Former NBC News and CBS News correspondent Ed Rabel is not happy with the state of local news, he writes in a Charleston Gazette op-ed. Rabel argues that there is little reason to watch “so-called” local newscasts, calling them “a colossal waste of time”:
[h/t Jim Romenesko]
Instead of focusing on original reporting, the local stations are focused on cosmetics. Not a country for old men and women, the local television “news” landscape is populated by bubble-heads and glib, young, sometimes pretty know-nothings. The truth is, they wouldn’t know a news story if it slapped them in the face. When was the last time you saw an investigative piece about, let’s see, the Massey Mine disaster? Or, how about, God forbid, an exclusive story that penetrated the precincts where politicians hide their secrets from the public?
There are reasons you don’t get the news on local TV. Station owners and managers forbid their news departments from stepping on toes and ruffling feathers, out of fear that such stories might insult local advertisers or offend politicians on whose toes reporters might stomp. And investigative or original reporting is costly, meaning real reporters must be hired to do real reporting, a job that requires lots of time and money that the stations have no time for. Instead, I remember one Huntington TV station leading its newscast last December with the astonishing news that Christmas tree sales were on the rise. Hold the presses!