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AS GOOD AS YOU DESERVE

Why TV news is really terrible

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I just read the article “What’s Wrong with Local TV News?” [Fightin’ Words, AG Gancarski, April 16]. You gotta be kidding! What’s wrong with local news? The answer is not in the article. Take it from me, retired general manager of ABC 25. The answer to the question is simple. What’s wrong with local news is the race for ratings! That’s it! To suggest anything else is wrong. If you don’t understand the fundamental basis of “local news,” you shouldn’t be writing about same. The same thing that is wrong with local news is what is wrong with your magazine, the Times-Union and anything else that dispenses “news.” “Ratings,” “circulation” and “readership” are simply code words for profit, and until that changes — which it never will — the quality of local news will continue to decline. Duopolies, more national than local coverage, and stories from the Pacific Northwest that are called “local” are a result of the pressure to make more this year than last. 

I’m all for profits. Make as much as you can, but not at the expense of news coverage. Until and unless the viewer/reader demands more and raises hell, you are getting as good as it’s gonna get — and, I might add, as good as you deserve.

F. Lewis Robertson

Tags: TV news, Times-Union, ratings
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