Web jobs open at TV stations

Broadcasting & Cable has a compelling article about TV stations and station owners re-thinking their Web strategies. The article points to multiple examples of news organizations shifting resources to the Web through new hires and job restructuring.

To find ample resources for the Web, some managers are converting broadcast positions to Web ones. When a sports reporter gave notice at WMTV Madison, Wis., the position was turned into a Web producer. LIN TV, meanwhile, cited a 50% increase in online staff in 2007 as head count stayed flat.

What’s behind the change? “According to Borrell Associates’ 2008 Outlook: Local Online Advertising, $8.5 billion was spent on local online advertising in 2007, and that is projected to jump to $12.6 billion this year…” – so the bottom line? There’s money to be made on the Web and that means there’s an opportunity to add staff.

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Primary colors

Here’s a new wrinkle on an old dilemma. When Michigan voters go to the polls in their state primary today, they can vote in either the Republican or Democratic race. But under the law setting up the primary, voters have to write down which ballot they want and that list will be given to the two state parties. See the problem?

Journalists have wrestled for years with the question of whether taking a political position in the voting booth compromises their effort to be objective on the job. Some prominent journalists like Washington Post editor Len Downie say not voting is a matter of principle:

I have not voted since becoming managing editor in 1984 because, as the final gatekeeper for all coverage in the Post, I do not want to make up my mind, even in the voting booth, about candidates or issues. I would be pleased if none of our political reporters or editors voted, but it would be unreasonable to ask for that (and I remain the final gatekeeper for all they do). We prohibit all staff members from engaging in any political activity except voting.

Most journalists don’t go that far. Voting is their right as citizens, and they believe they can exercise it in private and still be fair in their coverage. But what happens when the party they voted for could become public knowledge?

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