Media watchdog group FreePress is using the Denver market as an example in a campaign launched this week to highlight “covert consolidation” — a practice they say skirts federal ownership laws by sharing content and original reporting between stations — in the local news market.
FreePress claims “photocopy journalism” is happening in more than 80 markets across the country, greatly reducing the number of independent news sources, to the detriment of viewers. The watchdog group highlights in particular the Denver duopoly KDVR-KWGN, which share studio space, equipment, and staffers. KDVR, which is owned by Local TV, is the area Fox affiliate. KWGN, which is owned by Tribune Company, is the area CW affiliate.
The Denver stations entered a “shared station” agreement earlier this year, The Colorado Independent writes, that allows them to also share scripts and original reporting. FreePress points out that on the two stations, viewers will often see different anchors reading the exact same scripts and tossing to the exact same soundbites.
Watch the FreePress video campaign, which includes examples of stations sharing content, below: