The American Federation of Radio and Television Artists has filed a grievance with KCTV(TV) Kansas City, Mo., contending that newscast segments about CBS' Survivor were not news but product promotions for the CBS affiliate, which could have a negative impact on the professionalism and reputations of the newscasters.
A union official said the increasing synergy among broadcasters has made the newsworthiness of many such stories questionable. "Our members are concerned about being hawkers of product," said the official. While similar concerns have been voiced by AFTRA members in other markets, no other grievances have been filed, according to the union.
A spokeswoman for station owner Meredith Corp. said the company does not believe it has asked its staff to do anything outside of the contract and that the company encourages debate on the roles of journalism and marketing and takes the issue very seriously. Beyond that, the spokeswoman said, it would not comment on business related to union contracts.