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Pew Study: Not Many TV Stations Have Reporters Dedicated to Covering State Politics

PJ-2014-07-10-statehouse-09The Pew Research Center just released a study looking at the coverage of state politics.

According to the study, of the 1,592 statehouse journalists in the US, less than half are full time and 38 percent are print journalists.

Just 14% of the nation’s local television stations with news programs assign a reporter to the statehouse. Overall, television reporters account for 17% of the total statehouse reporting pool, and just 12% of the full-time statehouse reporting corps.

Last September, ABC’s owned stations dissolved its political bureau covering California’s capital for stations in Los Angeles (KABC), San Francisco Bay Area (KGO) and Fresno (KFSN).

Stephen Miskin, spokesman for the Pennsylvania House Republican Caucus and for the speaker and majority leader told researchers, “A lot of people still get their news from TV and they’re not here.”

After Producing in San Diego and Boston, Two Kids and Food Vouchers

In an op-ed published in the Washington Post, former Hartford producer Darlena Cunha describes a career that took her quickly to jobs in San Diego and Boston and a comfortable life with her husband, complete with a $240,000 home and a Mercedes. And then, it all started slipping away. Her husband lost his job, and the market crashed.

“In just two months, we’d gone from making a combined $120,000 a year to making just $25,000 and leeching out funds to a mortgage we couldn’t afford. Our savings dwindled, then disappeared.

So I did what I had to do. I signed up for Medicaid and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children.”

Cunha’s essay, “Picking Up Food Stamps in My Mercedes,” has brought her back to television, appearing Tuesday night on CNN’s CNN Tonight in an interview with Don Lemon. In the interview, Cunha pointed out that the Post headline to her story was incorrect, in that she was not actually receiving “food stamps,” but vouchers through the WIC program, which is a program far easier to qualify for, and which allowed her family to keep that Mercedes: Read more

Whitney Vann Leaving WBRZ

whitney vannWhitney Vann, the morning anchor at WBRZ, is leaving the Baton Rouge ABC affiliate. The New Orleans Times-Picayune has details:

Vann said she holds the title as the longest-running anchor of a news program in Baton Rouge. She has appeared on “2une In” for 17 years. Vann did not offer many details about the new endeavor, but said it would lead to “new and exciting, fun adventures.” Prompted by a co-anchor, Vann also admitted it would lead to at least some programming for other WBRZ shows.

“It has been my honor and privilege and a lot of joy to get your mornings going with news, important information and some laughter along the way,” Vann said during the segment. “But 17 years of getting up in the middle of the night is exhausting. It’s time to get a little more sleep and pack on some challenges I’ve always wanted.”

WPLG Promotes GM to President

wplg_304WPLG has promoted E.R. Bert Medina from VP and GM to president of the station.

The move was announced by the Miami ABC affiliate in a one sentence release

Medina joined WPLG in October 2013 when it was a Post-Newsweek station. It was sold to to Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway in March of this year.

WXIA Ups Chris Holcomb to Chief Meteorologist

Chris Holcomb has been named chief meteorologist for Atlanta NBC affiliate WXIA.

“Chris’s passion and knowledge make him absolutely the best person on earth to lead our team!” said WXIA news director Ellen Crooke in a statement.

Holcomb has worked at WXIA since 1991.

‘Shame on Him,’ Detroit Reporter Ripped by Activist on National TV Over Water Bill Story

Detroit reporter Hank Winchester got on the wrong side of Maureen Taylor, the state chair of the Michigan Welfare Rights Organization, while the two were on MSNBC to talk about Detroit shutting off water to customers who are behind on their bills.

When the reporter for Detroit NBC affiliate WDIV told host Craig Melvin some people simply can’t afford to pay for water while others, “and this is where it gets controversial, who simply don’t want to pay the water bill, who would rather spend money on cable.”

Before answering Melvin’s next question about health concerns, Taylor took some time to say what she thought about what Winchester said. “Before I answer that, let me say shame on Hank. Shame on him…for putting that lie and that misinformation out on the air.” Read more

But Didn’t You Say You Had Breaking News?

Okay, I’ll be the bad guy for a moment. I think it’s time we stopped doing these on-air proposals and hey-look-at-me stunts. Like cupcake stores, we may have reached the limit.

Just last week two very lovely news anchors at KRON in San Francisco, Justine Waldman and Grant Lodes (they’re married) announced they will soon be having a baby. Awesome, guys–congrats! But here’s the thing. We got the great news during, well, the news. After teasing viewers that there was an “exclusive and developing story” coming at the end of the 8 p.m. newscast, the segment opened with a full screen DEVELOPING STORY graphic and stinger. Lodes, KRON’s breaking news anchor, then told viewers “now to a developing story we’ve been following–KRON 4′s Justine Waldman is pregnant.”

Wait, what?

Within seconds, we got to see a “new picture just into the KRON 4 newsroom”–an ultrasound image of the baby due in November. I’m a Dad. And I’m on Facebook. I’ve seen plenty of ultrasounds. But this just made me uncomfortable. Again, I think this is fantastic for Justine and Grant, but here’s the thing: I can’t do this anymore. Read more

On the Morning Shift, How Much Caffeine Is Too Much?

If you’ve ever tried to fall asleep at eight at night so you could be back at work by three a.m., you’ve probably experimented with your body’s tolerance for caffeine. Whether it’s brewed coffee or cans of Coke, your a.m. newsers are always seeming to push that how-much-will-keep-me-awake-and-functioning-without-killing-me envelope. And just this week, WSVN reporter Kevin Ozebek proudly shared his survival regimen in a video post on Facebook:

Viewers were quick to question the wisdom of ingesting hundreds of milligrams of caffeine. But facing a multi-hour block of reporting, anchoring or shooting liveshots, few morning show folks will admit to entirely resisting the urge to stay fully–and often overly–caffeinated. Read more

Dave Rexroth Thanks Viewers For ‘Thoughts, Prayers, and Encouragement’

dave rexrothWXYZ chief meteorologist Dave Rexroth, who is recovering from a fireworks accident over the 4th of July that left him without vision in his left eye, has posted a thank you note to viewers for their well-wishes on Facebook:

“Although the past few days have been challenging, I have been overwhelmed by the love and kind words from not only those closest to me but every single one of you,” says Rexroth. “Over my 14 years in Detroit and southeast Michigan, I’ve been truly blessed with the most caring and supportive viewers, coworkers and friends ever. Your thoughts, prayers, and encouragement are really helping me get through this. Thank you all so much. I look forward to being back on air and being able to thank you directly.”

Rexroth will undergo surgery today, beginning the process of receiving a prosthetic eye, according to WXYZ. He is expected to return in September.

Stephanie Grady Set to Join WITI in Milwaukee

stephanie gradyStephanie Grady is joining Milwaukee Fox affiliate WITI, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel‘s Duane Dudek reports.

WITI news director John LaPorte told Dudek Grady starts in September. She comes from WXXA-WTEN in Albany, where she has worked since 2011. She currently anchors the morning show from 5 to 9 a.m.

Before WXXA-WTEN, Grady worked at WSAZ in Huntington, W.V. and WSEE in Erie, Penn.

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