Powell Weighs In


Chris Powell, Managing Editor of the Journal Inquirer of Manchester, opines on Shelly Sindland’s complaint against Fox61 for his paper and the Norwich Bulletin: “…Anyone seeking to reform TV news might better start with the audience.”


  1. Chris made some interesting points in his opinion piece and I think he’s right. Part of the problem resides with today’s viewing audience – short attention spans and the desire to be entertained rather than informed. The problem with the Fox61/Hartford Courant situation is having the TV people in charge. The Courant is printing less news than ever these days. Maybe it’s time for a savvy competitor to move into the market?

    By the way, I have noticed that WFSB is giving Hallie Jackson more air time.

  2. There’s another reality: Newsreading isn’t much of a profession.

    For those that grew up on Morrow or Cronkite and the ‘branding’ of news that may be a shock. What we’ve seen proven over the last 20 years is that the viewers come back despite changes in new readers.

    The young ones on the make (male of female) tend to be more enthusiastic and read ‘better’. There’s a sense of disinterest in many of the older ‘readers’.

    News readers have turned into a low cost commodity product. Sure Don Henley’s ‘bubble-headed bleach blonde’ from ‘Dirty Laundry’ is the archetype but the real question is what kind of career is news reading when the skills can be mastered so easily?

    I can’t think of another ‘profession’ where the skills and growth are so static. Doctors, Accountants, IT Specialists, etc. learn more about their subject areas each year, gain wisdom, and age adds some depth of judgement.

    News Readers? They never get better than their first couple days on the job.

  3. While I usually respect (and even often agree with) Chris Powell’s opinion pieces, he misses the mark on this one.

    While not passing judgment on the merits of Shelly Sindland’s complaint, Chris’ “that’s just the way it is” mentality is troubling. He makes accurate observations about the state of TV news (and news in general). However, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t strive to do–and be– better.

    Also specious is Chris’ argument that news consumers are content to see pretty, young talking heads irrespective of his or her ability.

    Back when I was starting out as a reporter, I had a news director who used to say, “The masses are asses.” I hated the phrase then and still disagree with it now.