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Fox News and ABC-15 to Combine Some Newsgathering Functions; Such a Move "Unimaginable" in Past

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In a sign that TV stations aren't much better off in this new media world than daily newspapers, Fox and Scripps stations in Phoenix, Detroit and Tampa are now working together to produce news.

Locally, the collaboration means that news teams for "My Fox Phoenix," (KSAZ-TV), the local Fox affiliate and ABC-15 News (KNXV-TV) will work -- at least some of the time -- under a common "news management service" that will, according to the above-linked news release:


... autonomously identify the stories to be covered each day and make arrangements to collect and deliver the video back to each of the participating stations.  Each station will then decide how to use the video adding their own reporting and editorial style.


In other words, watch Channel 10 or Channel 15 -- they'll have the exact same pictures.

If you want a different angle or different video on the same news story, well, your options have just dwindled -- despite the pap about "adding their own" yadda-yadda. The video shot by the common service will undoubtedly define some of the coverage.

Plus, in an internal Scripps memo from last week from Brian Lawlor, Scripps' senior vice president of television, about the change, it's clear they'll be sharing more than just video. Read how Lawlor tells employees to "keep an open mind" to a change that "may have been unimaginable" in the past:

Dear Colleagues,

Unique local content is what is going to differentiate the Scripps television stations in each of our markets. That premise is at the foundation of our commitment to the "Newsroom of the Future." Drilling deeper into our communities, getting more people on the street creating content, and sharing that content across multiple platforms is how our local news brands will stand out from our competitors in our local markets.

It is with that vision in mind that I am proud to announce today a partnership with NewsCorp's Fox television stations in three of our markets. In Detroit, Phoenix and Tampa, Scripps and the Fox stations have created a "Local News Service" (LNS) that will serve as the foundation for a joint newsgathering partnership. In these markets we will be combining resources that will minimize duplication of staff and equipment at routine news events such as press conferences and athletic events. Video shot by an LNS photoapher will be shared and owned by both stations, and available for distribution on all platforms. It is very possible that additional stations will join the LNS in each of these three marekts.

By sharing resources at many of these routine events, our Scripps stations will have more of our news staff available to cover stories that would have previously been passed over due to lack of resources. We will now have the people and time to more effectively tell the stories that are at the heart of our local communities.

In previous years it may have been unimagineable to consider sharing resources and video with a direct competitor. It is clearly a new day, and we need to evalute efficiencies and distribution opportunities that allow us to better serve our entire communities and become the predominant news brand in our local markets. I believe this partnership is the perfect complement to the "Newroom of the Future" in these three markets and will allow our depth of coverage in Detroit, Phoenix and Tampa to be more complete than ever.

I hope you will keep an open mind to this new opportunity and consider the tremendous opportunities that lie ahead with our local coverage.





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