Column Comments on Stories, posted by Editor, Pleasanton Weekly Online, on Jul 7, 2008 at 1:17 pm
Time will tell if the four mayors who voted to ax TV30's "Live at 4" news show, the Tri-Valley's only local television news programming, did the right thing for their constituents. As a cost-cutting measure, it was an easy decision. TV30's annual budget, restricted by a fixed-fee collection arrangement with Comcast, has been relatively static in recent years at about $430,000. Sponsorships, grants and some production work added enough to support a $550,000 annual budget, which the mayors just approved for fiscal 2008-09 that started July 1. TV30 was woefully overspending its budget, with the result that the mayors of the four cities the station serves--Jennifer Hosterman of Pleasanton, Marshall Kamena of Livermore, H. Abram Wilson of San Ramon and Janet Lockhart of Dublin--had to ask their city councils for emergency appropriations totaling $250,000 in 2007 and again earlier this year to keep TV30 on the air. Runaway spending at TV30 by two executive directors who came and went in as many years was much of the problem, including architectural drawings for a new studio building, which was never built, new software and broadcast equipment and a leased van. Although the improvements helped TV30 move into the digital age with more on-site reporting, costs soared to well over $250,000 for each of the last two years. Financial analysts showed the mayors that by cutting TV30 news, they could wipe out the budget excess in one swipe and balance the new budget.
Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, July 4, 2008, 12:00 AM
Posted by Joan, a resident of the Downtown neighborhood, on Jul 7, 2008 at 1:17 pm
It is a shame that we have less sources to rely on for news. I have seen major factual errors and biases in the Pleasanton Weekly. If somebody just read this paper, they would not have an acurate idea of what is going on. I cannot count how many times I have spoken with a Council member in regards to an article in the Weekly and was told "don't believe everything you read" and they corrected for me the information.
I think what is more dangerous than anything else for the Weekly is the main news writer is also the editorial staff. A legitimate paper would have completely separate staff for this. The person who writes the editorials and opinion pieces is by definition opinionated. Have that same person write news articles really makes all "news articles" in the paper opinion pieces.
Maybe we need to do what some other areas have done by hiring writers in India to watch the Council meetings on the Internet and then write up a synopsis articles. There is no reason a person in India cannot do as good of a job in reporting the news of council meetings since they are broadcast on the Internet. With VOIP (Voice Over IP) they can actually call people in Pleasanton as a follow-up at almost no cost. Then the Weekly con concentrate on what they like to do, opinions, and let an outside person write the factual news.
Posted by N. Nona Miss, a resident of Livermore, on Jul 8, 2008 at 9:10 pm
Before I even read Joan's comment above, I was going to comment on the overlap and the poor ethics when it comes to Mr. Bing being both the journalist and the opinion writer. He lets his personal relationships get in the way of accurately reporting the news. Just a few months ago, his "non-opinion" articles spoke glowingly of Glenn Davis, the man responsible for the outlandish budget problems and with two sexual harassment suits pending against him. Wow, what a great manager!
Now Jeb turns his pen towards Kevin Wing, while also throwing Bruce Goddard under the bus, blaming him in part for the budget problems. Funny, the other more reputable papers don't mention Goddard when they say the mayors blame Davis for the budget problems.
Bruce Goddard was meticulous about the budget, and as the other local papers point out, the REAL budget problems (the station always was tight on funds, as IT'S A NON-PROFIT) started when Davis got there. Let's see here, the station had to ask the cities for a quarter million dollars in BOTH of Mr. Davis's years. Hm. Coincidence.
The glowing reviews of Mr. Wing completely ignore the fact that for the twenty years prior to his arrival, the staff had just as much coverage, with more LOCAL content, and on a much, much tighter budget. Hand me down news sets and graphics designed in house. All of the people before Wing and Davis could make that newscast happen without the ridiculous budget. Why couldn't they? People were tuning in for the content, to see their neighbors on TV and what was happening in their neighborhood, NOT to see flashy graphics and national stories the reporters had to strain to turn into a local story. Part of TV producing, in fact, is sticking to a budget. As such, Wing and Davis weren't doing their jobs.
Adding the winded outcue of "with coverage you can count on, Suzie Q, TV30 News Live at Four, Pleasanton" does not a good newscast make. It was time to put the old dog out of it's misery, and luckily the mayors recognized that.
We'd still have that newscast if Glenn Davis didn't try to run a non-profit station like a commercial station.
Posted by N. Nona Miss, a resident of Livermore, on Jul 8, 2008 at 9:19 pm
Also, a little research never hurt anyone, especially not a reporter. Try it sometime. This article acts like ABC news sprung at the chance to have Wing join them. But a quick Google search reveals he's been there since 2006. Therefore, they've had him all along and didn't "snap him up" as this article would have you believe.