Saturday, February 18, 2012

WTSP denies Corporate role in advocacy coverage

The CBS affiliate in St. Petersburg, Fla., is unapologetic in taking an unusual role of advocate for the University of South Florida in its news coverage of proposed legislative budget cuts for the school.

But those news decisions are being made locally, and aren't part of an edict from Corporate, News Director Peter Roghaar told Peter Schorsch of the independent news site SaintPetersblog.

“Any decisions on what stories to cover, questions to ask, 'stands to take,' etc., are made on the local level by 10 News management,'' Roghaar told Schorsch in a post published yesterday.

Schorsch's interest was piqued by a reader who said one of WTSP's budget debate broadcasts featured remarks by anchor Reginald Roundtree and Preston Rudie.

In an e-mail, the reader told Schorsch: "They mentioned that someone from Facebook asked why they were taking such a proactive advocacy stand on this topic, and they mentioned on air that this is a new effort from their corporate parent company, Gannett, to take stands on certain local issues of the day.”


  1. We're supposed to report the news, not spin it. Do the corporate minions running Gannett know the difference between journalism and PR?

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  3. I'm not saying this is the case here, but sometimes 'corporate' gets blame and credit for things that were decided a lot lower than Crystal Palace level.

    Saying that the 'boss is making me do this' is a convenient way for a weak manager to deflect criticism - but it's occasionally true, too.

    Regardless of what the facts are, if corporate is telling sites to be involved and reflective of their community, and we can show audience where we are advocates and where we're reporters, I'm for it.

    Better to be relevant and read, and revered or reviled than ignored.

  4. This is to be expected when a news-gthering company is run at every level by bean counters.

  5. apparently Rob Mennie and Tom Sommers have "research" that says viewers want their newsteams to take a stand on issues.
    They've been preaching it for years so far the only ones that have done it are the ones that have been failing in the ratings.

  6. Really 9:42? KUSA seems to have done okay with that strategy over the years...and Buffalo has gone from 3rd to first with it. Don't think it's a divine thought from corporate. Seems to work for a lot of great journalism organizations.

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  8. So is this what we have to look forward to in local news?  In an effort to "stand out" they need to become versions of Fox News Channel or MSNBC? At least on the cable channels, they say they separate it by having show hosts delivery commentary and anchors report news. It's VERY easy to attract attention...but is the image of who you want to be? 

    I went to USF. I am appalled by the blackmail politics going on, but was surprised to see journalists take marching orders from their corporate owners to "create" news reports in a certain light.

    What if Gannett decides they want to take a stand on Planned Parenthood issues, off shore drilling, gay marriage, healthcare, etc?  Being a community activist with the power of the public airwaves definitely removes your objectivity on the issue. I say leave the commentary to talk show hosts and lets journalists REPORT facts.

  9. 120:00pm is right it can't be a devine thought from corporate. That's an oxmoron. Perhaps they should make all the stations install the whiz-o-meter like Atlanta. because we all need to know just how far we can pee on any given day.


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