they were the anchors, the next, Shirley was replaced, and nobody said "boo!" Mike hung on at the station, but doing puff pieces in the field, then he retired.

This is how local news operates, they usually don't bother to announce personnel changes, just toss 'em out there. To avoid, I suspect, the deluge of comments from viewers who don't like to see their favorites let go. 

I liked Bruce. And maybe I'll grow to like Kristin. Or maybe I'll switch over to Channel Two or Eight and watch Matt or somebody else ...

Not supposed to be about personalities, but of course, that's exactly what it is about. If you trust Mike and Shirley, that's who you tune into watch. I like Jeff and Kelly, but I know one day I'll look up and one or both will be gone. Good evening folks, and welcome Rodney Roberts to the KOIN news team ... !



Bob Walters said...

Same thing happened here in Eugene. KMTR channel 16 was bought out by a big outfit from out of town and all the regulars but one was fired. They brought in a cute 20 something blonde from Florida and an iron jawed dude who could wow the opposite sex and made them the new anchors. Matt Templeton and Rene McCullogh, the long time anchors were let go. Fortunately, KEZI, channel 9 locally, hired them on. I stopped watching KMTR for any news at all as a result and now watch KEZI for all my local news. Its all about the money as the new cast is willing to work for peanuts compared to the seasoned crew that was there before. Don't' you just love greed?

Mike Byers said...

It seems to be the same wherever you go; it certainly is around here, anyway. But it really doesn't much matter, as our local "news" is pretty well confined to wrecks, fires and high school sports. And now that I can look at surface charts, satellite photos and weather radar I don't need the weather bunny anymore, even if she is cute.

AnnieB said...

I agree with part of what Mike said - local news is local news. However, I do base my viewing on how well the "newsreaders" do their job - can they speak grammatically correct English, can they correctly pronounce words of more than one syllable, the names of local people and places, etc. I'm a computer geek, but I did manage to successfully pass high school English classes (mumble) decades ago and remember most of it. It seems to me that it shouldn't be too hard to read the copy in front of you (or on the teleprompter or whatever), and if you don't know - ask!

Steve Perry said...

Probably every generation looks at the ones replacing it and wonders if somebody is putting stupid pills in the offsprings' food.

I know my father did. Of course he was never wrong a single time in my life, at least I never heard him admit it, so maybe he's not the guy to hold up as the voice of reason ...

In this case, the local paper knows it can make more money online, so literally downsizing from a broadsheet to a tabloid (with nice stab-your-finger staples in the middle) is just one more step. Before they did that, they riffed a bunch of reporters and editors, so they have to lean more on wire reports.

Then the word went out that the reporters doing the electronic versions were going to have more responsibility for editing their own copy. How much? Can't say from here, but the writing surely doesn't sparkle as much. I've been a pro writer for more than forty years and I still need an editor or two to save me from myself, I sling typos left and right, and sometimes auto-correct changes stuff I didn't get wrong into something that is wrong.

Most of the local news I can get from TV, and if something sparks, I can go look it up on the net. I miss the experience of sitting at the table turning pages because it was holographic -- more often than not, my attention would be caught by a little piece off to one side and you don't get that experience when you read a headline and then drill down.

I don't think These Kids Today are any dumber than we were; I do think they take shortcuts we didn't have, and sometimes that gets them into places they can't see or escape from.

The Oregonian is taking the road that leads to the most profit. I don't blame them for it, but I am sorry to see the institution that it was become what it is: Not as good.