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.
WPIX’ Tamsen Fadal might be the worst offender, though. As we pointed out in an April 2014 piece, Fadal was routinely caught typing on her phone, not wanting to miss that next tweet or text.
Some things never change.
Near the top of the late newscast Thursday night, Fadal was at it again. As the camera pulled away from a single shot of co-anchor John Muller, a wide angle shows Fadal on her phone, texting, etc. (above)
While TV is certainly a visual medium, Fadal is showing that looks are her top priority. On Twitter, the hugely popular PIX product has more than 57,000 followers. She recently changed her avatar to look more Nordstrom model than news anchor.
“I just cannot stand Tamsen Fadal. She always appears to be saying, ‘Hey guys, check me out,'” another viewer says in a recent Tuned In comment. “She is more about making an impression with men than caring about what she is reporting. I cannot watch the news on Channel 11. Please replace her!”
The anonymous broadcaster ponders: how did we get to this point of self-indulgence?
“This noble profession of gathering, decimating and delivering the news with perspective has turned instead into an hour that is part fashion show, part Dancing with the Stars, and part American Idol. The anonymous insider adds, “Young beautiful female anchors go on Facebook, always with hands on hips, to show off the new dress they’ll be wearing at 11.”
Although many of today’s viewers enjoy the online interaction with the “celebrities,” playing into the reality TV generation is not necessarily the right route.
“I may be old fashioned, but the first lesson in journalism is and always was: ‘It’s not about you–it’s about the story.'” The broadcasting insider admits, “Now it’s always about them.”