Slow Lane for Print-TV Merge


Almost one-third of newspapers have partnered with TV stations for newsgathering, according to a new Ball State study, but traditional defenses against aiding the competition are likely keeping most from taking advantage of the obvious cross-promotional opportunities.

Ball State surveyed 372 newspapers and found that 30% had some newsgathering relationship with a TV station. Of those, a majority (65.7%) never urge their readers to view enterprise stories also running on their TV partners, and 70% spend no time discussing how to promote the TV stations in their pages.

It will probably come as no surprise to journalists that newspapers are reluctant to let their TV station counterparts in on "exclusives," and are selective with what stories they do share.

"The majority of newspaper editors may have a difficult time working with their television counterparts simply because the two mediums are different in the delivery of news and have been competitors for more than 50 years," says Ball State Journalism Professor Larry Dailey.

Other evidence that the oil and water of traditional competitors is having a tough time mixing: Only 12% say they use common editors or assignment desks, and a majority (51%) never share costs of investigations or special projects with their partners.

"When the whole convergence process started, it was technology focused," says Daily. "Executives on both sides have spent a lot of money on equipment but didn't think how they could work across boundaries separating television stations and newspapers."

The study is the first in a three-part look at the synergies of newspapers, TV and the Web. Parts two and three are due out next year.

Ball State isn't just asking other people about synergy, though. It is trying it on for size through Newslink Indiana, which integrates various TV, radio, newspaper, cable, and online news operations and a mix of noncom and student-run outlets to give students a taste of "journalism jobs of the future."