“Hybrid”

Original hybrid:  Julie Wolfe, WXIA

Original hybrid: Julie Wolfe, WXIA

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….

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9 thoughts on ““Hybrid”

  1. mike daly

    Does this person get paid more for having and using their extra skills to get this extra content? It seems to me that if they possess these extra skills and are required to use them to provide the extra content management is looking for, they should be getting some bonus bucks.

    Reply
  2. live apt fire Post author

    Great question, Mike. The answer, obviously, is “yes.” Just like when a TV station adds a new news broadcast, it always hires additional staff to work the show!

    Reply
  3. English Major

    So what’s it been called all those years that photogs have been sent out solo to not only shoot the interview, but also ask the questions? Free labor?

    Reply
  4. bob

    I assume the above reply of “yes” was a joke, right?

    The answer is no.. the whole point of a “hybrid” or “one man band”, is to save money.

    You are having 1 person do 2 jobs for 1 salary.

    And the trend has been to pay that person much lower than what a traditional reporter would make.

    WXIA’s sister station in DC for example, is starting their One Man Bands at 45-50K. Thats down from the average reporter salary of 75K.

    Reply
  5. Crunchy

    For WSB, are you talking about the single Sports Reporter one person band? I don’t think they have any plans to employ news bands…

    Reply
  6. Element

    Julie Wolfe is easily this towns best, day to day, storyteller. I’m not saying that has to be your thing but she consistently provides a better overall quality segment, than most reporters, with one arm tied behind her back.

    Reply

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