SPEAKING OF NEWSPAPERS: Journalism goes deeper than TV promos, weird studio storiesThirty-five years. Twenty-eight years. Thirty six years. That’s the message in new promotional commercials being aired by KBJR-TV in obvious reaction to WDIO’s similar yarn heralding Denny Anderson’s longevity.
By: Ron Brochu, The Daily Telegram
Thirty-five years. Twenty-eight years. Thirty six years. That’s the message in new promotional commercials being aired by KBJR-TV in obvious reaction to WDIO’s similar yarn heralding Denny Anderson’s longevity.
Denny says he was in the business when Elizabeth Congdon was killed and when the Fitz went down. KBJR isn’t touting specific stories their tenured employees have covered, but they’ve launched new promos musing about odd events that have happened in their studios, for whatever that’s worth. The message: These old salts have weathered the storm; they can be trusted like your favorite old screwdriver.
It makes for interesting advertising. But does it add up to tough, accurate journalism?
Let’s concede that Anderson is the grand old dad of local journalism. He has longevity plus a great delivery style. It’s been decades, however, since he regularly pounded the streets reporting stories. For years, his days were divided between the mortuary business and rip-and-read TV duties at 6 and 10 p.m. Being news anchor is not the same as being news director.
By parroting their own longevity, KBJR personalities hope to be viewed in the same light as their robust-sounding colleague on the hill. Anyone who swallows that sales pitch should call me later. I’m selling a pristine ‘65 Impala that gets 45 miles per gallon. Only driven to and from Mass by a Benedictine nun.
While it can be argued that experience is a great asset, it’s not the only one. Having worked the biz since 1974, rubbing elbows with everyone from reporting interns to tenured editors. I’ve seen excellence on both ends of the spectrum, and in the middle.
Among long-time reporters, I’d challenge anyone in the Twin Ports to produce stories to rival those once written by Dick Pomeroy. Now retired, he epitomized experience without advertising it. But young reporters such as Anna Kurth and Emily Kram, who collectively have four years of newspaper experience, produce education, sports and outdoors stories that outshine anything on TV, in my opinion. And our “tweeners” — Shelley Nelson, Ken Olson, Merilee Reinke and Maria Lockwood — whose journalism experience ranges from nine-15 years apiece, regularly produce meaningful, accurate stories, and they do it first.
So did I ever tell you about the time former Telegram Sports Editor Stan May lit his trash can on fire? Or the week former State Editor Carl Knutson wore a surgical mask to protest newsroom smoking?
Nope. It’s not relevant.
We know what we have in our newsroom, and we’re confident our readers do also.