Unease at WNBC Over 24/7 News Venture
The mood inside WNBC, the force behind the 24/7 New York news channel NBC is launching later this fall, is a bit anxious, reports Crain’s New York. People’s will be changed, and perhaps lost altogether, as NBC staffs its multiplatform news outlet.
Morale has plummeted as longtime writers and producers have been told to apply for new jobs as “content producers”—with no guarantee that they’ll be hired or paid the same salary they make now. Some are bound to be fired, since management plans to reduce the head count, insiders say.
The changes are coming at a time when the newsroom already feels under siege. Anchors have been let go or reassigned, top reporters have taken pay cuts and producers have been told to turn all stories around in a single day, a source says.
Keep in mind there’s always a ton of staffer unease when their day-to-day gets turned upside down, and reporter Matthew Flamm’s insider sources are unnamed.
WNBC General Manager Tom O’Brien says the project looks very promising. He says "the content center will be the most advanced local TV newsroom in the city. He also insists that journalistic quality will only improve as the newsroom is organized to produce content simultaneously for different platforms, including screens inside taxi cabs and a 24 hour news channel set to debut around the end of the year."
Vickie Burns is heading up news as the as-yet untitled cable channel, which looks like a November launch.
“This is the next step in WNBC’s mission to diversify its operations and become the leading multi-platform content provider for the New York market,” NBC Local Media Division president John Wallace said when the plans were revealed in May. “In order to remain successful, local stations must put the appropriate weight on the additional platforms beyond their core television station. Consumers are demanding relevant content, round-the-clock, on the platform of their choice. This new structure better positions us to meet that demand in a way that’s synonymous with the WNBC brand.”