Monday, April 08, 2013

Former Little Rock Anchor: Little Rock TV News Sucks

Former KARK Anchor Ron Gardner was recently in town and spent some time watching the local news scene and he isn't impressed with what he saw.  Gardner posted his recent observation on his facebook page:

..so now I've been spending some time in Little Rock and watching the local news programs in this capital city. Guess what? It sucks. The coverage of the recent oil pipeline leak just outside Little Rock is a classic example. What the local broadcasters have done, for the most part, is use statements from the EXXON spokesperson and in one case, an attempt to determine whether Sen. Jason Rapert and some others are totally in the pockets of big oil companies, simply let Rapert totally off the hook with a story under a headline saying the Senator had "cleared the air" about a Bill some people thought gave pipelines the power to claim a person's private land using the power of eminent domain. The Bill clearly says exactly that. It was exactly that. And not only pipelines, but pretty much ANY utility company. However, Senator Rapert told the tv photographer that it didn't say that.. so.. he "cleared the air." End of story. !!! Jesus Christ. Everybody involved in putting that sort of shit on the air should be fired.. from the News Director to the Producer, the Anchor who let that shit go into his show the way it did and the Assignment Editor, if one was involved, who sent that photographer out to get that statement with giving him/her a copy of HB1042 and pointing out the language they wanted the Senator to comment on. I suspect Sen. Rapert is more than smart enough to know that the kids playing reporter on local tv have no freakin idea what the Bill says and are not going to take the time to educate themselves about the subject "before" they broadcast their stories.
 

Now comes their comedian-turned-news anchor.. and a great guy.. a former friend of mine named Craig O'Neill who apparently does what they laughingly call "commentaries" on "issues." If you read the little commentary I've linked to here, I hope you'll realize what a joke it is. It points out that the ruptured pipeline is old. For a pipeline, it's really old. And that its a sign we need to improve our infrastructure. Period. It isn't a scathing indictment of politicans owned by oil companies who seem to find ways around regular inspections, etc. None of that. Just an observation that our infrastructure is old.

Now what cracks me up is that people who are loyal viewers of Craigs' "news" program will sing high praises of this meaningless observation as if it were a Bill Moyers indictment of ALEX. (look it up) It's shameful, disgusting and depressing and bodes ill for the future of our country when the local media does such a piss poor job of educating the people about issues, who their politicians are, what is happening behind the closed doors in the capital building, etc. etc. etc.
 

Instead they read emails from viewers or show us pics from Mable of the pretty flowers that are blooming on her porch.

56 Comments:

At 1:42 PM, April 08, 2013, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So he finally realized THV sux? Wow, thanks for the insight. We had no idea.

 
At 2:02 PM, April 08, 2013, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Unless we can get Woodward & Bernstein to find an anonymous Exxon deep-throat, this is all the news we are going to get.

The good ole boy system is alive & well in Arkansas.

 
At 2:43 PM, April 08, 2013, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A reflection on Little Rock TV news or THV?

 
At 3:04 PM, April 08, 2013, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Note he didn't directly take the now KARK/KARZ/KLRT/KASN/Taco Bell/Pizza Hut/KFC to task.

Mostly aimed at Craig, his "former" friend. Sour grapes?

 
At 3:06 PM, April 08, 2013, Anonymous Anonymous said...

And think about it. That's just what he sees on air.

 
At 3:37 PM, April 08, 2013, Anonymous Anonymous said...

HAHAHAHAHAHA! Investigative reporting? That requires EFFORT! "Ain't nobody got time for that!"

Besides, have you seen what these stations are paying people? They don't want their reporters/anchors investigating anything anyway. May lose revenue because car dealers association will call up and threaten to pull ads. Remember auto manufacturer's bailout? That threat happened at KATV because some pantywaist got his shiznit in a twist all because he thought he heard Melinda say something bad about car sales or some crap like that. Next thing you know there is a mandate in the newsroom that all stories regarding automobiles must be cleared by sales/management before airing.

Dude brings up great point about grilling elected officials about language of bill and who funds their campaigns. Sure signs of what their faithful citizens can expect from them when it comes time to take Exxon (or any other corporation who harms an Arkansan) to task.

Hey, at least there will be some great contests and giveaways coming up next month to distract the viewers from anything important happening in THEIR STATE.

 
At 5:54 PM, April 08, 2013, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why not just go back to where you came from Ron....NOTE: He was visiting and a FORMER news anchor. WHO CARES about his opinion?

 
At 6:01 PM, April 08, 2013, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dang 5:54, sounds like he gave you the hot beef injection and you are still bitter...ORRRR he DIDN'T give you the hot beef injection and you are still bitter, either way your commentary does nothing to the larger issue of the lack of real journalism occurring in LR market.

What are YOUR thoughts on that subject? With or without the beef :)

 
At 6:25 PM, April 08, 2013, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Local TV news sucks in ***blank** town, USA. When the priority of a news operation is to generate revenue, it no longer journalism. It is a business.

Local TV news started becoming a business--BIG business--with the heavy de-regs that started in the early 80's. These changes made the industry very appealing to mega-corps. So began an "arms race" of station ownership across the country. Good-bye Mom & Pops!

As these publicly traded companies grew, so did their insane efforts to increase profitability for Wall Street year after mo-fu year. Shaving salaries--and positions--to look more financially successful to investors. These financial cuts have now made the local news product look like a really good college station's product: Inexpensive young people, with plenty of enthusiasm but zero experience, running around to "put on show" with limited resources.

Local TV news, like the newspaper business, is headed to waste bin of history. The quality has long since passed, and anyone with children that are becoming the next generation of 18-49 & 25-54 consumers will tell you, their children do not watch local TV, especially the news. If they want to know something, they find out about it on their phones right at that moment--they are not waiting for the nightly news (and no, TV station, they are not using your after-thought of a news app--they don't even know you exist for that.) And that especially includes finding out about the weather--which was been the top "bait" for local ratings since the beginning of the biz. "I wonder if it will be raining tomorrow? I guess I'll just wait until somebody tells me at 10pm!"

Local TV news looks the way it is now because it is dying and the publicly traded companies holding TV stations as assests are doing their best to keep "grand pappy" alive with minimum care/investment. The feeding tube is being filled with Soylent Green as the Big Corps maximize their shekel return.

Stay classy, local broadcast TV industry!

 
At 6:29 PM, April 08, 2013, Blogger Daniel Lilly said...

Nailed it. Incident occured Fri. @2pm. It was 75 hours and prodding from ppl. like me later, that the 1st aerial shots from a helo were taken by KARK/KLRT. Then the TFR "no fly zone", another 72 hours pass and another helo shot..giving ExxonMobil a week's head start on their minimization PR campaign. Agree THV dropped the ball on HB1042 headline, one must READ the bill-att'd directly under (R)State Senator Rapert's bald faced lie on camera. Fox16's Caroline Wightman being banned from the Mobile Command Center BY EXXON because, "there's no parking for our newsvan". Out of STATE "protesters" who don't know where they are, able to find, interview, and record multiple residents DIRECTLY affected by this man-made catastrophe. Cong. Griffin's softball interview w/Matt Mosler on KARK Today at 0650..FIRST thing he said was, "I asked them (ExxonMobil) if there was anything they'd been requested to do that they said NO to..." and Mosler let him slide..BUT did engage him in a "it's JUST crude", "but it's this heavy crude with things added", "Nope, it's just crude" back and forth game of semantics...which was enjoyable. DEADLY to ppl. w/arsenic in their foundations, but good TV. The Fourth Estate is asleep at the wheel while this John Grisham-inspired novel plays out in front of our collective eyes. Where's Jimmy Olsen? Lois Lane? Lou Grant? Woodward's NEPHEW? Bernstein's NEIGHBOR? ANY of 'em could do better by the people of Arkansas in this.

 
At 6:44 PM, April 08, 2013, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm glad he didn't slam KARK/KARZ/KLRT/KASN/Taco Bell/Pizza Hut/KFC because after all...some people like Taco Bell/Pizza Hut/KFC...not to mention they probably pay better and treat their employees better.

 
At 6:45 PM, April 08, 2013, Anonymous Anonymous said...

And by the way it's ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council) not ALEX.

 
At 7:13 PM, April 08, 2013, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, Ron has this market nailed dead to rights. What passes for a newscast here is a fucking joke.

 
At 7:16 PM, April 08, 2013, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ron Gardner was terrible when he worked in this market and judging by the way he writes here, he still is.

- The word "bill" is not capitlaized.

- Puncutation is a nice thing. Find some. Your sentences are way too long.

- I challenge you to provide any proof whatsoever that anyone is in the "pockets of big oil." What the hell does that even mean? Exxon doesn't make campaign contributions at the state level. How is Jason Rapert, or anyone for that matter, "in their pockets?"

- Utilities in Arkansas already have the right of eminent domain - look it up.

- Maybe your blanket call for firing everyone from the news director on down is the reason you ain't in this business anymore?

I do agree with you however that Little Rock news sucks.



 
At 7:21 PM, April 08, 2013, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Excellent analysis of the lip-synching that passes for TV journalism in the local market. Craig should have done a better research job and had the facts to make a decent report.

I suspect that the corporate powers have the TV bosses dangling from their puppet strings when it comes to the power of the advertising dollar at the station.

 
At 7:23 PM, April 08, 2013, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anyone who thinks Exxon does make political contributions at the local level don't know what the hell they are talking about.

You should at least look at the contribution records of all energy-related PACs and trade association before making such an obvious bone-headed statement.

 
At 7:48 PM, April 08, 2013, Anonymous Anonymous said...

7:16, you obviously weren't alive when Ron was an anchor at KARK. He was outstanding. The only reason he was the #2 anchor there is because he was behind the best anchor to ever sit in the chair in the state of Arkansas for ANY station. Ron would have been the number #1 anchor every year he was there if Roy Mitchell had become a CPA instead of a newsman.

So, with the opening sentence of your comment, you completely discredit anything you have to say, due to your idiocy.

 
At 8:04 PM, April 08, 2013, Anonymous Ron Gardner said...

Well, glad to see my little rant getting so much attention. I know it would be easy to see it as being specific to Little Rock or KTHV and that was not the intent. It is intended as a blanket criticism of local tv news across the land. It's a shame that so many people lack the nerve to put their names on their comments though. I especially liked the criticism of my improper use of punctuation and long sentences. Ha. I'm writing for my Facebook friends, not for the Washington Post. Chill out. Sour grapes against Craig? Certainly not. I loved him when I lived here in the 70's and 80's and listened to his hilarious antics on the radio all the time. He was, and I'm sure still is a funny guy. Somebody slammed me for mentioning him and insisted he was a great journalist. No he is not. He is a funny guy with a great following in this market and he is doing the job of reading the teleprompter fairly well. I get the impression they use some sort of remote control to move the 'prompter these days because all the anchors seem to stumble around a lot and that would be the most obvious reason. The bottom line is that audiences across the country are being poorly served by their local media. That is how idiots get elected to office. It's how poorly conceived laws get passed and nobody knows about them until its too late. Unfortunately it is not going to change. Certainly not because of anything I have said or will say. We'll continue to get pleas from the "news" people to send them our texts, tweets and photos of our pets while the legislators look for new ways to service their financial contributors. We get exactly what we deserve, don't we? Thanks for reading and commenting.

 
At 8:12 PM, April 08, 2013, Anonymous Ron Gardner said...

Oh and by the way, to the idiot who thinks state legislators don't benefit from big oil contributions to their campaigns, use your computer to research campaign finances. For Mr. Rapert you'll see that he got $17,825 from energy & natural resources industries and that oil & gas gave him $15,250 dollars. The checks may not say EXXON on them, but I'd be willing to bet some of those dollars could be traced back to any oil company with an interest in the Arkansas Legislature.

 
At 8:44 PM, April 08, 2013, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remember Ron when he was at 4 in the #2 spot behind Roy Mitchell. He was a well respected anchor and reporter at the time. It's refreshing to read him call what passes for television news journalism a sham. In the following two posts from him, he does more to report than all three local stations did during their hours or programming today. One - if you were truly a news reporter you would read his comments and strive to do better than what you are doing now and stand for higher standards in your profession right here in little ole' Little Rock. Two - you would chase down a legitimate news story and determine if the information Mr.
Gardner presents about Mr. Rapert and others is true. If it is true, you have a job to do. Now get to work!

 
At 9:09 PM, April 08, 2013, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Seems that Craig O'Neil can not analyze the problem at Mayflower.
The problem is the toxic, cancer causing tar sands oil that was sent to us. We don't need new
pipelines. Let's keep the old ones and... STOP Moving chemical laden tar sands oil through our state. Dismantle the pipelines. JUST SAY NO to EXXON/Mobile. Craig can go and play elevator music.

 
At 10:27 PM, April 08, 2013, Blogger Daniel Lilly said...

I'm QUITE proud to sign my name to every post, Mr. Gardner. Especially in light of the fact that your dead-on-balls analysis makes so many "anonymous" nameless, spineless, gutless, low-information people pipe up with their drivel. You KNOW you're onto something when THAT happens.

 
At 10:43 PM, April 08, 2013, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ron was a great anchor when he was here...and in Washington D. C. and he got it right in his observation.
Little Rock TV news looks like campus news from a local high school.

 
At 7:07 AM, April 09, 2013, Anonymous Anonymous said...

the comments sum up the local media! they do nothing to inform the community in a revealing way. they all seem to have blinders on. No real journalism. the only stories coming out of the local media is police reports and the AP. this all boils down to being owned and told what to report. the only exception is when there is a disaster... don't they love the disasters? then they act like concerned citizens... they will tell about 'the dirty laundry'...

 
At 7:11 AM, April 09, 2013, Anonymous Randy Abner said...

Thank you - I agree on all your points. Local media is a joke.

 
At 7:29 AM, April 09, 2013, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice job Ron!The problem is that the stations run off those with experience to get cheaper anchors, reporters, producers and managers.

 
At 7:31 AM, April 09, 2013, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are a number of reasons local tv news is on the downward spiral: 1) Corporations are slashing budgets to fatten up the bottom line...cutting salaries, laying off staffers, outsourcing, mergers, etc., 2) Most (not all) of the people going into tv news are not serious minded journalists, they want to be "stars" and just want to be on tv, 3) the viewing public (not everyone) only wants to see and hear "news" they like and agree with...they don't want to challenge their assumptions, they want information that confirms what they already believe, 4) journalism standards have been lowered in the age of 24/7 cable news, talk radio and yes, the Internet, 5) good people are getting out of the business because they see no future in it...newspapers are dead, local tv is struggling and failing to stay relevant.
These reasons are not excuses. More people need to step up to the plate and raise the bar but how likely is that to happen?

 
At 7:39 AM, April 09, 2013, Anonymous Anonymous said...

7:29 and 7:31 nailed it.

 
At 10:22 AM, April 09, 2013, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rob Heverling said...

There are many of us who still value journalism as an opportunity to serve our communities, to be a watchdog. But it is harder and harder to do good journalism. Since news departments have become such strong profit centers for their stations newsrooms have become somewhat shackled. Fewer newsroom resources, smaller budgets, and producing more and more hours of news and web content does greatly diminish the ability to consistently have depth in our reporting. There was a time in the 80s and 90s when LR TV News was loaded with smart experienced journalists and enterprise journalism was the norm and not the exception. And what has happened in LR is not unique to broadcast news.

The sales requirements of large broadcast companies have made journalism even more of a business instead of a service. But all is not lost. As long as news departments are profitable we will have jobs in newsrooms. If you cannot stomach the work anymore then get out. While we may not have the resources and newsroom salaries we once had we can still make a difference in the markets we serve. It’s not easy but real journalism is more important than ever before.

Try not to be obsessed with ratings. Use the limited resources you have and be obsessed with being the watchdog of the community you serve. Help unify your newsroom team towards holding the powerful accountable (in government and business). And celebrate the tangible results your NEWSroom gets and celebrate these results over ratings. Maybe there will be a time when our budgets will grow again and more smart committed journalists will actually be able to achieve a middle class life in cities like Little Rock.

 
At 10:29 AM, April 09, 2013, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well the sad state of local TV news in general is a direct result of deregulation allowing multiple station ownership/management by a single corporation. And the decline is everywhere. Talented, ambitious people learn early on that they are unwelcome in the newsroom because such skills and desires won't be supported nor promoted by managers whose sole interest is in keeping costs down and protecting their bonuses.

 
At 10:49 AM, April 09, 2013, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well said Rob Heverling. I miss working with you.

 
At 10:51 AM, April 09, 2013, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Heverling writes: "Try not to be obsessed with ratings."

Can you name one station or ownership group that is not obsessed with ratings? Ratings=advertising rates. Low ratings=fewer viewers=lower ad rates.

Heverling writes: "Use the limited resources you have and be obsessed with being the watchdog of the community you serve."

No matter how obsessed or driven a journalist may be, it's not going to happen if your bosses have no desire to do watchdog reporting?

Heverling: "Help unify your newsroom team towards holding the powerful accountable (in government and business). And celebrate the tangible results your NEWSroom gets and celebrate these results over ratings."

Corporate does not care one iota when it comes to holding the powerful accountable. They may mouth the words and give token lip service to that but they are obsessed with the bottom line.

Heverling: "Maybe there will be a time when our budgets will grow again and more smart committed journalists will actually be able to achieve a middle class life in cities like Little Rock."

When has that ever happened? All the networks have been scaling back and still are. There are no indicators that the powers that be are going to change direction.

Yes, "real journalism is more important than ever before." The business model, however, is not geared toward growing newsroom budgets. Just the opposite.

If real journalism is to survive, let alone thrive, it may have to shift to some sort of non-profit model.

 
At 11:22 AM, April 09, 2013, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rob Heverling said...

A newsroom being obsessed with journalism IS still possible.

I'm no longer in Little Rock and my current newsroom has had budget constraints like all other newsrooms. It's certainly not easy but our company has committed to resources that allow us to do real enterprise journalism.

We've had to make cuts but so far we have the resources to maintain experienced journalists. Just like everyone else we crank out a ton of daily content. But we also are able to give people the time it takes to do real in depth reporting.

Broadcast journalism is NOT dead yet.

And I do care about ratings but it does not supersede my passion for journalism.

And I believe this can still happen in Little Rock.

 
At 11:25 AM, April 09, 2013, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am guessing that Gardner, who certainly doesn't have an agenda or ax to grind (sarcasm intended) could have certainly given us a more objective and fair look at the news (even more sarcasm intended).

 
At 11:27 AM, April 09, 2013, Blogger Daniel Lilly said...

I'm guessing an "anonymous" poster has had their spine removed before typing inflammatory, sarcastic gibberish.

 
At 12:24 PM, April 09, 2013, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We miss you Rob! Your departure left a a great hole which a child is trying to fill.

 
At 1:00 PM, April 09, 2013, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Broadcast journalism is not dead.
That's true.
It is, however, on a downward spiral and all efforts by news managers to change that amount to nothing more than stop-gap measures.

Consider what has been happening over the past five to 10 years:

1. Equity companies masquerading as broadcast companies are gobbling up stations, cutting them to the bone, pocketing the cash and then selling them.

2. Viewership is down and continues to decline as more people choose to get their news/information from social media. No one, save for some of us news junkies, DVRs broadcast news.

3. The era of appointment tv is over and online news groups are not making enough money through web ads/clicks to sustain themselves and must rely upon other income sources.

4. The FCC has no bite behind its bark and so companies such as Nexstar get away with consolidation/duopolies.

5. Even the broadcast companies that are well-managed and serious about news are taking the hits. Case in point, Raycom.

From Broadcasting & Cable in December 2008, the following excerpt from a story about Raycom layoffs:

"According to published reports, 13 staffers at the WOIO/WUAB Cleveland duopoly, 15 at WMC Memphis, 15 at WALB Albany, Ga., seven at WIS Columbia, S.C., and three at WBTV Charlotte, N.C., were laid off. Several on-air personalities were among the casualties, including morning anchor Jeff Eliasoph in Cleveland and Donna Davis in Memphis."

6. A recent Pew report spelled out some troubling trends in local tv news coverage:

"The average story length on local television news decreased substantially over time. In a separate Pew Research Center analysis of local news content from 1998 to 2002, some 31% of the stories were more than a minute long and 42% were under 30 seconds. In 2012, only 20% of the local television stories exceeded a minute while 50% lasted less than 30 seconds."

7. Let's not forget the public's hand in all this. People say they want hard-hitting reporting...until you gore one of their sacred cows. We live in an age where the cornucopia of media choices out there encourages people to watch and read only the things they agree with.

To be sure, journalism in general is not dead but some newspapers are on life support while others are in a hearse en route to the cemetery.

Local tv news is not dead but some stations are on life support while others have one foot in the ER and the other foot on a banana peel.

Being passionate about journalism is commendable. Putting content above ratings is laudable.
Those two qualities, however noble, are not enough to change the economic, demographic and technological realities of the era in which we live.

 
At 7:48 PM, April 09, 2013, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was there in the 80's when Little Rock was a great news town. Three good TV newsrooms, an all news radio station, two newspapers at war...and most importantly, smart reporters camped out at anything that mattered. By the way kids....if you didn't know Ron in his prime you have no idea what you are talking about. He was as talented an anchor as Little Rock has ever seen. He could have gone all the way if things had been a little different. I will say this...it doesn't take corporate funding or blessing to ask a tough question when you are on the ground at an oil spill or a murder or a political crisis. The kids carrying microphones today don't seem to have any context or depth....and I'm not sure that can always be blamed on what they are making.

 
At 8:49 PM, April 09, 2013, Anonymous Anonymous said...

TV news needs to go back to journalism instead of being a pass-through to websites and social media.

 
At 9:28 PM, April 09, 2013, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ron, you are so correct. However, you left out one thing that ALL the stations cover and that is all the fatal car wrecks, house fires, shootings and killings. Reason? Because they are easy. There is not one station in this town that actually goes out and seeks news stories. They send out a reporter with a camera ( I think they call them MMJ. I believe it stands for Mulch-Media-Journalist)and most of the time the face of the talent is clipped out since the reporters (not all, but some) have no idea how to operate a camera, white balance, or set exposure and they haven't learned not to trust "auto". The audio is often distorted since they don't have a clue how to set audio levels. This is today's management's way of saving money. The days when you were here at KARK are gone, my friend. There will never be a news team again in this state as there was when Roy Mitchell, Tom Bonner, Dave Woodman and you and others were on the air at KARK and that is a shame. Glad to hear from you, a true professional from the days that production worked hand-in-hand with news and engineering to bring a quality product to the air. Now, it seems that it's every man/woman for themselves in this business. Take care.

 
At 8:42 AM, April 10, 2013, Anonymous Ron Gardner said...

to the nameless wonder who posted at 11:25am Tuesday, "am guessing that Gardner, who certainly doesn't have an agenda or ax to grind (sarcasm intended) could have certainly given us a more objective and fair look at the news (even more sarcasm intended)."
First, this is not about "Gardner." I certainly have no ax to grind with anyone in this market. Since I left in the mid-80's I have told many people about the amazing Ch 4 newsroom and the talented people who worked there and how we literally owned this market when it came to ratings. It was because we did in fact cover news in a fair and balanced way (what prompts your stupid sarcasm note?) and viewers responded. I loved that newsroom and the period of time I spent there (app 1971 to 83) was the best experience I ever had in broadcasting. I spent several years at WTTG in Washington, DC and it couldn't begin to compare with the quality of news product that was coming from Ch 4 back in the good 'ol days. I came back here for a KARK reunion party in October of last year and it was great to see many good friends. It was so great I decided to come back and stay for a while. I'm still here but will be leaving soon and that makes me a little sad. So shove your sarcastic remarks and contribute to the conversation, if you can. I never intended for anyone but my FB friends to see my little rant, and I have no idea how this website found it, but I'm glad it resulted in some discussion. I have absolutely no faith that it will change anything. GMs decided a long time ago that news depts are an expensive pain in the ass and they should be more like the entertainment shows so they'd be "easier to sell." The key to success is appeal to the lowest common denominator. Thats why crap like Splash, Biggest Loser, Real Housewives, Bachelor, etc. etc... are the most popular shows on the tube. I'm quite proud of the time I spent in tv news (32 yrs) and proud of the way we operated. I'm disgusted by what the money worshippers have done to a once honorable profession. I have the choice not to watch it, and I usually don't except when I need a laugh, therefore I suppose hiring comedians to read the teleprompter and ad lib a little every now and then is a smart thing to do. Its just a terrible disservice to the citizens.

 
At 11:05 AM, April 10, 2013, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ron,

Thanks for the insight. I agree with so much of what you have written. For those of us in the business, it is and should be a wake up call to remind us of what we have been given such a great opportunity to do. It is a delicate dance these days with so much more competition than back in the days that you were in local TV news. I grew up on KARK and it really inspired me to get into the business.

Do you see any positives? Are any of the local stations doing anything worth a hoot? Do you not agree that if we, as broadcast journalist don't change, we will go the way of the Dodo bird and the local statewide newspaper? The next generation of viewers and consumers don't care about getting news from local TV. Yes, I agree, big corporations have killed the hiring of true experienced journalist for the much cheaper one man bands. It's a business. A business to make money. You were fortunate to work somewhere where they cared.

Again, thanks for the insight and the wake up call.

 
At 1:08 PM, April 10, 2013, Blogger Daniel Lilly said...

As a lay person who's dabbled in journalism in JrHS, SrHS, and College, my limited exposure to the 5 "W"'s and "H" is woefully absent in this case...at least for the first 5 days or so. From the acceptance of the ExxonMobil imposed "rules of engagement" re: flyovers, access to the Mobile Command Center (See Fox 16 Karoline Wightman on that one) to the unwillingness of BIG JOURNALISM, i.e. Gannett or NexStar sending in a HORDE of lawyers from HQ to explain the LAW to their own employees AND, apparently, local L.E.O.'s who are confirmed as being paid HUGE sums to keep "ppl like you (media, homeowners, protesters) out of here"

 
At 7:27 PM, April 10, 2013, Blogger Daniel Lilly said...

The initial report after the subpoena'd "paper dump" at 5pm today reports a 2inches by 22 FOOT long gash in the 65 year old pipeline..
http://thecabin.net/news/2013-04-10/arkansas-says-oil-pipeline-gash-22-feet-long#comment-117259

 
At 6:55 AM, April 11, 2013, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You nailed it, Ron. All of the local stations are equally bad, the morning programs in particular. They all rely way too heavily on FB posts and YouTube viral videos. It's painful to watch. Throw in a severe weather situation and the reporters are completely lost. However the weather crews did a nice job.

 
At 7:53 AM, April 13, 2013, Anonymous Perry Boxx said...

I was privileged to work at KARK with Ron during the "golden age" of Little Rock TV. KARK was a blowtorch then. Ron was a commanding anchor and broadcast journalist. The news teams in those days, at all of the stations, were strong, serious mature people who confronted authority and asked tough questions. Anyone who says or thinks anything else either wasn't there or doesn't know what they are talking about.

 
At 10:31 PM, April 13, 2013, Blogger Daniel Lilly said...

Ron...here's the most recent "Craig's Twist" off thv's website....be sure to visit their f/b page to wade through the comments...

 
At 10:32 PM, April 13, 2013, Blogger Daniel Lilly said...

http://www.thv11.com/news/article/259786/2/Craigs-Twist-Who-to-blame-for-ExxonMobil-oil-spill

 
At 6:50 AM, April 17, 2013, Anonymous Steve said...

I realize I am very late to this party, but I have a couple of observations. While I agree with one commenter that kids don't get the news from local TV, I disagree about where they get it. They get it from two places: Social media and "The Daily Show", two well-respected choices for journalism. If you believe otherwise, you don't really know kids very well.

Also, they don't get the weather from their phones. The ones who care get it by asking, "Dad, what's the weather going to be today?" The vast majority of them don't ask. That's why you see people running around freezing in shorts when the weather is clearly going to be cold.

Many people make the mistake of assuming that, since kids have a device in their hands that makes an unlimited amount of information available to them, they really use it for keeping up with things. They don't. It's merely a device for keeping up with their friends and taking cute pictures of what they are eating for dinner.

 
At 8:15 AM, April 17, 2013, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You will never see a broadcast station do a derogatory story on any sponsor no matter what. That is a Sales fact.

 
At 11:05 AM, April 17, 2013, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Disagree with 8:15. Didn't KATV blast Hanke bros? At the same time THV and KARK were running his spots.

 
At 6:12 AM, April 18, 2013, Anonymous andy pearson said...

AMEN, Ron!!

Andy Pearson

 
At 9:03 AM, April 18, 2013, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Andy you were the laziest son of bitch known to man. How can you judge anyone?

 
At 1:20 AM, June 10, 2013, Anonymous The Hamburglar said...

I miss Andy's shit-eating grin on THV. And you are right about kids and smartphones. Most are still clueless with unlimited data at their fingertips. Too bad dad still has to pay that bill too...

 
At 8:28 PM, July 31, 2013, Anonymous Verlene said...

This is cool!

 
At 3:06 PM, August 23, 2013, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If KATV is blasting Hanke Brothers, its because they have some sort of issue with their advertising dollars. One of the most unethical,greedy,incompetent places I have ever worked. Sexual misconduct like it was 1950.A brothel...and all can be bought. Politicians pay 3-5x what normal advertisers pay for air time and preempt everyone else. Mgmt takes commisions away from salespeople and pocket the money.And you wonder why elections are so costly.You have to remember that all of these stations are corporate-owned and will always push corporate propaganda.

 

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