Northland’s “News” Center?

I’d be interested in hearing PDDs thoughts on this discussion about KBJR from one of my twitter pals, media insider gossip muckraker Red and Nater:

Last week, they had to pull a story about murderer Donald Blom after a Facebook protest. Then they claimed the promo they had aired about the story was wrong.

Tonight (Tuesday), they had to do a live four-minute interview with a Cirrus executive off the top of their 10:00 news to make up for a story they ran at 5 in which they claimed the company was “in crisis.” Their 5:00 report was based on the fact that Cirrus hasn’t paid rent for using a city-owned facility, but that had been widely reported by other media a month or more ago.

This is on top of the the constant day-behind news and bad video. When will Granite (or NBC or CBS) realize what’s going on in Duluth?

view in context at Red and Nater blog

13 Comments

vicarious

about 11 years ago

I thought it was very odd that they led the newscast with a live in-studio interview with Brent Wouters. He was essentially saying that Cirrus was doing "great," that forecasts looked good, etc. He did not mention anything about how the company was going to lay off 50 more people the very next morning. 

I do understand that December through April are historically their slowest months for production, but it's pretty disingenuous to ignore the layoffs altogether.

farglebargle

about 11 years ago

Actually they didn't ignore it:
http://www.northlandsnewscenter.com/home/video/69803662.html

vicarious

about 11 years ago

farglebargle,

I was referring to Brent Wouters' not referring to the layoffs that would occur the day after the interview.

farglebargle

about 11 years ago

I wouldn't blame that on Brent. Company employees got their first notice of it on Weds.

vicarious

about 11 years ago

Brent is the CEO. He knew about the layoffs weeks before the interview, yet neglected to mention it in the interview.

vicarious

about 11 years ago

I realize this discussion may be very boring for most PDD'ers. But for this Cirrus-flying, almost-commercial-pilot, this is fascinating stuff!

Barrett Chase

about 11 years ago

This is ridiculously unethical. Their next segment should be a four-minute apology to the public.

vicarious

about 11 years ago

@Barrett: word.

wildgoose

about 11 years ago

OK.  I missed the Cirrus story coverage actually, and I only caught the Blom thing on facebook, actually.  In fact, full disclosure I watch almost no local news, although I do go to their sites and read/watch stories almost daily.  Actually besides football in season, the only network show I watch with regularity is "The Office" and I do that online after the kids are in bed at my convenience.

So, without taking any risks myself, I was hoping there might be some discussion of the broader character of the news carried on that mega station (5, maybe 6 signals now, plus at least 2 on the range). But I guess I need to show some more of my hand to get that ball rolling.  A story:   

I was at a press conference in Duluth regarding a shooting over a year ago.  People were there from everywhere media-wise.  Asst Chief Beyer ran it.  He read a statement, and got a few questions from Ralph Doty (KDAL?) Bob Kelliher (MPR) and then Beth Jett who was brand new to town at that point jumped in and just OWNED the conference, firing questions everywhere and uncovering some real news.  She asked maybe 15 questions, politely but assertively. I don't remember who was there from DNT or what questions they asked.  But they certainly didn't shine like Beth did, no one did, actually.  (She is good aside from the pet obsession, but who's perfect?)  The other tv peeps WDIO had one or two questions, they were there with team coverage which seemed wise since they could have one focus on the press conference and others gauge community reaction, etc.  So the media sent their best and brightest, everyone did.  Except ... the last one to pipe in was one of the lead reporters with a well known face from the NNC, the reporter (name and gender withheld)asked a question that had already been answered ... and it seemed a little disingenuous like the person was just asking it to be seen asking a question for his/her own report ... or worse maybe the person hadn't been listening closely at all, intending to craft together the details back at the station from the raw tape and pull analysis from all the other reporters musings.  And that is just one example of one day over a year ago.  But it seems to fit the pattern of overall coverage pretty well.  And why that sad gap at NNC?

They have the "biggest" newsroom, I guess and "more news" and even some very good reporters and anchors talented enough to do some great hard or accurate news, even real investigations (Kevin Jacobsen comes to mind, for the younglings, Michelle Lee among the well seasoned crew) so the ingredients are there, but ... I don't get the payoff.  

Content-wise, and even in terms of news assignments (IMO) the NNC can't hold a candle to WDIO or Fox-21, either.  I agree with the poster that something isn't right there.    Yet they have all of these great resources from 2 "combined" newsrooms when the stations (KBJR and KDLH) merged under deregulation several years ago.  Why are they so far back in the pack?  Why has there been such minimal news payoff from that merger for us, the local community?

ok.  Rant over.  I hope I didn't hurt anyone's feelings.  Thoughts?

dlhmn

about 11 years ago

In "combining" newsrooms, they cut just about everyone from KDLH. So really, they just added workload to one station's staff.

Maybe it's the workload, or a lack of leadership, or a lot of inexperienced staff, but there are some cringe-worthy gaffes or exceedingly poor judgments on display in just about every one of their newscasts.

And, "More News" isn't "More News" if you're just repeating the same stories over, and over, and over.

Paul Lundgren

about 11 years ago

"More newscasts equals more news" is a line in a Northland's News Center promo. 

Dlhmn is right. "More newscasts equals more repetition of the same stories."

Not that there's anything wrong with that -- having several broadcasts for people to watch throughout the day is a good thing -- but there's no need to try to con the public.

Tony D.

about 11 years ago

Right there with you, Paul and dlhmn. Here comes a rant:

The only "more" we get from the NNC is "more self-promoting commercials." Same info out of different mouths. And those of us with a little Ripsaw experience know exactly what these "house ads" mean: they can't sell the ad space/commercial time, so they run those as filler.

What I don't understand is that they have five "stations," yet often the same news plays at the same time on at least two of those. The 9 pm slot is really a missed opportunity: why have the same news report broadcasting from two stations at the same time? Why not mix it up: run the news on one of those stations at 9 and at 9:30 the other, running a non-news show against it. That way you can retain/attract viewers who want neither the news nor the network offerings at those times, perhaps even selling more commercial time so you don't have to fill every commercial break with your half-baked ideas about how you're giving the Northland "more." (Where's the evidence that more channels = more "contacts" and the other items on that list.)

The only smart thing they do is to run channel 3 evening news at 5:30 and channel 6 news at 6--that gives them the chance to run something else for those who don't watch network evening news.

And the weather channel they have is called Newscenter Now, right? Why not just run the 9 pm news on that channel (with the weather still showing on the left and bottom) and have other non-news, non-network programming on the other two "extra" channels. Expand the audience and you should increase your share of the market and use those numbers to expand your commercial sales.

(And why, for the love of Pete, do we need to see two episodes in a row of the same syndicated sitcom? Mix it up! If I as a viewer don't like one of those shows, you've lost me for an hour at least. They need someone who makes "more" intelligent programming choices.)

More channels does not = better news coverage, nor even "more" news coverage. Those promo spots are an insult to the intelligence of the Duluth television audience.

dlhmn

about 11 years ago

Check out the headline "Northland's News Center" has placed on a story about a Sunday stabbing in Duluth:

http://www.northlandsnewscenter.com/news/local/81938862.html

(in case they change it later, as of early Monday morning the headline reads: Black Male Victim of Domestic Stabbing in Duluth's East Hillside)

Way to perpetuate stereotypes as if the victim's race had something to do with him getting stabbed. And just in time for Martin Luther King Jr. Day!

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