TVNewsCheck takes a look at the relationship between national networks and their affiliates during breaking news situations and find that networks are increasingly looking to local stations for regional expertise:
Al Prieto, VP of ABC NewsOne, the network’s affiliate news service, says it’s an important alliance to nurture. “We know a lot, but the local stations are on the ground; they are covering their cities,” he says. “When the value of that relationship kicks in, it pays off.”
Despite the mutual benefits, cooperation has not always been a given.
“It used to be that networks would sort of parachute into our backyards and we wouldn’t even know they were there,” says Mike St. Peter, the news director at NBC-owned WVIT Hartford-New Haven, Conn. (DMA 30), which won a Peabody for its coverage of the Newtown shootings late last year.
“The networks didn’t always let the local stations know what they were doing and they didn’t seem to care what we were doing,” he says.
But such attitudes seem to be fading. “I think the networks are respecting and acknowledging that there is value to the folks who are in the field, who have that local knowledge,” says Lana Durban Scott, Scripps’ director of news strategy and operations.