By: Doug Simpson, Associated Press Writer
(AP) Newspaper reporters have become a common sight on national news broadcasts during the war in Iraq, and will become even more common as newspaper companies continue to buy local TV stations, editors at the American Society of Newspaper Editors convention heard Wednesday.
Putting reporters on TV is a way to expand awareness of a paper’s brand name, newspaper officials agreed.
“Increasingly, a reporter who covers the war — or covers the city council for that matter — will [appear on] the TV and radio stations that we own,” said William Dean Singleton, CEO of the Denver-based MediaNews Group Inc., which includes The Denver Post among its holdings.
Singleton made his remarks as part of a panel discussion of wide-ranging issues affecting the newspaper industry.
Ann Marie Lipinski, editor of the Chicago Tribune, said there were indications her newspaper picked up new readers as a result of newspaper staffers’ appearances on WGN-TV in 2000 while the Tribune was publishing an investigative report on the airline industry.
Lipinski noted that newspaper reporters, some of whom have covered the same topic for years, lend scope, context, and expertise to local TV stations’ broadcasts. “It’s harder for [TV reporters] to build that expertise,” she said.
Lipinski, who took part in the panel discussion with Singleton, made her remarks after the session.
Singleton said newspaper staffers’ added exposure means newspaper companies will need to invest more money in their product. As reporters begin appearing on television, the public will give extra scrutiny to the companies that employ them, he said.
“We’d better spend more money on news, because everywhere you turn, they’re going to be watching us or reading us,” Singleton said.
Media General has created a news center in Tampa, Fla., to provide news to its media outlets The Tampa Tribune, WFLA-TV, and Tampa Bay Online. The center includes a “superdesk” of editors, who can send out television camera operators, photographers, and reporters to a news scene. Reporters are expected to be able to file for television, newspaper, and the Internet.
Reporters for The New York Times and The Boston Globe are among those who have become familiar sights to television viewers during the war.
The New York Times Co. developed a “priority access” agreement with CNN under which the cable network can broadcast interviews with Times and Globe correspondents based in the Persian Gulf region.
The Times Co. had a similar agreement with ABC News for coverage of the 2000 presidential election.
CNN has also broadcast interviews with a reporter for Cox Newspapers based in Baghdad.