What's this blog really about?

You may notice a variety of topics here - from business, to charity promotion, even to local news, but the primary reason this blog was created was to alert readers to the hostile atmosphere and sexual harassment at The Danville Register & Bee. The readers and creator of this blog want a FULL FRONT PAGE apology in the Danville Register & Bee, plus the disciplining of those individuals involved. Until then, we'll continue to post regular updates. To tolerate THIS kind of behavior by a major media network is intolerable. And this isn't just ONE instance. Media General has been sued nationwide for racism and sexism, yet they CONTINUE to keep the offenders employed. Why? And why am I doing this? TRUTH compels me.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Media General in trouble AGAIN??!! Cheap news

Stop Big Media continues to hound Media General - as they should. Media General managed to slide in under a cross-ownership ban in 1975, and is now using that platform to combine news yet degrade quality. Stop Big Media focuses on Media General in Tampa: ‘Convergence’ Equals Layoffs in this latest post. Click here to read it at the Stop Big Media site. or here it is in its entirety.

Just in time for the FCC Tampa hearing, conglomerate Media General, which owns both the Tampa Tribune and WFLA Channel 8, has cut 70 newspaper staff from its payroll.

According to an Associated Press report, the cost-cutting measures include consolidation and outsourcing of certain “unspecified operations” and combining sections of the paper.

Media General’s ownership of the Tribune and WFLA was grandfathered under the 1975 cross-ownership ban, which prohibits a company from owning a daily newspaper and a television station or a radio station in the same market.

The Virginia-based conglomerate has put its Tampa newspaper in the same building with its television station and online operation, “the better to exchange stories and, ostensibly, resources.”

This inbred relationship between newsrooms has degraded both coverage and staffing. Spokespeople for the media giant like to sugar coat these sorts of cost cutting efforts with terms like “convergence” and “synergy.” In reality they translate to mean layoffs and cheapened news.

In 2003, WFLA was chastised in national media for its outrageous practice of charging guests $2,500 to appear with the program’s hosts on its news magazine show, “Daytime.” But the Tribune took a “kinder and gentler” approach to the story, rushing in to defend “Daytime” as an “advertiser-driven talk show” with “no journalism elements.”

The news conglomerate chose to ignore standing FCC statutes that prohibit such on-air shilling without disclosure — as evidenced by its decision in October 2006 to air a “video news release” (a prepackage corporate press release dressed up to look like local news) prepared by the American College of Physicians.

One Tribune TV critic reported that editors “forced him to lay off criticism of WFLA for nearly a year prior to the opening of the News Center [which is the name for the building that houses the Tribune and WFLA news operations], supposedly to avoid ill will between the staffs.”

Examples of the Media General’s approach to “convergence” in Tampa make a solid case for retaining the newspaper/broadcast cross-ownership rule that prevents these types of abuses from occurring elsewhere.

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