What gets covered most in the Times Union? Yeah, you’ve got your Covid, crime, politics, race — but lately it feels like the most frequent subject is reporters leaving local TV stations.
We’re up to 15 on the local TV body count this year, and it’s only April. Honestly, you’ve probably never heard of most of these journalists, but just search “leaving” on the TU website and you can read all about them.
Local TV news wasn’t always a revolving door, maybe because TV reporters had a different job. They’d show up in the morning, be assigned a story, and have all day to work on it before the 6pm newscast. Maybe they’d cut another version for 11 and call it a day. You basically had one task to complete, and the pace was different; you had to wait for the slow, clunky equipment, not the other way around.
Today? There are a slew of newscasts, so a reporter will need to do multiple versions on a single story. And live shots. Then you have to create print versions of your story for the web. Then there’s social media. There’s a much bigger beast to be fed, and while the technology is great, it’s also a lot faster than you are.
Today’s TV reporter is doing much more work for the same money. And since 401k matching and plush health insurance plans are a thing of the past, it’s actually like earning less.
But even if TV news is not the coveted career it once was, for many young people it’s a great resume item on the road to doing something else. Corporate or government communication and PR come to mind. Oh sure, there are exceptions. Some of these kids were obviously born for it and have the star power to go places. But mostly, those fleeing the business are forgettable.
That leaves us with these endless departing reporter stories in the Times Union. It’s funny, but even today people on local TV are our celebrities in little old Smallbany, even if they’re just minor celebrities. What the hell, it’s not like when newspapers reporters leave. Nobody wants to read about that.