Carol Fowler, a former news director at three Chicago stations, left the television business in January. This week, she was named vice president of editorial at Viewpoints, a consumer-review website. She shares her thoughts on the future of local television with Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder:
The bottom line is television news needs to figure out how to remain relevant. People still want news put in context. They love compelling video. That’s the great part. In the short term, I believe it will take local stations starting to treat their online and mobile news platforms like they are the main business because that’s where the new customers are. Right now, in most stations, much of the staff is only vaguely aware of what content is posted on the station website, let alone on Twitter and Facebook. From staffing to resources to the sales model. Just do it.
I would bet there are news directors out there who would jump at the chance to act like a startup and reinvent instead of fighting every day for a share of a shrinking broadcast pie. The competitive universe is much bigger now than the other stations in your Nielsen market.