Thursday, May 14, 2009

Boston News Media: Misery Loves Company

In the wake of the highly publicized ongoing coverage of the financial travails of The Boston Globe under the yoke of its owner, The New York Times, and accounts of staff cutbacks at The Boston Phoenix and Gatehouse-owned newspapers, comes the report that Boston television journalists are not faring much better than their ink-stained brethren. BIA Financial Network, a financial and advisory firm in Chantilly, Virginia, claims that advertising revenues for Boston television stations declined by 13 percent last year, twice the national average. The sour economy has caused automakers and the retail and furniture industries, among others, to scale back on tv ads. Also, companies are looking to the Internet and alternative marketing outlets to get more bang for their advertising bucks. A consequence of sagging revenues has been long-time "name" tv journalists in Boston being shown the door, including sportscaster Bob Lobel and arts critic Joyce Kulhawik at WBZ-TV and Randy Price at WHDH-TV. Local television news viewership continues to drop, resulting in shrinking news budgets and staff. Sadly, that translates into more "news" stories about the stars of network entertainment programs. Cue the water-skiing squirrel story.

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