Ain’t It Great?

No, it ain’t.

Despite all the high-fiving you see coming out of the promo department and station management, cranking up the assembly line at the news sausage factory doesn’t come as good news to the staff at KING5. KING 5 Logo

Since they have to keep their feelings to themselves, I will perform the near miracle of reading their minds for you and reporting back in this blog.

There are 90 more minutes to fill.

Oh, I know, nobody watches multiple newscasts – and content can be re-purposed. But I also know that staff will be pushed to create new angles for each newscast, to hold back sound for another version of the report and to do multiple versions of the same thing for other dayparts so it’s “fresh.”

See, no show producer, or day part EP wants to re-purpose somebody else’s sausage. It’s not how you make your bones in TV news.

So, management will tell the staff on one hand that their research shows people don’t sit down to watch a given newscast at a given time – but at the same time on the other hand, will deliberately miss the incongruity of asking staff produce the content in such a way as to pretend that yes, people sit down to watch all their newscasts at a given time – and that running the same bite, or the same pictures – or the same anything – is verboten… which means the kettle pressure in sausage plant on Dexter is going to peg the needle towards “aaaaahhhhhh!”

So now, you roll into a story – overshoot for no real reason other than to service multiple “fresh” versions of the story, keep some secret sound bites in your back pocket to spoof your producer into thinking you have something “new” – and then knock out an “as live” so you can move on to the next assignment – that oh by the way – really should be debuted at 2:39pm on the web instead of polishing it for the 5pm on the air.

The station is promoting “more” because more is better right?


Well – here’s another news flash. What KING is really doing is firing a pre-emptive shot over Sinclair’s bow (KOMO) where the typical modus operandi when they come into the market is to cut costs, crank up the assembly line, and promote “more.”

Pure genius. Let’s own “more.”

So you tell me: Is it a race to the top? Or, a race to the bottom.

Believe me, this is an early sign of the many, many changes coming to Seattle television that will have a direct impact on what we have all come to expect here.

The new standard in Seattle TV will increasingly focus on “story count,” cranking out lots of “as-lives”, “anchor packages,” “digital journalists” (one-man bands) and all kinds of other sausage-making tricks to keep the volume of production up.

Tricks by the way that this market has been able to avoid a little more than others thanks to our tradition of excellence, good ownership and the fact it’s a long plane trip for corporate suits and consultants to our little high quality corner of the world.

I know KING’s JAWAT (journalism any where any time) is probably inevitable, but staffers can feed Twitter, Facebook and the web pretty quickly. Doing JAWAT on air is going to have a much larger, and more profound impact.

You had to hear it from somebody – I guess it might as well be me since I know staff and those members of the non-Kool-Aid-drinking management team are prevented from chiming-in.

So see the hype, thrill to the grand pronouncements about “more,” but also know that at the same time something is dying, no matter what the corporate marketing machine or the management team is saying publicly.