Lost Professionalism in Local News?




Image by Paul Kiser

Local news just bloggers with big cameras?

This week the Reno, Nevada NBC affiliate, KRNV, ran a lead story that was blatantly biased (See article.) The story was meant to stir up anger against the government. More significantly, the story was not by a local news reporter, nor a seasoned professional, but a ‘National Correspondent’ with a very questionable resume.

Local news stations are under  severe financial pressure. Once, the local television station was the 800-pound gorilla in the communication market and could demand the largest fees for advertising. Local stations had a team of reporters eager to go after a story and get the scoop before their competitors.

Today, even national news teams struggle to get the news before it becomes common knowledge on social media. Local stations lost their status as primary sources of information and that has led advertisers to seek other ways to reach the public. As advertising revenue has collapsed, local stations have shredded their news teams and moved away from costly investigative reporting.

To fill the gap, local news stations have resorted to news services and national stories provided by their parent organizations. This has pushed local news aside for commercialized news that is created, packaged, and sold to local stations.

In the case of KRNV, the story lead story was produced by Kristine Frazao, a young reporter who specializes in anti-government stories. Almost all of her national reporting experience with an American version of Russia’s Pravda news organization. She lacks the professionalism of a journalist, and seeks to incite her audience, rather than offer insightful information.

It is left to us to recognize nonprofessionals as local stations have sacrificed good reporting for desperation.