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New Type Of Reporter?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Dan Omlor, May 24, 2020.

  1. Dan Omlor

    Dan Omlor New Member

    This Pandemic Quarantine period has left even more newspapers, both weekly and daily, in fragile condition. So I've been thinking about where we're heading. I have always known quite a few radio and TV reporters, producers, station managers, play by play announcers, etc. For 50 years, they've all filled two roles. During much of the day, they get out there and sell ads. Then, for a few hours, they anchor news, report, call games, or do whatever. But almost all of them sell ads. A typical day is selling ads all morning and the first half of the afternoon, then showing up at practice or getting ready for the game that night. Some of these guys are really good at calling games or digging into interviews or behind the scenes stories, hosting a call in show, etc. But they still sell ads. So I'm wondering if that may be the future for print journalists. Spend the morning and early afternoons selling ads, then spend the last part of the day covering practices, games, school board meetings, town council meetings, businesses, restaurants, whatever. Obviously, if the Mayor or Governor or Athletic Director calls a press conference, the reporter changes his schedule and heads there to cover it. If some disaster occurs, the reporter changes his schedule and heads there to cover it. But over the course of a week, he's responsible for selling a reasonable number of ads. In effect, the reporter would be harder to let go because he would be helping support the newspaper financially, actually contributing to his own salary. Yes, it would be an exhausting day, but most reporters I know are already putting in exhausting days. At least they aren't getting up at 4 a.m. like their TV or radio counterparts. And since some of the work those reporters are now doing would not be done because the reporter would be out selling, the newspapers would actually have to hire more reporters to spread the work. But all the new hires would understand coming in that they were being hired to both sell ads and then work as reporters, editors, etc. As a sideline to this idea, I'm already noticing that almost all the newspapers in my state are hiring combination reporters/photographers. The old days of separate photographers seem to be rapidly ending. What do all the rest of you out there think of this? Crazy, or a glimpse of the future?
  2. JosephDHippolito

    JosephDHippolito New Member

    It would not surprise me one bit. It would provide another excuse for ignorant Executives to cut costs further. But this is fraught with problems. Sports broadcasters, especially in smaller markets, are expected to promote the teams they cover. So selling ads for them is just another variation on a theme. Print journalists, however, are not trying to be salesman. Neither are salesmen trained to be journalists. Will a print journalist have to sacrifice professional integrity in order to Be an Effective salesman? Will salesmen have the ability to analyze information and write quickly? Blurring the lines will just do more to destroy a profession whose credibility is already sinking rapidly because of ideological and political prostitution.
    I Should Coco likes this.
  3. Dan Omlor

    Dan Omlor New Member

    I'd say the Journalist of the future will triple major in Journalism, Sales/Marketing, and an area of expertise. So he'll have to be a good reporter and wordsmith PLUS an effective marketer/salesman. Just like the guys in broadcasting.
  4. 2muchcoffeeman

    2muchcoffeeman Well-Known Member

    In addition to opening the door to a huge conflict-of-interest issue, the bootstrap journalism thing is already ridicule worthy.

    The guys in broadcasting are so ethically leveraged that half the time you don’t know if they mean what they say or if they’re being paid shills.
    wicked and tapintoamerica like this.
  5. I Should Coco

    I Should Coco Well-Known Member

    I'll deal with this part of your post first. The pandemic has accelerated a trend (laying off photographers) that already was happening. Quality of photos used to be a good way to judge how serious smaller daily newspapers were about news coverage; it's one of the reasons I ended up at my current shop 11 years ago. We had two very strong photographers. Through various budget crises, one position was never filled after someone left. Then in March, our one remaining photographer was among the layoffs when the pandemic hit.

    We'll never have another staff photographer. Reporter-shot and (ugh) some rather sketchy reader-submitted photos now fill the pages of our paper. Most of those are taken with cell phones.
  6. Batman

    Batman Well-Known Member

    Or the people at smaller weekly papers, who often wear multiple hats including reporter, photographer, editor, publisher and ad rep.
  7. Twirling Time

    Twirling Time Well-Known Member

    "Ethically leveraged" is the euphemism of all time. Well done.
    2muchcoffeeman likes this.
  8. PCLoadLetter

    PCLoadLetter Well-Known Member

    Not sure what you guys are talking about regarding broadcast, beyond talk radio yahoos. I've been in TV from small to big markets for 30 years and there has been nothing like that.
  9. 2muchcoffeeman

    2muchcoffeeman Well-Known Member

  10. WriteThinking

    WriteThinking Well-Known Member

    I suppose it could happen in the future. But it'd be a short future. There's no print journalist I know who would do this. There's a big difference between being a combination reporter/photographer and being an ad salesman/reporter. The former roles are complimentary, and frankly, both different forms of journalism, and a journalist would be enhancing their skills by doing both rather than just either one. The latter are completely unrelated -- the closest description could be symbiotic, maybe -- and I don't see any journalist worth their salt crossing those lines for long. Most would leave the industry, willingly, before they'd go that route.

    They'd just find another job, as most have been in the process of doing over the past 10 years.
    Last edited: May 24, 2020
    I Should Coco likes this.
  11. 2muchcoffeeman

    2muchcoffeeman Well-Known Member

    Yes, the radio guys.
    PCLoadLetter likes this.
  12. Fredrick

    Fredrick Well-Known Member

    The idea is appalling. Would a suit try to implement this? Sure.
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