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Monday Morning Notebook: WKYC/WOIO Sharing Video, Sam Donaldson Retiring

By admin Published: February 16, 2009

Sam Donaldson is retiring. Since Jake Tapper is reportedly positioning himself as the new Donaldson or David Gregory, I guess the original Donaldson felt his legacy was established. I crossed paths with Sam a time or two, and can't say I was a fan. He and Cokie Roberts came to Akron in 1998 to host a discussion of media issues and the result, I said at the time, was "spongy." But here's a little Donaldson vignette from the story I wrote at the time:

A general question about the portrayal of African-Americans prompted Donaldson to talk about a specific story ABC had done on welfare -- and whether a tape showing mainly African-Americans at a welfare office should have been used with the story.
That was a springboard to a lot of other issues, including why a discussion of African-Americans brought welfare to Donaldson's mind. The audience was engaged, and apparently in some cases angered, by Donaldson's remarks.

I am sure Donaldson was glad to have stirred things up. But why DID welfare come to his mind?

Consolidation of media resources -- such as the news-sharing among Ohio newspapers -- is becoming ever more common, and locally WOIO/WUAB and WKYC are continuing the trend with a video-pooling plan. Here's a piece of their joint announcmenet:

WKYC Channel 3 and WOIO Channel 19 are launching a video-sharing arrangement throughout the Cleveland area. This pooling of resources will allow both stations to cover more stories. Videographers from either station will cover basic events of mutual interest including news conferences, court hearings, groundbreaking ceremonies, and other pre-planned public events.

“This new collaboration will allow both stations to shift more resources towards enterprise stories that support our individual style of news gathering,” said Brooke Spectorsky, President and General Manager of WKYC, Cleveland’s NBC Affiliate.

“We, like all businesses, are looking for ways to be more efficient without compromising the fine work being done by our reporters and anchors,” comments WOIO/WUAB CBS 19 Vice President and General Manager Bill Applegate.

“There are often multiple videographers getting the same shots and the same sound from the exact same location. By sharing that basic footage, both stations will have more resources to gather unique content,” added Rita Andolsen, News Director at WKYC.

“This is a win-win situation. Viewers at both stations will get more stories, but each newsroom still keeps the editorial independence to write and report those stories in its own way,” 19 Action News Director Dan Salamone comments. (end announcement)

The stations promise that this will increase local news coverage, which seems a bit disingenuous. It's more of a way of protecting the current quantity of local news while dealing with the staff cuts affecting all news media.

And it should be clear that this does not mean the two stations will present the same story. As Salamone says, each station will "write and report those stories in its own way." And I am sure there will be contrasting styles in the presentation.

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