The Rocky Mountain News is hardly the only news organization saving a few bucks by pushing staffers to tackle tasks outside their area of specialty -- the topic of a May 6 More Messages blog. On May 8, viewers who tuned in Channel 4's morning show saw traffic expert Lynn Carey (pictured), who can usually be found standing before street maps in the CBS affiliate's studio, on location in Arapahoe County, updating the latest developments in the trial of Sir Mario Owens, who's facing a first-degree-murder charge in the 2005 killings of Javad Marshall-Fields and Vivian Wolfe.
Clearly, this tale has nothing to do with blocked intersections or road-construction projects. But there's another reason that assigning Carey to cover the story is unusual: She has little background in news reporting.
According to Carey's Channel 4 bio, she's got a degree in communication from Rockmount College, now known as Colorado Christian University, and subsequently worked as a morning announcer on Kingdom Radio, at 1550 AM, before signing up with the Metro Traffic radio service. However, a 2001 Best of Denver award that named her Best Eye in the Sky notes a portion of her resume that Channel 4 left out -- her two decades in the restaurant industry. "She spent twenty years working as a waitress at such places as McCormick's Fish House & Bar and Dixons Downtown Grille (she still subs at the Edgewater Inn on occasion), and she brings a waitperson's mentality to the traffic beat," the enthusiastic blurb notes.
As this item implies, Carey is a woman of many talents, and she did a highly professional job in reporting about the Owens trial. Nevertheless, her work on the story suggests that Channel 4 is stretching its staff as far as possible due to tight finances. As noted in this April 17 Message column, the station recently announced a small round of layoffs.
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In tough times for the media, it pays to be a multi-tasker. -- Michael Roberts