Wednesday, March 4, 2009

New Journalism: KRQE TV

Some time back a former TV anchor in Las Vegas, NV, remarked to me that the Albuquerque and Santa Fe media were passive. If someone would blow off a question, the locals just let it drop. In Las Vegas, she said, there was a pact, an unwritten professional standard, I suspect. In Las Vegas the blown off question would be repeated by the next media representative to ask a question. This went on until an answer appeared or, I suppose, until the object of the questions got frustrated and departed.
Under new news director Forrest Carr, KRQE TV has a new and refreshing approach. This is not to say that others haven't changed, too, I just haven't specifically checked. Carr spoke last week at the annual Women in Communications reverse news conference. Media people are the speakers and the audience ask questions. The topic was billed as being the economy, a topic which seemed of little interest to the audience.
Carr described KRQE's approach as "viewer advocacy." My poor note taking prompted a request for clarification. Was "viewer advocacy" the phrase, I asked via email. Yes, Carr said, capitalizing the V and the A. Here is more of his reply, "We do not advocate anyone's viewpoint, but
we will fight hard for the right of common people to be heard, and to
get a response from the powerful. Our mission, essentially, is to
champion democracy through giving voice to everyday people and helping
them hold the powerful accountable. We believe public officials,
especially elected ones, have a duty to answer public questions about
the public's business. Therefore, we often make the level of response
we get from the powerful in pursuit of the public's business a feature
of our reporting."
Gov. Bill Richardson's "level of response" on some matters has prompted further inquiry from KRQE to the his apparent annoyance. Oh, well, Governor.....

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