An Atlanta Journal-Constitution feature on WXIA Atlanta’s efforts to shake up news is making some noise in the local TV circles. John Deushane took over the Gannett station, a perennial number three in DMA No. 8, last month. But it’s news director Ellen Crooke who seems to be making the biggest impact in Atlanta.
Crooke is pushing for substance and solutions, not crime and house fires, in local news. She told a University of Georgia class that local news was “boring, repetitive, irrelevant and too depressing.” She’s covering politics in-depth, going long on topics with substance, and encouraging editorials on the air.
“We at 11 Alive needed to distinguish ourselves from the pack,” Crooke told the AJC. “We’re trying to seek solutions, provide information people need now.”
The newspaper offers a poll to allow readers to vote on whether WXIA’s approach is working. Notably, nearly 60% of respondents say it is, while 26% said it was “lame and desperate.”
The story has dozens of reader comments. Writes “Mike”:
Perhaps there’s still a niche in the ATL market for a station that will do REAL news. I don’t care about car wrecks and shootings. If you’re “here to help me”, tell me about the budget cuts in the local schools or the financial struggles of MARTA and who’s doing what about it.