Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Media News

The Journal Gazette actually covers the local televison scene this morning, putting an item about WANE on the front of its features section.
After two years of reporting for WANE-TV, Channel 15, Jennifer Cross has been promoted to anchor for the 6 and 11 p.m. newscasts on Saturday and Sunday nights, the station announced Tuesday.

“I’ve been here for a year,” news director Ted Linn said, “and what I really quickly realized was the strength of her reporting. She brings a maturity and capability to her reporting that stands out. I got her into some backup anchoring and she excelled right away.

“I had a lot of good candidates, but Jennifer was clearly the No. 1 choice,” he said.

Originally from New York, Cross attended the University of Chicago for two years and graduated from Brown University in Providence, R.I., with a degree in political science. Her experience in journalism began at the college radio station at Brown University and then as a writer for National Public Radio in Boston. Cross was a reporter and anchor at KPAX-TV in Missoula, Mont., before becoming a field producer at WHDH-TV in Boston. At WHDH, she produced news pieces that appeared nationally on “The Today Show.”
I'll have more on Cross and the JG's policy toward covering local media this afternoon...

UPDATE: Here's the promised "more."

Anyone who's seen Cross report or anchor knows that she's got talent and a lot of in, she won't be in Fort Wayne for long. She projects an air of professionalism that not every local anchor does (WPTA's Eric Olson is one of the few around who's got it as well), but she still needs some polish, which this steady gig ought to help with.

She has a tendency to come across as a bit serious -- not a problem in real life, but viewers seem to like their anchors (especially women) a little more warm and dare-I-say bubbly. I imagine that's something that will come as Cross becomes more comfortable in the anchor chair and she doesn't seem to be reading the prompter as much as talking to viewers. When that happens, say your goodbyes.

As for the JG, a reader already commented on this post that their coverage of this story was surprising, considering their "Partners in News" compact with WPTA. That, coupled with the fact that unless a television station closes down and fires all of its workers, it doesn't seem to merit press coverage -- and that a new weekend anchor really isn't much of a story -- makes it surprising that the JG wrote this up like they did.

Not that it's a bad thing -- a lot of people are interested in local media comings and goings (though this doesn't really qualify as either of those) and they are more relevant than some of the things that make the paper. Still, I wonder if this story was more the result of WANE sending out a press release than anything else. (The item published reeks of PR copy.) That's okay, I suppose, but I guess I favor a reporter going out and finding stories rather than getting them off the fax machine. But no one at either local paper seems to feel that way.

ALSO: The Journal Gazette can write up WANE moving one of its reporters to anchor the weekend newscast, but doesn't publish anything about a new weekly publication -- started by two professional journalists -- debuting in Fort Wayne (Overtime)? Which is more newsworthy? (And, alternately, what is the JG afraid of?)

RELATED: Cross's WANE bio

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