The ailing automobile industry is a major news topic in Motor City, and by all rights, news organizations operating there want to throw as many reporters into the fray as they can. But the very same automobile woes are diminishing the income necessary to pay for the journalists. At a National Press Club session in Ann Arbor, WDIV-TV VP/GM Marla Drutz noted that the story is bringing viewers back to the station, but not revenue. In fact, sometimes it cuts revenue, like when they lost some income by interrupting an airing of “Jeopardy” to cover breaking news.
On the radio side, Vincent Duffy of Michigan Public Radio noted the advantage of not being forced to rely on advertising. But the need to make information instantly available means that reporters are feeding radio stations and websites at the same time, putting a strain on staff that didn’t exist in the pre-internet days.
Representatives from the newspaper side noted the strain feeding multiple outlets, on top of the strain of maintaining editorial quality in the face of rampant job cuts.