Monday, February 12, 2007

UHF station to try 'citizen journalism'

Clear Channel-owned KFTY-TV Channel 50 in Santa Rosa, which abruptly canceled its money-losing newscasts Jan. 26, is now getting some ink for its plans to solicit news reports programming from its viewers. The Chron reports in a front-page story Sunday that media executives nationwide are eager to see whether the independent UHF station can make money from citizen journalism. Clear Channel's Steve Spendlove (pictured) plans to ask people in the community -- its independent filmmakers, its college students and professors, its civic leaders and others -- to provide programming for the station.

Of course local TV stations accept video from viewers from all the time, and use it if its newsworthy -- things like plane crashes and car wrecks. "If there's breaking news, we want to hear from people," said CBS5 News Director Dan Rosenheim. "But beyond that, we want to rely on our own people. It's a quality control issue." NBC11, however, has given digital still cameras to a dozen viewers, including an injured Iraqi war veteran and a gravedigger. Editors and reporters at the station reviewed the pictures, then returned to interview the subjects and told a "Moving Pictures" story based on the still images. (Photo by Gary Kazanjian, special to the Chronicle.)

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