Scharfenberg Investigates the Decline of TV News in RI

Veteran Cranston reporter David Scharfenberg (as one of the newer hires he got downsized from the Projo when they went thin) tells the story of how Jim Taricani and other investigative reporters for TV news are being expected to do more with less. From the Providence Phoenix:

There has been plenty of hand-wringing, in these parts, over the decline of the local broadsheet. The Providence Journal is the paper of record, after all, the agenda setter. And the agenda is decidedly thinner these days.

But that other mainstay of Rhode Island news — the local television station — is taking a beating, too.

The three major local newscasts – at WJAR (Channel 10), WPRI (Channel 12) and WLNE (ABC6) — have shed dozens of jobs in recent months. Live, on-scene reporting is in decline. Investigative work has taken a hit. And it could get worse. Quickly.

Television advertising revenue, in free-fall across the country as the auto industry cuts back on marketing outlays, is dropping at twice the national average here as Rhode Island continues its headline-grabbing economic implosion. [full text]

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7 responses

  1. my friend’s son is a graduate in journalism. as the traditional news outlets cut back, the appetite for information increases. i think that soon the need for trained, accountable journalists (not to disparage us bloggers) will only increase.

  2. joe bernstein | Reply

    I have a friend who is a journalist for a major newspaper(a liberal paper)and he told me that at least in the case of his employer,the problems started with overextended investments and failure to watch steadily increasing costs rather than anything in the “blogosphere”.

  3. “Liberal paper.”

    Snort!!!

    Joe, there you go, parroting the Rush Limbaugh position on the MSM. I thought you had “no use” for Rush.

    If the newspapers are so liberal, why didn’t they object to the Iraq Invasion? Why did they repeat Palin and McCain’s lies uncontested in the last election? Why aren’t they telling us why the movement to scuttle the public option is a blatant sell-out to the insurance companies?

    Saying it doesn’t make it so. You can repeat “liberal” paper all you want, but that doesn’t make it true.

    Now, go ahead, bluster on about how I’m a nitwit, or whatever else you’re going to call me. Throw out some rhetoric about how I don’t know which one’s my elbow. IOW, do everything except present evidence to support your claim or contention.

    The thing is, the Liberal Media myth is founded on the fact that most reporters lean left. Perhaps true. But it completely–and deliberatel–the fact that it’s the editors that determine what gets in, how it’s presented, how much space….

    And editors are employees of large–very large–corporations. And we all know that large corporations are bastions of liberalism.

  4. Suzanne Arena | Reply

    This was an interesting piece for those of us whom know not too much on the subject. David seemed to show more freedom to explore ~ that’s the nice part about the Phoenix vs. Projo.

  5. joe bernstein | Reply

    Klaus-You are a joke.My friend describes his paper as liberal.It’s the LA Times if you really have to know.Not exactly the Washington Times.This guy himself is fairly liberal,but in his line of journalism that doesn’t have much to do with his work product.
    I like the way you always try to put someone you disagree with on the defensive-expecting them to explain themselves.It’s the condescending attitude rather than any position you take that has me taking an attitude with you.
    I haven’t asked you if you sit at the knee(figuratively) of Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow to get your ideas- Iassume you develope your own opinions-so do I.
    I listen to Helen Glover,Buddy Cianci,and Matt Allen-occasionally Dan Yorke.
    I like to hear what my neighbors think of national,local,and world issues.
    Buddy Cianci is hardly conservative-he’s not liberal either-he’s an old school politician with the positives and negatives that go with the territory.
    I think the newspaper world is split between liberal and conservative and always has been.
    I think the three major networks are liberal.
    Fox is conservative,MSNBC liberal,and I can never be sure about CNN one way or the other.
    Much of the slanted content in papers appears in columns,which editors don’t get to screw with much if at all.

  6. No, Joe. Asking people to explain themselves is not condescending. It’s how you make your point, and make it validly.

    Simply making a bald assertion is presenting an opinion. Making a statement and then providing evidence is making a case.

    Calling a newspaper “liberal” is an opinion.

    Stating that newspapers slant well right of center, and then providing examples of slanted coverage is presenting a case.

    MSNBC has Olberman and Maddow. But it gives Joe Scarborough twice as much time as it gives those two put together. Overall, the balance tips right of center. MSNBC is the shining example conservatives use to “prove” that the media is liberal. However, on balance, it has far more RW airtime than liberal.

    The three major networks are conservative. NBC is the worst. Tim Russert (now deceased), Dick Gregory, Chris Matthews and several others were hired by Jack Welch. They all have places on Nantucket, and they hang (Russert did prior to his demise). That doesn’t strike me as a liberal coterie.

    Matthews–MSNBC again–claims to be a dem, but you would never, ever know it from listening to his program. Again, he was hired by, and is a friend of Jack Welch.

    Obama was on ABC the other night. He was interviewed by Charles Gibson and Diane Sawyer. Neither of them are liberals.

    Look–anyone who’s on network TV is a millionaire, many times over. The sad fact of the matter is that their economic interests align with the overclass. Plus, the people providing the marching orders are corporate execs.

    Bob Schieffer on CBS is a good friend of GWBush. Schieffer’s brother was one of the owners/board members (forget which exactly) with W. They hang together, and have for years. And yet he is allowed to moderate presidential debates as an “objective” journalist.

    Andrea Mitchell of ABC is married to Alan Greenspan.

    So, you still going to contend that the major networks are ‘liberal’?

    That, not me, is the joke.

    Some newspapers present some liberal opinion. But why is William Kristol able to move effortlessly from the NYT to the WaPost? He was terrible–in the sense of dull, predictable–on the times. Why did the WaPo fall all over itself to hire him? It already has Geo Will, Samuelson the “economist” and three other conservative columnists. On the other side is EJ Dionne.

    And so far, about a dozen ex-Bushies have landed jobs with major news outlets.

    Those are my facts. Do you have any?

    Joe, you’re a bright guy, but you swallow so much of the RW stuff whole. Maybe you soured on the Dems back in the 70s, but that was 30+ years ago. The world has changed. The power structure has changed. The media has changed. There are very, very few independent newspapers. There are no independent TV networks. They have all been taken over by corporations, and corporations have a real agenda. And that agenda is to make your life very difficult while making theirs very easy.

  7. joe bernstein | Reply

    I won’t argue the corporate nature of the big media.It’s a fact.That characterization,while accurate,doesn’t lead necessarily to a conservative point of view.
    These people you brought up either can afford higher taxes and expenses(they make enough) or they believe they can avoid the consequences.
    I don’t know how much I soured on the Democrats since I voted for Clinton in 92 because the Bush machine wasn’t my idea of good government.
    Clinton was a disappointment.
    I actually thought highly of Bob Dole.
    Good for him that he still likes to reach for the Viagra att his age.
    Who is a liberal in your estimation?Paul Krugman,Frank Rich,Katrina Vandenheuvel?None of them,I assure you are selling pencils on streetcorners.
    I don’t know any really wealthy people and have never had a burning desire to be one.Money is a necessity for me like everyone else,but I put other things ahead of it.
    If Obama’s cap and trade is going to make my obligations to members of my family hard to manage,then I will oppose it.If this bill punishes the big utilities,guess what?It(I needn’t elaborate)always rolls downhill.
    I don’t see how you can believe Obama is such a potential panacea,when,having spent enough time in Chicago,I am aware of the crooked system he had to make accomodations with to get ahead.Chicago is a lot worse than RI.
    Everyone who makes major public policy decisions in this country is loaded financially.
    I don’t see any Vaclav Havels coming along.
    He,by the way is an example of a leader I respect a great deal.He made a fair deal with Meciar of Slovakia and avoided a potential bloodbath.
    I think this discussion started about journalism.
    The health care issue is something I don’t understand well enough to have an intelligent opinion.I use the VA,which is no cost(if you are disabled enough as I am),no choice of doctor,and pretty good or not depending on where you are located.This aprt of the country has top notch facilities and personnel.
    Wading through the morass of Medicare and secondary insurance recently because of my mom’s long recovery from an injury is confusing to say the least-sometimes I don’t know for sure what I am paying for,so I have to call and ask.What fun.
    I know you love to slam the Bush people,but how can you stomach the money grubbing of Schumer,Pelosi,Reid,Reed,Dodd(the champ),etc?
    Being a whore for money is no prerogative of Republicans or conservatives.
    I will tell you this about Limbaugh-I listened to him many years ago,around the time of the first Gulf War,and he was funny-he had a good sense of humor,sometimes not even related to politics.After Clinton was elected,he became a boring one note song and I quit bothering with him.

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