TVs Give More in Print Synergies


The FCC may still have a rule against newspaper-TV station crossownership, but that hasn't stopped half the stations tracked in a new study from teaming up with their local paper anyway.

And many of the other half that don't have print partners said it was either because the town was too small to have a newspaper or that another station already had a relationship with the local paper.

That's according to a Ball State study of news directors about synergy, a follow-up to last year's study of newspaper editors on the same subject.

Although half may be teaming up with print partners, of those, a small percentage are "relatively committed," to the arrangement, while the rest are either still adjusting to the union or are married in name only.

And when it comes to telling the world about the arrangement, TV stations are giving a lot more than they get.

According to the study, 82.4% of news directors say they run their print partner's logo on their newscast once a week, while only 28% of newspapers editors said they put the station's logo somewhere in the paper weekly.

And while over half the news directors (54.1%) said they promote an enterprise print story weekly on their air, a mere 8.4% of newspaper editors in the 2004 study said they do the same for their broadcast partner.

And while only a quarter of the news directors (25.7%) say they haven't promoted their print partner's enterprise stories, two thirds of newspaper editors (65.7%) say they have never promoted their station partner's enterprise stories."

More than a quarter of the TV stations who responded at least once a week will supply video or still photos to a print partner who missed a story or decided not to send someone to cover it, while 21.1% of newspaper editors said they did the same.

"We would like to take the partnership further," said one TV news director respondent, "but the newspaper people have not warmed to sharing their work on the TV side."

According to at least one newspaper editor, that's because "we have yet to be convinced that a partnership with a TV station will deliver as much to us as it will to the TV station."

The results are based on 231 responses from 732 stations contacted (a 31.1% response rate).