WIUM Tristates Public Radio

TV Stations Localizing Packaged Material

Dec 18, 2012

The panelists discuss a Washington Post article about how local TV stations across the country end up broadcasting the identical story.

The newspaper reported the packages come from a centralized affiliate service. “Stations not only get prepackaged footage from such services, but a script that introduces the footage, as well. Stations then ‘localize’ the canned package by having one of their anchors read the one-size-fits-all copy,” wrote Paul Farhi.

Farhi reported the source of the story is never cited.

The practice has been mocked by the Conan O’Brien Show, which has edited together clips of local news anchors reading the same lead. Each anchor has his/her own twist on how the lines should be performed.

The Shop Talk panelists think it’s vital for news organizations to be as transparent as possible with their audience. TV stations that pass off packaged pieces as their own work fail the transparency test.