Saturday, April 12, 2008

Making my move to a bigger market .. sort of

I can't believe I'm actually writing these words .. but I've found a home as part of the news team at WUSA-TV (CBS) in Washington D.C.

It's not a move I thought I'd ever make .. in fact, it's not a job I was pursuing .. yet last Monday night after the NCAA Championship game signed off, I made my D.C. debut.

Imagine my surprise when a story I researched, wrote, and reported for WKYC in February was shown on the very station I was watching while laying in a hotel bed during my son's school trip. The story included an exclusive interview with a local teacher who'd gone to prison for crossing the line with students.

Here's my original story as it aired on Feb. 6th on WKYC-TV .. click here.

Now, here's my story as it played Monday on WUSA-TV ... click here.

Do you notice my voice sounds quite a bit deeper in our nation's capital? That's because it's not my voice. WUSA took my story, took out all of the Akron references, and re-voiced it with their own anchor. Presto! Instant local news story.

The bottom line is that Gannett owns WKYC and WUSA and 20 other TV stations .. and we often share some of our better stories with one another. Sometimes the borrowing station will air the video in its entirety and other times one of their local news team members will re-voice the story as their own.

The practice happens all the time .. and makes a lot of sense in the big picture of the broadcast world. I've had my stories air on NBC, CNN and other local affiliates with someone else re-telling my words .. and sometimes even re-writing it to fit their own style. I've been on the other end as well .. re-voicing a national news story to give it a local connection.

Still .. I'd never been out of town as a viewer .. and actually seen one of my stories air someone. It's kind of surreal.

In reality, it's flattering that other TV stations think enough of my story to play it on their air. The teacher-pedophile story drew a lot of attention in February here in NE Ohio, and it's certainly an issue in other parts of the country.

WUSA did give me credit in the web copy version of the story .. but I'm not holding my breath that a check is on its way any time soon.

As for WKYC, I'm staying put .. because there's no place like home .. and there's no place else I'd rather be.


Anonymous said...


I have read this three times to make sure . . . this post really makes it sound sound as if you are leaving NE Ohio. You don't seem to disavow it later in the post, either. I guess it is inevitable that you will eventually leave, but must you break our hearts in this way?

albie061976 said...

I agree from the previous poster...
It does sound like you are leaving the NE Ohio Market

Christine said...

Your headline scared me to death; I had to reread the post twice myself. Glad you are giving us some inside info about how the news is written and it sure makes us proud and happy for you but I hope you stay here with us in Akron Eric. We would miss you and your caring journalism too much that we would never recover. I know that is selfish but we would be happy for you just the same. Take care and as always best wishes in the future.

Eric Mansfield said...

I am NOT leaving WKYC right now.
Obviously, the headline and post are intentionally crafted to draw attention ... and to show how much "story sharing" goes on in the big business of TV News.
When I saw my own story "coming up" on a station in D.C., I suddenly thought "wow, I don't even work here ... or do I?"
Thanks for caring so much everyone .. it's great to be home .. Eric

vanillacokehead said...

Darn it Eric; you nearly gave me a heart attack!

My reaction when I saw the headline on my iGoogle home page was "say it ain't so!" I too had to read through this post twice to confirm you weren't heading to DC.


Ben said...

a week with 40 kids in DC and NYC?

I am sure you need a break.