Two down, three to go…
KPIX, the CBS affiliate in San Francisco announced today that they are moving to a VJ-driven newsroom.
The official press release today said:
Feb 11, 2009 3:58 PM ESTKPIX management told the staff today the station intends to go VJ within a year, pending union contract re-negotiations.
The station’s GM said voluntary training will begin in the near future, with lightweight cameras and servers to follow.
The current AFTRA contract permits on-air staff only limited use of technical equipment except in emergencies. The station’s technical unions gave up jurisdiction some years ago.
This is hardly news to any of us who have been with the VJ movement for a long time.
In the next few months prepare to see more and more stations in major markets going to VJ as well.
This is the inevitable upshot of the combination of economic necessity and technical reality on the ground.
There is simply no longer any justification for the old 2-man crews and big heavy gear. As we said a long time ago,
this is going to happen, and it is going to happen everywhere.
Ironically, only yesterday, The Wall Street Journal
ran an article pointing out that local TV news stations were in real danger of simply disappearing altogether.
If they have any hope of surviving, they are going to have to cut their costs and make their operations vastly more efficient. The days of employing 150 people and putting 8 cameras on the street are simply over, not that they ever made any sense.
AFTRA’s San Francisco local has vigorously opposed members performing technical duties at KPIX and has threatened sanctions against those who do.The station’s GM said the decision to use VJs as part of a mix with traditional crews was his alone and was not the result of a CBS corporate edict. He said he recognizes the very real possibility of failure but something needed to be done to reduce expenses.