From Broadcast & Cable:
“The often fractious relationship between Old and New Media has been on display at WKRN Nashville, an ABC affiliate owned by Young Broadcasting. The station’s efforts to modernize its newsgathering and connect with viewers online have garnered widespread praise. But the recent departures of several architects of that strategy have thrown into question the station’s commitment to digital innovation for the future.
WKRN began in the past few years to demonstrate a nimble, progressive approach to the new-media landscape. Under the leadership of President/General Manager Mike Sechrist, the station worked with video journalist (VJ) guru Michael Rosenblum to train reporters to produce and edit their stories with lightweight digital gear.
In February, the station launched NashvilleisTalking.com, an aggregation of Web logs that tapped the insights of numerous independent bloggers in the Nashville market. Staffers, including Sechrist, blogged regularly on topics ranging from sports to weather to the news business itself.
“The people who ran WKRN were really smart and did it on a shoestring budget,” says Gordon Borrell, CEO of media-research firm Borrell Associates, which has consulted for WKRN. “They did it without permission from Young and built something great.”
“There seems to be a real rub between those running interactive operations and the big traditional media companies,” says Borrell, “and [the media companies’] inability to move fast enough to satisfy those people.”
And while some insist the turnover at WKRN isn’t extraordinary for a middling station, others suggest there was a philosophical clash between Sechrist and Co. and their corporate bosses at Young.
Says one news veteran who asked not to be named, “They tried something new, it didn’t seem to have an immediate payoff, and they agreed to go their separate ways.”