I read a newspaper article yesterday about Katie Couric leaving NBC for CBS. It was published in the local paper of the city I work in which has a few network affiliates. A few passages into it, I realized that this was not an Associated Press piece, but one written for the paper by one of its own writers. There were a few paragraphs at the start of it detailing Couric's move. Then the rest of the story was dominated by quotes from Katie's "peers" about town at the various local news stations.
This type of journalism bugs me. A national story gets press in a smaller city only as a way to promote something locally. I'm behind running an AP article as well as an article showing the views of local newspeople. But when the focus becomes about how a national story affects a smaller area, I can't stand it. Why are these area broadcasters considered "peers"? To my knowledge, none of them have hosted a nationally broadcast morning magazine show. They do fine work, but they certainly aren't on the same level or even in the same genre as Couric.
I chalk it up to the "little city that wants to be big" syndrome. This happened a lot when I lived in South Florida in the mid to late nineties. When a sudden national story would hit (natural disaster, bombing, etc.), inevitably the local network affiliates would make the briefest mention of this headline, then immediately detail how it affected a local citizen who had the thinnest connection imaginable to the whole affair. It played out like 360 Degrees of Separation.
My personal favorite was when a Palm Beach affiliate, faced with leading off their broadcast with a national story (that all of the other stations were starting with), decided to postpone that until the news of a Shar Pei being mauled to death by another dog in a private kennel was related. I wish I could remember what the bigger story was, but I was so pissed off at the audacity of the station that it is now gone from my memory.
There is room enough for local and national news in our area broadcasts. Can't we just give them each their equal due?