Regime change could signal news shift at Channel 3

Bang — right there.

Top-of-the-news teasers at 11 p.m. on News-3: drive-by shooting of a local 8-year-old; Texas mother decapitates and cannibalizes her infant; the economy triggers insomnia among anxious Americans.

Lured with brutality and anxiety. Two about assaults on children, one unspeakably horrifying. Two of three not local. All of them negative.

Lacking vivid visuals of human misery, what wasn’t teased? Jobs for Las Vegans — 300 of them — when two new Target stores open.

Bang — right there. The terminal brain cancer of TV news: stubborn reliance on leads-that-bleed stories that should be covered without being the grisly bait to hook us. How to reverse the reflex? Hire a new honcho. But can instincts that are so ingrained be retrained? Let’s backtrack:

Channel 3 news director Deborah Clayton was fired last Friday from a newsroom awash in discontent (assistant news director Kim Sherwood and executive producer Miles Smith are interim captains of this unsteady ship). They’ve averaged a new news chief every 21/2 years over the past decade. Insiders cite a raft of complaints to this columnist:

Clayton, a station vet made newsroom ruler in 2007, was widely considered unprepared for the News 3 throne; deep budget slashing and departing staffers, soon to include anchor Mitch Truswell, whose contract wasn’t renewed, while retaining unseasoned reporters; ratings nose dive — 6 p.m. is their sole newscast topping the Nielsens, while the 4 p.m. news has been thumped by the likes of “Judge Joe Brown”; meddling by owner Jim Rogers; and swapping half of the noon news for infomercials.

True? Untrue? We ran it by G.M. Lisa Howfield:

Why was Clayton canned? “I can’t talk about personnel matters.” Morale in free fall? “I’ve heard from some that it’s great.” Decimated budget? “It’s tough for everyone in this economy.” Reporters who amount to rookies in a midsize market? “I don’t think that’s true.” Rogers’ editorial involvement? “I don’t believe that’s true.”

Ratings reversals? “That’s true. Every year I say, ‘This must be the year NBC gives us a breakout (lead-in).’ But I hate to fall back on that excuse. You have to deliver a good news product.”

Reaction to rumors? “I’d better spend more time in the news department.” Each issue is more complex than outlined here, but bottom-lining it: News-3 should be Watching Out for Themselves.

This column offered suggestions for overhauling the archaic news model: interactive elements, pundits, upbeat news, trading high story counts for in-depth reports. Any interest from a new newsroom navigator? Might they demote the sensational and promote the informational?

“We have to change,” Howfield concedes. “We need to find a new, improved way to do local news.”

With a touch of healthy skepticism but a ton of genuine optimism, we say an utterly sincere … thank you.

Contact reporter Steve Bornfeld at sbornfeld@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0256.

ad-high_impact_4
Entertainment
Nevada Ballet Theatre rehearses for "Dracula" at The Smith Center
Nevada Ballet Theatre rehearses for "Dracula" at The Smith Center (Janna Karel/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Downtown Summerlin hosts its annual Festival of Arts
People crowd to Downtown Summerlin for the 23rd annual Summerlin Festival of Arts in Las Vegas, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018. (Caroline Brehman/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bellagio, MGM Resorts International’s luxury hotel turns 20
The more than 3,000-room Bellagio hotel is situated on the site of the former Dunes Hotel. The Dunes was imploded in 1993, and construction of the Bellagio started in 1996. It cost $1.6 billion to build, making it the most expensive hotel in the world at the time. The Bellagio was former Wynn Resorts Ltd. Chairman and CEO Steve Wynn’s second major casino on the Strip after The Mirage. MGM Resorts International acquired the property from Steve Wynn in 2000. (Tara Mack/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Recycled Art and Cute Dogs at Summerlin Festival Of Arts
Recycled Art, Cute Dogs Abound At Summerlin Festival Of Arts (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bellagio Patisserie Creates Life-size Sculpture Of 20th Anniversary Of Cirque Du Soleil Show
Bellagio Patisserie Creates Life-size Sculpture Of 20th Anniversary Of Cirque Du Soleil Show (Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
10 Most Iconic Moments At The Bellagio Fountains
10 Most Iconic Moments At The Bellagio Fountains (Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Jason Aldean talks about the possibility of a Las Vegas residency
Country superstar Jason Aldean discusses his feelings about playing in Las Vegas and says he'd be interested in a Las Vegas residency when the time is right at the iHeart Radio Music Festival in Las Vegas on September 21, 2018.(John Katsilometes/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Block 16 Urban Food Hall Serves Favorite Foods From Across The US
Block 16 Urban Food Hall Serves Favorite Foods From Across The US (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Benny the Skating Dog could be the next Golden Knights on-ice entertainment
Benny the Skating Dog could be the next Golden Knights on-ice entertainment (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Who To Watch At Life Is Beautiful
Life Is Beautiful Setup
Workers preparing Fremont street for this weekend's Life is Beautiful festival, on Wednesday, September 19, 2018. Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal
The 46th annual Greek Food Festival will feed 25,000 people in Las Vegas
Madame Tussauds Has The Newest VR Experience On The Strip
Madame Tussauds Has The Newest VR Experience On The Strip. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Zia Records Move
Zias Records is moving from its Sahara Avenue and Arville Street location to a bigger store. (Mat Luscheck/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Students At The International Contortion Convention In Las Vegas Learn How To Bend And Twist Their Bodies
Students At The International Contortion Convention In Las Vegas Learn How To Bend And Twist Their Bodies. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Video from Fertitta wedding Sep. 1
video from @wedstagrams of Fertitta wedding at Red Rock Resort
You Can Get Vegan Unicorn Toast In Downtown Las Vegas
You Can Get Vegan Unicorn Toast In Downtown Las Vegas (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Five must-see bands at Psycho Las Vegas 2018
Five must-see bands at Psycho Las Vegas 2018
Zuma's Ice Cube Carving Is Satisfying To Watch
Zuma's Ice Cube Carving Is Satisfying To Watch (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Therapy In Downtown Las Vegas Serves Cast Iron S'mores
Therapy In Downtown Las Vegas Serves Cast Iron S'mores. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like