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Santa Barbara Politics, Media & Culture

Saturday, May 27, 2006

KEYT and Video News Reports

PRWatch.org's news release about the Video News Releases is available here. KEYT sounds like they were on the up and up by disclosing the source of the COMDEX show in Vegas but this is a growing problem in the media. More interesting than the news release from the Center for Media and Democracy is their wiki that has video clips and case studies of some of the offenders.

4 Comments:

Anonymous First District Streetfighter said...

This is consistent with the broader reputation of KEYT. Their business model is to seek out fast tittlating content in a quest for ratings. Their conspicuous reporter The Palm is good for local knowledge, but he is a Republican partisan and it often shows in his slant on a story and conspicuous absense of the alternative viewpoint. But at least The Palm knows what he is doing, but sometimes just chooses not to report the whole story.

Their other KEYT reporters are so green (not Green) and naive, and usually do not even reside in Santa Barbara or Ventura, they miss the point in half the stories or are just learning the content themselves for the first time. Then, most of the content of their stories is so much background and overly general in scope and really represents the status of the issue that has been established for a year or more.

For instance, only last January, I remember, a KEYT story on the "county split" spent more than half the time describing that north Santa Barbara county was indeed a different political and cultural world from the south County. Then the end of the video story mentioned the campaing finance report or something specific that was the actual news trigger that day. That Santa Maria is different from Santa Barbara was news to the KEYT reporter, so that became the story in January 2006.

My point here is that KEYT actually may not be so malicious or conniving as this Newspress article may imply. They are just not very deep thinking about news there, or, mostly, they simply do not have enough experienced staff or enough reporters in the field who really know the issues. Thus, KEYT fills time with infotainment and quasicommercials about electronics trade shows in Las Vegas. Sadly, KEYT thinks that drivel is what viewers want to see as TV news.

If Vercammen was right in the Newspress article about they showing a label that the talking head speaking in the story was a "consultant" then KEYT seems to be covered in the federal allegation that they were showing advertising under the guise of news. Thus, KEYT covered its ass well enough.

But the bigger issue locally seems more about why does KEYT not have enough news of their own, or at least local advertorial infotainment instead of something fed to them from Las Vegas.

Everyone also should know that the other channel 6, KSBY, may be based in San Luis Obispo, but KSBY has a Santa Barbara field reporter who covers the local news very well and he gets the point and knows news from advertising. But KSBY only has one reporter and one video camera operator, and they do not work nights nor on weekends.

KCOY (channel 12), and its clone KKFX-11 gave up on a Santa Barbara bureau more than a year ago, and they hardly cover anything in Santa Barbara. But KCOY/KKFX is great at covering a car crash or gangbanger shooting in Santa Maria, where their office and studio is.

KMPR, the local Univision affiliate (Spanish-language programming) has an original news show (channel 16) daily, but they rely heavily on their network feed and chasing the Newspress as inspiration for content, per the style of KEYT.

A free and robust "press" or news media is critical for democracy to thrive, but the industry offers poor pay to the field reporters who actually gather and write the news.

A Video News Release (VNR) is causing so much nationwide complaints and legal allegions that TV news would simply show the videos provided, but when a newspaper or other text-based media does it by repeating a Written News Release, few people if any complain.

How many news "articles" have we read that were just an entire or nearly verbatim repeat of the original news release by the sponsoring organization? That is why the better news releases are written up in the sytle, including quotes by authorities, exactly like how a news article would read, so the newspaper does not have to work too hard to rewrite it or even check the facts or seek the other side of the issue.

Anyway, it is all food for the theory that Ampersand wants to buy out KEYT, so first make KEYT look bad to lower the selling price. Blog that!

5/27/2006 8:07 AM  
Anonymous First District Streetfighter said...

ADDENDUM

The caveat by their News Director Paul Vercammen is a bit thin simply because KEYT showed the label that the advertiser was a "consultant" in the Fake TV News story. That did not seem to be a good enough disclosure, based on the opinionaged reporting here
http://www.prwatch.org/fakenews/vnr14
by Center for Media and Democracy, Publishers of "PR Watch".

5/27/2006 8:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As much as this blog likes to bang on the News-Press, no one has ever accused it of selling out its news coverage for pay...

5/27/2006 9:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

9:12--not yet. lets see what the bottled water guy does.

5/27/2006 4:48 PM  

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