WXIA was the first. WGCL jumped in a few months ago. WSB did it last week. All of those Atlanta TV stations now employ “backpack journalists” a/k/a one-man-bands a/k/a “hybrids.”
The position seems to be a natural part of the evolution of 21st century newsgathering, where budgets have contracted alongside viewership and advertising dollars. It’s regrettable in a big market, where both the reporter and photographer have challenging jobs. It’s also inevitable, as the four Atlanta TV news directors seemed to agree during an Atlanta Press Club forum last week.
(It’s also very retro. As WSB anchor Monica Pearson loudly proclaimed during the forum, “everything old is new again.” Pearson told the gathering that in her first TV job in the 1960s, she reported, shot film, processed and edited film, then anchored the broadcast.)
Here’s what the Big Four had to say about one-man-bands.
Oh, wait– did we say Monica Pearson started her career in the 1960s? We need to double check that….