Adapting to the Shrinking World of Television News


EL PASO, Texas — The entire crew stood in the studio, which is where we have our station-wide meetings. There had been rumors that the station was being sold, cutbacks were being made and people were getting fired.

It turned out that the station was not being sold. However, there were cutbacks and people were fired as a result of the country’s current economic crisis. This was a good  example of the current trend in television news.

With the way things are going, many jobs are being consolidated into single positions. It’s something that our station has been doing for years. The job I currently hold as a graphic artist, is essentially three jobs at other stations. And the way things are going, those stations will be following suit. All this time I thought our station was cheap, but we were really trendsetters.

stock photo tv news

The consolidation of jobs is not only evident in production but in news as well. Our station has hired its first official video-journalist, which is essentially a “one-man band” reporter/photographer.

There have been changes happening in local news for ages, but in the seven years I’ve worked as a graphic artist at a local TV news station, I’ve seen them happen gradually. The length of a written news story has gotten shorter leading to quicker snippets of news, allowing more stories to fit into a segment.

There are those that argue whether these changes are for the better. I’d say that what I’ve realized is that the news business is a business of adaptation.

For instance, the Internet has become an extension of our product. If people want to see extended interviews, story recaps or extra information, we advise them to go the station website.

As changes come, the business adapts. As an example, our station used to run all of its stories off tapes and a couple of years ago it decided to change to a completely tapeless system, which is the direction stations are taking.

The business will continue to adapt, cutbacks will continue to take place and fewer people will do more jobs as long as they can adapt. Whenever I tell people that I’m a graphic artist at a TV news station, they automatically think I make tons of money in a glamorous job.

Rather than disappoint, I play along. It’s my way of adapting.

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