The Future of Local TV News?


is this the future of tv news?

Walk around any local TV news station and you are taken by the vast capital investment that the building represents:

Satellite dishes

A chopper

Broadcast tower

Edit suites


Control rooms


mile of carpeting, desks, cubicles, a cafeteria, it goes on and on and on…

Breakfast with Mike Sechrist, former GM at WKRN out here in San Diego this morning and the topic turned to ‘the TV newsroom of the future’.

Who would buy an edit suite today? Not in an era when you can edit just about anything on a laptop. Makes sense.

Extend that argument to cameras, satellite dishes, transmission towers in an era in which anyone can put video up online with a server and an online connection and suddenly the whole architecture of local tv news as we know it starts to collapse.

Is it any wonder that more and more local TV news stations are on the block? The smart money is dumping out while there are still ‘private equity holders’ who are willing to pay for them. And one may only assume that those private equity firms understand the new economics of video online and local news even better than those who are selling them.

Vast changes are coming to local news.

Its not going to go out of business – there are too many local ad dollars to be had.. but it is going to change.

When anyone can get a few VJ together with digital cameras and laptop edits, go out and gather local news stories and then put them into everyone’s house online, 24/7… the potential is there for a whole new kind of television (if that word still makes sense) news.

Local news is not dead, but it is going to change.

A lot.

Today we’re going to put our collective heads together and try and figure out what it’s going to look like.

But here’s a good place to start:

A local video news show for Boston that’s entirely online.

Who can do this?

If you have spent the past 15 or 20 years in local news and you’re looking for what to do next, you probably qualify.

Go over the local University. Get yourself a dozen bright and eager young journalists. They all have their own cameras and laptops anyway. And start your own local news channel.

There is no ‘barrier to entry’ except your own anxiety.

Someone is going to do this.

Why not you?


14 responses to “The Future of Local TV News?

  1. wait for it……….. (insert crickets chirping sound effect)

    You hear that? Absolute silence from the Solo VJ detractors.

    Seems as though the more this wave builds up speed, the less the b-roll types have to say to the contrary. I respect what they have been capable of in the past but this is a radical paradigm shift and one that has been needed for some time.

    And this shift should be embraced without hesitation. It is the future, whether the detractors want to believe it or not.

    Glad to see you on this side of the country, Michael šŸ™‚

  2. Poor Cliff, still unemployed with all those great VJ jobs available. Why is that? Don’t want to move? Not enough money offered to make you want to move? Other “priorities” that, gosh shucks, just don’t let you be a part of this great shift? I’m waiting to hear the excuses because that’s all you’ve got. It sure isn’t a job being a full time VJ anywhere.

    One man bands have been in local TV news forever. That’s why these few stations don’t get much comment from many of us who work at other stations. One man bands, VJs, have always and will always be around. Especially in the smaller markets.

    I remember all the hoopla when WKRN went VJ. Now? There are crickets there too! Not a peep! Especially from some who were so proud before.

    Some people go for the VJ job. Others don’t, like me, and still get employed. Work where you like Cliff, but I suggest some day, somewhere, you actually do work. Unless your skills just aren’t up to snuff yet.

  3. Min!-Me, must get old being wrong all the time.

    ! posted it eloquently here

  4. Pingback: Show me the money

  5. Just like I thought. You’re still unemployed.

    Enjoy your hobby!

  6. Min!-Me, you still seem to think that I or anyone else here sees your remarks as being important – yet again, you’re mistaken in that assumption.

  7. Having fun with you Cliff! It helps you fill all that empty, un-paid time you have while you pursue your hobby.

  8. your posts make you sound like a mean-spirited moron. Are you Dick Cheney?

  9. Nice one Peter. šŸ˜€

  10. I want to know different between tv news broadcasting and internet news casting.

  11. The difference is vested very much in the technology (see DNA piece). Local TV news is broadcast, hence it is linear and given at one time only. The stories have to be short, to keep with people’s attention spans, and the shows have to ‘rate’, so they emphasize murder, fire, car crash, etc.. Internet news is nonlinear, that is, you can see it in the order you want, it is also always there, so you can watch when you want… and as it is always there and always available and you can bounce around, the stories can be longer and on different topics. Lots of them. It is very different indeed – when it is done to reflect what the technology can do best.

  12. Pingback: shooting by numbers » Videojournalism » Show me the money

  13. I just posted on local news being overly interested in people watching them (than providing news), esp. in their use of teasers, so think we could do better in getting local news out.

  14. Interesting read, thank you for sharing. I just thought iā€™d share this youtube video on watching tv channels online-

    Again, thank you, and I look forward to more posts from you!!

    happy holidays!!

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