Former Philadelphia anchor Larry Mendte has penned a column in the April edition of Philadelphia magazine about the “desperate” state of local news in the city. Mendte, currently a commentator at WPIX in New York City, was fired from KYW in 2008 after a highly-publicized tryst with co-anchor Alycia Lane. He writes:
The world has changed, and TV news hasn’t. Anchors sit at a desk at a designated time, tossing to reporters at the scene of the story you already read about that morning. The weatherperson talks forever in front of a map; the sports anchor shows you 10 seconds of highlights from three games. As it was in the ’70s, so it is now. My kids and their friends from elementary school could do a similar newscast with Flip cams, Skype, a green screen and video from YouTube, and it would be a heck of a lot more interesting.
Local news has to start not only changing with the times, but catching up with the times. We already have the information; tell us what it means. Give us reaction, perspective and expert analysis. To pull it off, quite frankly, they need smarter people. They need to stop hiring anchors who look the part but don’t understand or even care about the news they’re reading from the teleprompter.
I still love local news. I just hate to see it let itself go like this.