Some local television station newscasts are being anchored by journalists from outside the local market – in some cases, they're not even in the same state. The outsourcing saves money for corporate owners but the Shop Talk panelists feel the audience ends up paying the price.
Panelist Jasmine Crighton called it an “absolutely horrible” concept. She said it’s more likely that street and town names will be mispronounced, and she feels newscasts lose credibility when they’re anchored by someone who’s nowhere near the community that’s supposedly being served.
Crighton said there is no reason to outsource anchoring except to save money. She said there is no shortage of well-trained people looking to anchor newscasts. And she pointed out an anchor often serves as a newsroom’s managing editor, something that’s lost when the anchoring is outsourced.
Panelist Will Buss agreed that a newscast’s credibility is hurt when the news anchoring it outsourced. He said anchors need to know the communities they’re talking about.
Buss said newspapers have talked about establishing centralized locations for editing stories. He disagrees with that idea. He doubts a copy editor in, for example, Wichita, Kansas, would be able to provide worthwhile feedback on stories about politicians, businesses, and landmarks in the St Louis Metro East area and might not know the proper spelling for the names of people and places.
Panelist Rich Egger said the issue is part of the ongoing battle between good journalism and profit-driven corporations. He said conglomerates that buy local newspapers and radio and television stations are looking to make money and don’t seem interested in serving their communities with news and information.
Jasmine Crighton is News Director of NEWS3 at Western Illinois University and Will Buss is the Director of Student Publications at WIU.