AR&D releases “Live. Local. BROKEN News.”

The cover of Live. Local. BROKEN News.On the eve of perhaps the most important NAB/RTNDA conference ever, AR&D is publishing a one-of-a-kind guide that details our unique vision for local television in the wake of disruptive innovations to the business. Live. Local. BROKEN News. The Re-engineering of Local TV went on sale yesterday at AR&D’s website and (they got the authors wrong on Amazon. I wrote some chapters, but it was a collaborative effort. Copies will also available at the RTNDA bookstore at the conference in Las Vegas.

The project has been in development for the past year and is the combined thinking of some of the best minds in broadcasting, the senior strategists at AR&D. “We took a real hard look at the realities confronting local TV,” said AR&D president Jerry Gumbert, “and found a lot of worried people and little hope.” “As an industry,” he continued, “we’re very good at copying others, but what happens when there’s no one to copy? Somebody needed to step forward with a real vision, and that’s what we’ve done here.”

The vision is both sweeping in its scope yet practical in its details, touching every facet of our business. Gone is the star anchor, to be replaced by the news department’s “chief journalist.” From the front office to the news director’s chair, the industry needs leaders, not managers, and Live. Local. BROKEN News. defines what that means. The book examines revenue opportunities beyond the broadcast signal and reveals the workflow transformation process for functioning in a new news cycle that we call “unfinished to finished news.” The “Content Center” runs everything and works with multimedia journalists to guide and shape the multi-platform, multi-disciplined output of the shop.

From management to street reporters, we’ve tried to present a clear picture of the new responsibilities and skills necessary to meet the challenges of change with a sense of guidance, passion and purpose. The book also looks at the evolving new tools that technology brings to the newsgathering table and even explores new roles for meteorologists and sportscasters.

Outgoing RTNDA President Barbara Cochran — who has watched the evolution of television and TV news — said that the book comes at a crucial time, when everyone is trying to “figure out” how to reinvent local TV. “The specifics are here,” she commented, “but the overall message is loud and clear. Now is the time for leaders, not managers. It’s not enough to do more with less; we must be bold enough to lead change while preserving the core values of sound journalism.”

Publishing a book of this nature as a collaborative effort is a daunting task. Individual chapters were assigned, and then passed through layers of editors to insure a similar “voice.” It has been my honor and privilege to be a part of the process, because I honestly believe this book can serve as the roadmap that the industry needs to jump start reinvention across-the-board. The book is so rich in terms of ideas and how they’re presented that it will likely become a standard textbook at television and journalism schools everywhere.

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