ABC Owned Television Stations Group Commits to Hiring 20+ Community Journalists Across the Country, Expanding Hyperlocal Coverage in Their Eight Station Markets
Continuing to build on the strength of their leading local news and information brands, the ABC Owned Television Stations Group announced today a new Community Journalist program to create a core of reporters focused on expanding the breadth of content produced for the stations' multiplatform audiences. The announcement was made today by Wendy McMahon, president, ABC Owned Television Stations Group, during her appearance at the Paley Center for Media's State of Local News event in New York.
"We are always evolving how we inform and reflect the communities we serve based on the changes we see in our audiences," added Wendy. "Interest in local content is growing rapidly and, at the same time, it's becoming increasingly granular. With this commitment, we are reimaging the future of local newsgathering to more strategically meet those demands and to ensure that we continue to be the leaders in our local markets."
The ABC owned stations plan to hire over 20 journalists in the first year in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Houston. KABC in Los Angeles will kick off the program by hiring 10 Community Journalists to embed in local communities. "Our idea is to 'make SoCal small' by enhancing and broadening our coverage to create a deeper, more authentic local connection," said Cheryl Fair, president and general manager, KABC. "We want these reporters to truly engage with and be a part of the communities they cover."
KABC will elicit participation from across local universities and other sources to identify ideal candidates for the Los Angeles market who will live in the communities they cover. Each will be proficient in newsgathering to identify, shoot, edit and publish stories for digital, social and linear distribution. The University of Southern California's Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism has already committed to recruiting graduates to the program as well as providing ongoing mentoring and training for this entry-level workforce.
The Community Journalists program is part of ABC Owned Television Stations Group's ongoing efforts around the power and appeal of local. TRUST in local news is at historic highs according to the 2018 Poynter Media TRUST Survey. Viewers' demand for authentic and relevant local storytelling inspired the ABC OTVS' recent launch of the digital-first video brand "Localish" that brings out the good in America's cities with locally sourced stories that resonate nationally. Series in the Localish brand have garnered more than 20 million views since the initiative's summer launch. Community Journalists will have the opportunity to contribute to the Localish series.
ABC OTVS' focus on local is part of the group's successful strategy in bringing contextual content to viewers where they consume their news. For the past broadcast season and the 10th straight year, the ABC Owned Television Stations are collectively the No. 1 local newscasts in A25-54. 1 The ABC OTVS are also the No. 1 TV station group for Unique Multiplatform Video Viewers 2 and have the No. 1 social brands in their markets collectively as compared to their local station rivals. 3 The stations are
the No. 1 digital video brands versus their traditional competitive set, achieving historic 20 consecutive months of YoY growth with more than half a billion views on this year on their websites.