LocalNewser standupkid's dispatches from the frontlines of local news


Local News Legends Reunite on the Set in Chicago

Kurtis, Jacobson Back in the Day

Kurtis, Jacobson Back in the Day

Wow.  Just when I was really getting my local news is dead groove on, WBBM/Chicago has to go and pull a sweeps stunt with a touch of class and a nod to better times:  reuniting the legendary Chicago anchor team of Bill Kurtis and Walter Jacobson.

My Dad worked at WBBM in the era of "Bill and Walter," and I can recall the energy and excitement of walking through Kurtis and Jacobson's newsroom at Channel 2.  It was the kind of experience that makes a kid dream of working in television news.  For a taste of that bygone era, watch this awesome WBBM promo.

So I tip my hat to WBBM news director Jeff Kiernan, who had the great idea of putting the two men back together on the ten o'clock news tonight.  If you're in Chicago and you have any connection or affection for the medium of television, how could you possibly not watch this?  It's like hearing that tonight, Beutel and Grimsby will be back on the set at WABC, or Bishop and Lauderdale will reunite at WPLG/Miami.  It's an event that reminds us of the power local news anchor teams had for so long.

The softie in me longs for those days.  I remember standing silently in the studio during a newscast at WCBS when I was a kid--again on a trip to visit Dad at work--and watching in amazement as Warner Wolf did the sports right in front of my eyes.  So forgive me a bit of sentimentality at this oddly satisfying bit of local newser news.  Nobody's been fired, been forced to take a pay cut, or told to do two jobs for one paycheck.

Instead, Chicagoans get to watch a moment.  Gimmick?  Sure.  But so's cotton candy.  And just like cotton candy, getting some when you didn't expect it--and knowing that the taste of the spun sugar on your tongue will remind you of those magic days when television, like a carnival, was magic instead of slimy and very possibly dangerous--is an experience to behold.

Give 'em hell, Bill and Walter.

[If you could turn on the tube tonight and watch a legendary local anchor team take another swing on the set, who would it be?]


Report: TV News Job Loss Slows-But at What Cost?

U.S. DEPRESSION BREAD LINEThe headline, surely, seems encouraging-- TV Job Losses Could Be Slowing.

For those of us hanging on to local news jobs--or hoping to find one--any sign the storm is letting up means we can envision climbing up out of our storm cellars, evaluating the damage, and beginning to rebuild.

But I question whether the study reported by MediaJobsDaily can really be described, as Rachel Kaufman suggests as "signaling good news for all who are still hanging on."

The research, by Vocus, a company that specializes in selling software to public relations companies, suggests that from January to June, "on-air TV news experienced a net job loss of 401."  Great!  Then, the details:  "1,006 fewer TV journalists were working," (Not Great) "while 605 entered new positions."

Here's where the rainbow over the hill starts to fade, at least for me.  Who lost those 1,006 jobs? From my own direct experience, I can tell you many of them were among the most talented and experienced broadcast journalists working in the country.  And from reading the "Who's News" posts on ShopTalk and elsewhere, I can tell you the people who seem to be finding work are, predominantly the just out of college or just-jumped-150-markets-from Eau Claire" variety, and that means while job losses may technically be slowing, the overall picture remains bad.

Experience:  out.  Salaries:  headed down.  And there's little to suggest that will be slowing anytime soon, if ever.

846251932_45052f2773.jpgLet's crowdsource this. Leave a comment below if you've had layoffs and hires at your station. Did green replace gray?  Go ahead and name the vets, but let's not pile on the newly hired kids, who can't be blamed for jumping at a chance of starting in a big market.  Let's leave their names out of this.

But we can tell a bigger story if we all report what we know directly from our own newsroom families.

So...are the job losses slowing?  And even if they are, is this "good news?"