The late President Lyndon B. Johnson once said “the fact that a man is a newspaper reporter is evidence of some flaw of character.”
Johnson’s comment – from an era when newspapers were still the primary source of news and information – probably offered more insight into his character and his contempt for the press than anything else. One can only imagine what LBJ would have thought about today’s bloggers, tweeters and Facebookers.
Had he lived to experience the explosion of broadcast and especially cable news, Johnson probably would have been equally disdainful about our colleagues in television news.
Or would he? After all, TV news, unlike traditional print journalism, has an undeniable popular appeal.
Even if you prefer to get your news in print or on the Web, you may turn on a local TV newscast in the morning or evening while you’re making breakfast or supper. Or maybe you tune in when you know there’s a big story breaking, or because you just like watching the men and women who do the reporting. You feel like you know them; they’ve become your friends, part of your family.
Print journalists have rarely enjoyed that sort of connection with readers. It’s a lot easier to make a connection with people when you can see their faces and hear their voices.
But thanks to a new arrangement we have with News 8 WMTW, you can now connect more closely with The Forecaster’s reporters. On Sundays, during WMTW’s new three-hour morning newscast, our reporters are joining the News 8 team to talk about the stories they’ve been covering.
In the few weeks since we launched the relationship, Peggy Roberts has twice discussed business ordinances in Scarborough, Randy Billings has been on the air to talk about Cracker Barrel coming to South Portland and runway expansion at the Portland International Jetport, and Steve Mistler joined the News 8 crew to talk about his coverage of Brunswick Naval Air Station.
We think this relationship is good for all involved. WMTW gets some help filling a three-hour news hole on Sunday morning with local stories they may not have covered during the previous week, The Forecaster gets a little publicity and you – the readers and viewers – get more information and a chance to put faces with our names.
As for our reporters, well, they get a little less sleep. (Did I mention the segments are live during the 7 a.m. half hour?)
If that’s too early for you, sleep late and set your TiVo or DVR, or go to our Web site; each week we’ll try to post a link on theforecaster.net to the most recent WMTW segment.
And if TV isn’t your thing, don’t forget there are other ways to get to know The Forecaster and its staff. Sports Editor Michael Hoffer is on WJJB “The Big Jab” (96.3/1440) every Friday at 3:45 p.m.; he also appears frequently to talk high school sports on “The Maine Rundown,” weekends on WPXT-TV. Many of us can be followed on Twitter, and we’ll soon have a Facebook fan page.
Of course, if you don’t watch TV, believe tweeting is for the birds and wouldn’t be caught dead on Facebook, you can always pick up one or more of our four weekly print editions. I promise: our roots are in print and we won’t let this TV thing go to our heads.
It’s like Edward R. Murrow, the iconic radio and television journalist, once said: “Just because your voice reaches halfway around the world, doesn’t mean you are wiser than when it reached only to the end of the bar.”