"Way too often," TVNewsCheck's Diana Marszalek wrote yesterday, in a story of special interest to Gannett's 23 stations, local TV reporters follow stories rather than find them. That's a reflection of a steady decline in the news "beat" system, where reporters are assigned to cover certain topics exclusively.
News directors must realign priorities and reinstitute beat systems -- and the kind of enterprise reporting that comes with them -- if broadcast journalism is going to survive, Gumbert told Marszalek.
In Cincinnati, WLWT-TV -- a Hearst Corp. station -- says it was first to report Ohio state Rep. Robert Mecklenborg's arrest, forcing the Enquirer to do a quick follow-up. The story spurred plenty of attention across the Internet, partly because the 59-year-old married father of three also had a young woman passenger in his car, whose identity he refused to discuss.
Yet, despite that flurry of interest, the Enquirer has yet to reveal publicly whether it's still following the story -- even as Corporate renews emphasis on unique, high-impact journalism. The paper's most recent account is now two weeks old.