Sunday, June 21, 2009

Live, Local, Low-Cost

(From The Record-Journal -- By Jesse Buchanan)

BILL and KARIN SCHWANBECK, former television news reporters, are all too familiar with this criticism as former television news reporters.

In the fall of 2007 they finished a documentary called DEADLINES AND DOLLARS in which they attempted to explain why television news tends to focus on crime and accidents.

"There's a reason all that takes place," said Karin Schwanbeck. "It's for profit and efficiency. Crime and accidents are cheaper."

The documentary won a regional Emmy nomination from the Boston-New England Chapter of THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF TELEVISION ARTS AND SCIENCES last month and is up for a regional Emmy.

Television news departments have increased their news volume but not their news staffs, according to Karin Schwanbeck.

In the face of declining profit margins, news departments have cut staff and increased the volume of daily stories required from remaining reporters.

Crime and accident stories are quick to shoot and official press releases help speed script writing, Karin Schwanbeck said.

Reliance on these easier stories comes at the expense of investigative pieces, which take more time and staff.

The Schwanbeck's DEADLINES AND DOLLARS documentary can be viewed online here.

Live, Local, Low-Cost

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