Life Swap

More newspaper reporters are taking the leap to TV -- a move some print pros still see as consorting with the enemy.

Brennan's learning curve is likely to be even steeper than it's been for Herdy. He was on retainer with ABC News for eighteen months in 1999 and 2000 as a consultant about the JonBenét Ramsey case, which he'd covered extensively for the Rocky, and briefed Barbara Walters before she interviewed John and Patsy Ramsey for a special hyping their book The Death of Innocence. That, along with several appearances on Larry King Live and other programs to talk JonBenét, constitutes his television experience.

Nevertheless, Brennan was recently contacted about a non-print job -- he's coy about saying anything more than that -- and called a friend, Channel 31 reporter Julie Hayden, to ask her advice. Hayden told him there was an investigative-reporter opening at Fox and encouraged him to look into it -- and Remington was receptive, despite Brennan's extremely limited TV-journalism resumé. Right now, Remington isn't sure whether Brennan will spend the majority of his time on camera or behind it. "This is like drafting the best-available athlete," he says. "Wherever we put him on the field, good things will happen."

For his part, Brennan says he's excited by the challenge of trying something new, and he likes the job security of television in comparison to print. "There is a lot of uncertainty in the newspaper industry at large," he says. "It looks to me that the Rocky is making smart decisions -- time will tell. But with things the way they are, it would have been foolish not to talk to the people who approached me. At this stage of my career, it's a wonderful thing to fall in my lap."

Amy Herdy is happy with her switch from the Post to 9News.
Anthony Camera
Amy Herdy is happy with her switch from the Post to 9News.

Thanks to Channel 31's beefed-up website, Brennan will be able to keep using his long-form writing skills -- and Herdy doubts his style will be cramped when penning on-air scripts, whose brevity is being emulated by more and more newspapers. While at the Post, she says, "I'd have stories with all kinds of detail, and an editor would say, 'Give me twelve inches on that.' So there's not that much difference anymore."

Even so, Channel 9's Adam Schrager, who concentrated on print at the University of Michigan before embracing TV, emphasizes that the formats require diverse techniques. "Newspaper writers have to describe what's going on," he says. "But in television, you don't have to tell people what they're seeing. You have to enhance what they're seeing."

When TV reporters are able to do so, Schrager feels their efforts are every bit as valuable as first-rate newspaper reporting -- and he isn't about to let those who believe otherwise to win without a fight. "There's a general sense among print journalists that broadcast journalists are lesser," he says, "and I work every day to dispel that notion."

In Herdy's opinion, that goal hasn't been accomplished yet. She gets the sense that some of her onetime Post comrades think that by moving to television, she's selling herself short. She sums up their reactions in one word: "snobbery."

That's a scourge of God, too. More newspaper reporters are taking the leap to TV -- a move some print pros still see as consorting with the enemy.

« Previous Page
 |
 
1
 
2
 
All
 
My Voice Nation Help
0 comments
 
Loading...