Neonatal newsgatherers

This week the University of Georgia’s Grady school of journalism took over a real-life on-air TV station.   Used to be that UGA’s J-school kids had committed acts of television for a cable-only station in Athens.  Now they have an actual FCC-licensed TV station.  This means TV viewers in northeast Georgia will be subject to an ongoing TV news experiment.  It should be horrifying, amusing and potentially exhilarating.

WNEG’s transmitter is in Toccoa.  Occasionally, Channel 32’s news crews would overlap into territory covered by the Atlanta media.  The Toccoa station was staffed by youngsters fresh out of places like UGA.  Its owner, Media General, sold the station to UGA.  Technically, this appears to make WNEG an outlet of state government.  This will be an interesting circumstance for the liberal-media-conspiracy set, given the state’s Republican bent.

UGA says the station’s news division will continue its focus on northeast Georgia, basing its operations in Athens and Toccoa.

This has precedent.  The Board of Curators of the University of Missouri owns the license to KOMU, a network affiliate that is the training ground for wannabe TV reporters at MU’s J-School.  That station is managed by professionals.  Its news managers also double as college professors.  With the exception of some on-air talent —  Paul Pepper is still there? — the news product is produced and reported by students.  It’ll likely be much the same for WNEG.

The Red and Black has more details. The move is a good one for UGA’s J-school, which is now churning out legions of youngsters who want to forge careers in the news biz (most of whom appear to be women who aspire to become CNN anchors).  By having a commercial station at their disposal, it raises the stakes and throws the students into a professional environment.  Once they graduate, that makes them more attractive to station managers in cities like Savannah and Albany, whose low-salary starter shops receive truckloads of resumes from kids straight out of colleges across America.

In honor of this development, tomorrow we may post the worst TV story ever. Yeah, a college student did it.

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Doug Richards is a reporter at WXIA-TV. This is his personal blog. WXIA-TV has nothing whatsoever to do with this blog, under any circumstances, in any form. For anything written herein, Doug accepts sole credit and full blame. Follow him on Twitter: @richardsdoug. All rights reserved. Thanks for visiting.

10 thoughts on “Neonatal newsgatherers

  1. Dana Fowle

    I vote for NOT showing the worst story ever by this college student. It just seems kind of cruel. They’re learning. They’re young and your review will be on the Internet for all to read FOREVER. That’s my vote.

    Reply
  2. Lauren K

    I think it’s hilarious. My news stories from being in the J school at UGA were a nightmare but in turn quite comical. The people in Toccoa are in for a treat.

    Reply
  3. locutus of borg

    Never one to laugh at student-journalists’ performances (they are just learning after all), I could not help but laugh at this one. I can’t provide the link, but go to you tube and search for “boom goes the dynamite” and watch the worst sportscaster ever seen.

    (it’s here, and worth viewing: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W45DRy7M1no – LAF)

    Reply
  4. scott hedeen

    “like Savannah and Albany, whose low-salary starter shops receive truckloads of resumes from kids straight out of colleges across America.”

    Who are you kidding Doug? The “low salary starter shops” are what we used to call the “Bigs”. Welcome to Atlanta. Look for these grads to be live at 6 covering the beats you used to run.

    Reply
  5. gooberpeas

    I understand that Chuck Moore (one of my favourite news anchors of all time), formerly of WAGA and WXIA, is at WNEG 32 now.

    Reply
  6. gooberpeas

    or maybe I should say WAS at WNEG 32….I guess he’s enjoying retirement in the N. GA mountains now. (wish I was)

    Reply
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