TV news stinks, part two

"Absolutely, I'll look at your resume, kid!"  Marian Pittman, WSB

"Absolutely, I'll look at your resume, kid!" Marian Pittman, WSB

"When you need a change of scenery, Monica, you know who to call."  Steve Schwaid, WGCL

"When you need a change of scenery, Monica, you know who to call." Steve Schwaid, WGCL

When the Atlanta Press Club gathered the four Atlanta TV news directors for a forum last week, the first question from moderator Denis O’Hayer addressed this hypothesis:  TV news stinks.

The hypothesis wasn’t shocking.  The shocking part is that it came from the mouth of the VP of News at WXIA-TV, Ellen Crooke.  Crooke uttered the words in a GSU journalism class (and flashed them on a Powerpoint slide).  We dutifully reported it on this site.

The happy debunker:  Ellen Crooke, WXIA

The cheery contrarian: Ellen Crooke, WXIA

Crooke expanded on her hypothesis during the forum.  Predictably, the news directors at WSB and WAGA disagreed.  Given the fact that their newscasts have the largest audiences in town, Marian Pittman and Budd McEntee told the audience that local TV news is mostly doing a fine job, thank you.  WGCL’s Steve Schwaid gave a more nuanced answer that agreed with the essence of Crooke’s remark.

"Don't worry.  Be happy."  Budd McEntee, WAGA

"Don't worry. Be happy." Budd McEntee, WAGA

The four news directors were collegial and in mostly good humor.  The forum was a unique look at the four most influential behind-the-scenes folks in Atlanta TV news.  Below, there are four unedited clips from the APC forum in response to the “TV news stinks” question.  We may post additional material in the coming days.

Video and stills courtesy of Grayson Daughters; she’s also the blogger known as “spaceyg,” who recently referred to me on this blog as “his royal smugness.”  Thanks, Spacey.  Next time, you’re buying.

Ellen Crooke, WXIA

Budd McEntee, WAGA

Marian Pittman, WSB

Steve Schwaid, WGCL

8 thoughts on “TV news stinks, part two

  1. kicker

    Ellen –

    the solution to relevamnt TV is answering viewer questions at 11 pm?

    Or is it just how you fill your show.

    Admit it. You don’t have a newscast at 11 pm . You want a magazine show. That’s fine. Just admit it.

  2. longgone.

    my head is swirling…
    do these people never look outside their “bubble”? They’re just hanging on till someone turns out the lights..
    the AJC is almost gone, some of these stations staffers have been asked to take paycuts. (economy..)
    What was their market shares 10 years ago vs now? (gone to non-tv competition..)
    Who really watches their news? (marketable demographics..)
    The content they cover just fills the ad-space hole… and they trot out the I-Team stuff only during sweeps and then point to that (with some justification=Peabody, Emmys..) as proof they are still doing legitimate news…
    ouch.. what about the rest of the time… really

  3. wgcler

    I can’t answer for the other stations, only about us.

    Our ND had drilled it into our heads, sometimes painfully, that every day is a sweeps day. They look at, discuss and anlyze the numbers everyday.

    I live on the street, but I’ve walked by meetings where you hear them ask what are people talking about on the street.

    You’re right, Some stations live ina bibble. But we never had a bubble or it burst awhile ago here.

  4. English Major

    Sadly – or maybe, admirably – the television industry still calls these broadcasts “news” even though they’re not. Most of the rest of us look at them as entertainment. That’s what they’ve become, so our expectations are not as high. Wish it weren’t so.

  5. Juanita Driggs

    I agree with Ms. Crooke. TV news does stink. I also agree with Sammy. Dagmar IS really hot! (I think I like where Sammy is coming from.) And the point is…? The vapidity of TV news reminds me of a famous quote attributed to a Canadian Oxfam official lamenting the inability to address the dismal state of health in many countries (including ours). “When all is said and done…more is said than done!”

  6. Pingback: 10 Atlanta media moments, 2009 « live apartment fire

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