Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Meanwhile, in TV land

Newspaper layoffs here and most places continue. Major financial problems and the first (Tribune Co.) of what may be more bankruptcies has been declared.

But it's not just newspapers suffering in this changing media and economic climate. Broadcasters are similarly in tough straits. One example jumped out at me this morning when I read that WNYT-TV (Channel 13 Albany) has cut a number of positions, including popular anchor Lydia Kulbida.

How popular? Not only is the Channel 13 news top-rated in the Capital District, Kulbida routinely places first among area TV types in the Times Union's annual reader polls. (And having worked with Kulbida on WAMC, I can attest to her journalistic and broadcasting chops.) Yet her contract won't be renewed and she'll no doubt be replaced by lower-priced, less experienced talent.

When will the figurative blood-letting end? I wish I could tell you. But it's as bad as I've ever seen it in four decades on the job.

The fate of the media business may not mean a hill of beans to people who have their own personal financial issues, and that's understandable. But I'm here to tell you that there are negative consequences for a democracy when its newspapers and TV and radio stations don't have the wherewithal to put enough reporters' feet on the street.
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