Sunday, August 30, 2009

Anchors to Skank-ers

I can't take credit for the headline. It came from The Latest Word blog in Denver. See, the two apparently aspiring Playboy Playmates are actually television news anchors posing on the September cover of Denver Magazine.

Did their bosses at KDVR-TV recoil in horror when they saw it? Fire them for violating their contracts' morals clause? Accuse them of bringing "the station into public disrepute, contempt and ridicule"?

No. They put more images from the photo shoot on the station's website.

Any publicity is good publicity, right? At least no one will accuse them of knowing what the Enola Gay is.

Granted KDVR appears to target the Jerry Springer audience and you do have to shout your to be heard over the chorus of crying children in the double-wide. The station's sassy attitude shows up in the poll question on asking what suspended Broncos wide receiver Brandon Marshall should wear to the season's opening game.

The answer choices are:
      * A Denver Broncos jersey
      * Some other team's jersey
      * A diaper
We're not talking about people who claim to be carrying on Walter Cronkite's legacy here. So it's not a terrible surprise that the collective response, as summarized by Denver Post television critic Joanne Ostrow, is, "so what?"

True enough, as more people share more of themselves on line — through blogs, Facebook and Twitter — and as TV stations use those same tools to try to reach their audiences, stations are going to have to allow employees more freedom to express themselves outside of station controlled outlets.

That's quite a change since 2003 when I had to insist on language inserted into my contract with WCPO-TV that allowed me to have my website. The standard contract specifically prohibited employees from having any web presence without the general manager's approval.

I don't know how a station could do that now.

Who knows? If audiences don't mind, stations will grow more tolerant of people's extra-journalism pursuits — especially since they don't seem all that encouraging of their journalism pursuits. Maybe one local TV weather guesser won't need to hide a co-starring role in the movie "Assault of the Killer Bimbos."

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