It’s another example of the troubling state of local news.
In an effort to promote the second season of Fox’s successful drama, Empire, based on the music industry, WNYW is unthinkably giving away its last 30 minutes following each episode. Anchors Steve Lacy and Dari Alexander host the After Empire party, complete with hip-hop themed performances and DJs spinning on the turntables. Even this week, just 24 hours after a cop was gunned down, wasn’t enough to alter their programming, although hosting duties went to entertainment reporter Simone Boyce.
Yes, a station’s late newscast (still has the Fox 5 graphic in the corner with time and temperature) airing live music. Ever heard of that one?
This makes sense on the morning newscast Good Day New York, especially in the lighter 9 a.m. hour where performers regularly take the stage.
Instagram, Twitter, Facebook—take your pick. Social media platforms are here to stay. And, apparently, so is how the news personalities use it.
The millennials rule the world. You see people everywhere looking down at their smartphones while walking, or sadly even behind the wheel. You would think news organizations are above the fray.
We’ve seen a marriage in recent years between local news and social media. Reporters can promote a story with photos from a scene. Think of it as a director’s cut on a DVD or Blu-Ray, providing extra content for interested followers. The person in the field can even engage in an impromptu live chat before going on the air. It’s a win-win for the journalist, the audience, and of course, the station.
But too many times, it doesn’t work, and is actually being abused by the talent. Even when beneficial, how often are the reporters more concerned with getting that shot for their social media fans than working on the on-air package?
Then there are the anchors who have a different mindset. Several want to stay connected with their loyal base, to the point of writing about personal information. For example, a veteran morning anchor took to Twitter, posting a picture sitting in the ER in a leg cast; another gave a medical update or his injured eye.
“Is anything private?” questions a veteran broadcasting insider.
If you’ve been tuning into Channel 2 on the weekend, you’ve noticed Cindy Hsu is M.I.A. from her anchoring duties.
The veteran WCBS weekend anchor hasn’t been on the air since late July. Hsu’s absence is shrouded in secrecy.
However, the mystery may be somewhat revealed.
While most people in the newsroom are in the dark as to the circumstances, a station insider believes Hsu is on short-term medical leave. No other details are known, but the insider says it’s “nothing dire” and that Hsu is “going to be OK.”
The source adds that the station is anxious to welcome Hsu back at the Broadcast Center.
The 49-year-old Emmy winning anchor/reporter has been a mainstay at Channel 2 for 22 years.
Ann Mercogliano, a versatile New York City reporter, is going national. She is now a member of Inside Edition. The newsmagazine is seen at 1:30 pm weekdays on WNYW/Channel 5.
Mercogliano quietly started last week as a freelancer, Tuned In has learned, while correspondent Megan Alexander is on maternity leave.
Mercogliano apparently told people last month she was exiting WPIX for a role at WABC/Channel 7, as we reported at the time.
With stints at WNBC and WCBS, along with Channel 11 gig, she became the Tim McCarver of local news. (McCarver, a longtime major leaguer, was a sportscaster on every major network.)
Mercogliano’s New York rise began in 2010 when she arrived at Channel 4.
Her reporting chops grew over the years, first with lighter fare, including a trip to London for the Royal Wedding, (which got the popular brunette an Emmy Award nomination), and how to stuff your Thanksgiving turkey. She was on the street for a many hard news stories since joining WPIX in 2013.
If Al Michaels can move to NBC after several decades and several Emmys at ABC, why not Sarah Wallace on the local level?
A distinguished 30-year career for Wallace at WABC/Channel 7 ended abruptly in February due to a clash of styles with news director Camille Edwards.
Now WNBC/Channel 4 is coming to the rescue, bringing the famed reporter back on the air. She’ll be a member of the station’s I-Team, investigative unit. Tuned In has learned she’ll debut shortly after Labor Day.
“Sarah Wallace is a reporter’s reporter,” Susan Sullivan, WNBC news director, said in a statement.
Insiders say Sullivan’s hard news focus is a good fit for Wallace.
WNBC is beefing up its I-Team that already includes Chief Investigative Reporter Jonathan Dienst, Melissa Russo and Pei-Sze Chang. Insiders say Wallace’s hire signals their re-emphasis on investigative journalism.
Wallace has been a fixture in New York since joining Channel 7 in 1984. The veteran reporter is beloved among viewers and newsrooms.
She’s made the rounds in New York, but multiple sources say the versatile Ann Mercogliano is ending ties with WPIX. Tuned In has learned Mercogliano’s last day in Monday. We’re told Channel 7 will be her next stop.
Mercogliano, previously worked on WNBC, transitioning from soft pieces at LX New York (today’s New York Live) to harder reporting. She also had a brief stint at WCBS/Channel 2 before Channel 11 came knocking.
“I enjoyed working with her. I think it’s a shame that they’re letting her leave and never gave her a staff position.”
Television is certainly a visual medium. Local news is about striking a balance between attracting viewers and reporting the story.
Tuesday night, WCBS reporter Weijia Jiang stepped over the line of decency.
In telling the story about a string of robberies in a Brooklyn community while some of the victims slept, Jiang spoke to an eight-year-old girl about the incident. Her mother also talked to Jiang, who translated from Spanish.
Many aspects are wrong about the girl being interviewed for the “exclusive” piece. For starters, the first taped clip showed the girl saying “I was about to cry,” as she became inconsolable. (Video clips of the report below)
As she continued to cry the girl belted out, “He was going to kill my ma.”
The scene was “inexcusable,” one veteran TV reporter tells Tuned In.
“I know I would not have done that,” the longtime city reporter says. “[It's] shameful and exploitative.”
For a night, the cutthroat business of television news embraces itself at the New York Emmy Awards. Of course, some had more to embrace than others.
In one of the top awards of the night, Best News Anchor, Adriana Vargas from Univision 41/WXTV upset some big names: WCBS’ Chris Wragge, and a trio of WPIX talent– Tamsen Fadal, Scott Stanford and Sukanya Krishnan. Stanford, however, didn’t go home empty-handed, winning the Best Sports Anchor prize.
Channel 41 also was chosen Top Morning Newscast, defeating WCBS, and a pair of WPIX entries, while its rival Telemundo 47/WNJU won the biggest hardware–Best Evening Newscast.
WCBS’ Lonnie Quinn earned his fifth Emmy as top Weather Anchor.
Along with Stanford, Channel 11 gave newly installed news director Amy Waldman plenty to smile about, as the Tribune flagship took home 15 trophies. Mario Diaz and Jay Dow won multiple awards.