Tegna's "New" Approach to News

FTVLive was the FIRST to tell you that Tegna stations were going to change their approach as to how they cover the news. 

Now others are picking up on the story that FTVLive FIRST reported. 

The Columbia Journalism Review talks about how the struggling company is changing the way they will focus on what is and is not news. 

Tegna VP for News Ellen Crooke says that the company to emphasize investigations that not only expose problems, but also present solutions. The company is committed to freeing up investigative teams to do creative work that doesn’t fit traditional local TV molds, she says.

“We hear over and over again from our audiences that they want us to find solutions,” Crooke says.


Are people really calling and emailing TV stations to say they want solutions? I worked in newsrooms for over 20 years and I never heard a viewer say that one time. 

“We want our teams to experiment more. It used to be you aired a story at 11 o’clock and then you went on to the next thing. This team can stay on this story, which is kind of unheard of in local news.”

Crooke points to a story out of their Atlanta station, WXIA. 

CJR writes, the station also asked viewers to sign a petition it created and posted on its website urging Congress to pass the Fairness for Veterans bill, which requires the military to consider evidence of PTSD or traumatic brain injury in its discharge decisions. More than 12,000 signed the petition. Jeremy Campbell, 11Alive’s lead reporter, delivered it to Isakson in person. The bill passed last week.

Should TV stations be involved in getting viewers to sign a petition? Tegna believes the answer is yes. In market the size of Atlanta and with full backing of the Tegna station, they only got 12,000 people to sign a petition. Doesn't that number seem low? 

You look at a petition on Change.org to "Establish the Greater Grand Canyon Heritage National Monument" whatever that is and it has over 80,000 signatures and not a TV station backing them. 

CJR writes, Crooke says the company hopes to move away from the standard car accident and house fire coverage that clutters the nightly news, and replace it with stories that have broad impact. 

But at the same time Tegna is laying people off and have sent my longtime staffers packing with buyouts.

So, who is going to do all this long form reporting and what will the Producers use to fill their shows, while Reporters are taking days or weeks to cover a single story? 

Tegna is trying a fresh approach to TV news, that's fine, but if you aren't willing to spend the money to do it, it will never be done right. 

The bottom line? If you don’t have the right people (they don’t) and you’re not covering the news each day (mostly not) and your marketing is WAY off ( it is), you can be as ‘different’ as you want, but nobody’s watching.