The ABC Owned Television Stations Group said it is starting a new community journalist program that will create local content for audiences on multiple platforms.
The stations plan to hire more than 20 journalists in the first year of the program. The first 10 will be hired by KABC-TV, in Los Angeles. The others will be located in New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Houston.
“We are always evolving how we inform and reflect the communities we serve based on the changes we see in our audiences,” said Wendy McMahon, president, ABC Owned Television Stations Group. “Interest in local content is growing rapidly and, at the same time, it’s becoming increasingly granular. With this commitment, we are re-imagining 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.”
KABC is looking for participation from local universities and other institutions to identify candidates for the Los Angeles market who will live in the communities they cover. Applicants should be proficient in newsgathering and able to 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.
“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.”
ABC Owned Television Stations recently launched the digital-first video brand Localish, which creates "good news" stories from local markets and distributes them nationally for viewers on mobile platforms.