USA Today Live8/13/2000 08:00:00 PM Eastern
Gannett's 22 TV stations are filling their news holes with some help from co-owned national newspaper USA Today. Indeed, USA Today Live, a special TV production unit, now supplies stations with news and features. The unit operates out of USA Today headquarters in Arlington, Va., and has been feeding material to the Gannett group since May.
"What we produce is all based on content from USA Today,'' explains Dick Moore, managing editor of USA Today Live. A satellite feed goes out every day, but the number of stories varies from day to day, says Moore. Stations pick and choose what, if anything, they want to air. (USA Today Live stories can also be found on USATODAY.com.)
For example, last month when the Concorde crashed, USA Today reporters following the story were also available to do live interviews. Moore says at least six stations interviewed USA Today reporters. In addition, two other segments unrelated to the plane crash were fed to Gannett stations for use the next morning. One story was based on a USA Today feature about people trained to perform CPR on pets, and another piece was from a multipart article on coastal development.
"We use USA Today Live every day. The packages are top notch,'' says Mark Raines, news director at Gannett's KTHV(TV) Little Rock, Ark. "It serves two purposes: It gives us some new and different material for our newscast. And it helps promote people to USA Today. It has been really great for us; this gives us something a whole lot different than what we get from CBS [Newspath] and CNN [Newsource].''
During the Republican convention, USA Today Live provided KTHV(TV) and other Gannett stations with live shots and access to USA Today columnists who were there. The same is planned for the Democratic convention.-K.M.