KCRG-TV Owners Do “Platform” Journalism

Newspaper, TV station and online reporters are centralized
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CEDAR RAPIDS, IOWA: KCRG-TV in East-Central Iowa is tagged “your 24/7 news source,” even though it has no reporters per se. KCRG’s stories come from a centralized content room the station shares with The Gazette. Both are owned by Gazette Communications, which feeds them and its online operations from the content room, according to Editor & Publisher. None of the three operational divisions have control over the content room, and all have to compete for stories.

The content room is physically located in The Gazette building. There, around 70 journalists turn out material for KCRG’s newscast, the newspaper and for GazetteOnline.com.

Today’s lead story on the TV station Web site and GazetteOnline.com is about county supervisors getting feedback on restoring office space lost in last year’s devastating floods. Local headlines on both are heavy with crime and car crashes; features are somewhat diverse and the layouts are slightly different, with the TV site being much more dense with story links.

The Editor & Publisher piece didn’t go into why Gazette Communications centralized its news operations, though cost savings is likely the driver. One outcome is that the news outlets end up competing with one another rather than developing complementary operations. E&P cited one instance where the Web site posted a story slated for next day’s newspaper. In a separate instance, however, online feedback was folded into the newspaper’s version of another story.

Gazette editor Lynn Muller told E&P that the content room was “still an experiment.”

“Multi-platform ‘Content Room’ Puts Journos in New Roles,” is available atEditor & Publisher.