Static: Wednesday, May 16, 2002
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
Million, Schmillion

Alert locals were asking late last year whether the May Center, Tarrant County College’s downtown administration building, might be in harm’s way. Or rather, the city’s way, since the TCC building sits on a block of prime property just across from the newly redone Fort Worth Convention Center. Part of the concern: The May Center had just been remodeled, at a cost of more than $1 million. Not to worry, TCC attorney Tom Law told Fort Worth Weekly in January. “Negotiations between the city and the district have saved it from that fate.”

Oops. It now seems that this property is on the short list — and always has been — as the most favored location for the convention center hotel that Fort Worth is planning to build, city planning director Fernando Costa said recently. So much for prudent use of taxpayer money.

News, Schmooze

The “media convergence” partnerships so common these days between newspapers and tv stations have a strong smell factor. The deals reduce competition and frequently dilute quality. Particularly distressing is the Fort Worth Star-Telegram’s recently announced partnership with Channel 5 to “allow the media organizations to share news content and promotional opportunities to reach a broader audience.”

A similar arrangement between the Star-T and Channel 11 recently expired. The Star-T dumped Channel 11’s quality news team, led by respected anchor Tracy Rowlett, in favor of Channel 5’s more sensationalist team led by news lightweights Mike Snyder and Jane McGarry.

The Daily Lapdog championed Channel 5’s higher ratings. “With NBC-5, it’s a greater audience,” Executive Editor Jim Witt was quoted in his paper as saying. “We believe the big thing we get is the opportunity to show off good journalism to as wide an audience as possible.” Funny, when the Star-T partnered with Channel 11 a couple of years ago, newspaper managers touted an alliance with a tv news team that led the pack in integrity but not ratings.

Channel 8 (partner and brother-in-Belo with the Dallas Morning News) is typically the most-watched local nightly news, with Channel 5 second, FOX Channel 4 third, and Channel 11 a distant fourth. However, a 2001 study showed that Channels 4, 5, and 8 stink, newswise, when compared to 11. The Columbia Journalism Review’s Project for Excellence in Journalism deemed Channel 11 the best large-market station in the country. In the study, Channel 11 earned an A, based on quality journalism, compared to Channel 5’s D. However, to the Star-Telegram, D apparently stands for dinero.

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