I’ve been seeing word of this come crashing down among some of my Facebook friends who still work in the industry. A station in a small market like Little Rock/Pine Bluff now probably has a bigger news division than KTTV.
More than 100 people just got the heave-ho, many of them after pulling all-nighters to cover the death of Michael Jackson. They may even be going back to one-man news teams, meaning on-air talent will be responsible for his or her own camera, audio, editing, graphics, and satellite link-up. Seriously, the station’s entire graphics and chyron departments have been eliminated, as well as a ton of editors, asst. directors (read: segment producers), and even lowly production assistants. Still trying to get hard numbers, but most if not all of the sports division has been cut, which is fine during football season, but LA has two basketball teams, two hockey teams, two baseball teams, and a soccer team… and that’s not even counting all the college teams in the area.
Many have been given a few months, but, come September, there will be a skeleton crew at Fox 11. And since the helicopter staff is rumored to be among those cut, it is doubtful they could even cover a car chase anymore (or, hypothetically, circle above UCLA Medical Center for hours and hours).
This is big, gang. The internet’s encroachment on print media is old news, but to see a station in the number two market in the nation reduced to a smaller staff than the TV station I ran at my college… this is a blow.
KCOP 13 tried to work with KTTV 11 to combine news staff a few years ago, but ultimately KCOP dropped their newscast altogether. KCAL 9 borrows/steals from sister station KCBS 2 (as well as A LOT of CNN’s prepackaged news pieces). KNBC 4′s senior anchor, Paul Moyer (the last of the old guard), put in for retirement not too long ago. KTLA 5′s senior anchors have either passed away or retired, and, in the last several years, they have relied heavily on newspapers and newspaper reporters for their news. A few years ago there was a mass exodus over at KABC 7… most flocking to KCBS. The whole city is in flux.
Not that it has been great, but TV journalism in Los Angeles is rapidly going down the tubes.