As if saying goodbye to our evening broadcast and several of my co-workers wasn't enough of an emotional experience, now I'm moving my desk in the Akron newsroom to make room for some new roommates. It's a good deal though.
PBS 45/49 and WKSU are moving in later this summer, July 1st to be exact. Each was looking to extend their reach into Akron from the respective headquarters in Kent, and our station's loss became their gain.
It's a good move for both groups, but selfishly it's also a very good move for our news operation as well. Our downtown Akron office at the corner of Main and Market has plenty of space, more than enough for what will soon be a 2-3 person bureau for WKYC instead of the full-service newsroom we've had for the last seven years.
Getting both organizations into downtown Akron can only be a good thing for local viewers. With the loss of our evening newscast, there will soon be a perceived vacuum for broadcast information. Residents will be looking to see where they can turn to get Akron info when they need it.
I'm excited that the partnership will allow us to record "NewsNight Akron" in the Akron office as well. For the last nine years, the show has been taped at Kent State University. Moving NNA to downtown Akron should make it easier for local guests to take part in the weekly round table discussion, which may also expand to allow discussion on more regional issues. Who knows, we also might be able to have a live studio audience sometimes!
I'm not sure how the physical layout of the office might change, but our day-to-day news coverage for TV3 won't be interrupted. WKSU is already eyeballing our newsroom's one office that faces Main Street; they're hoping to upgrade the acoustics to make a recording studio. I used that office as my personal space when we first launched PAX23 in 2001, but it didn't last long. As a reporter, I felt disconnected from the rest of the staff so I moved my desk back into the newsroom and never looked back.
For what it's worth .. the whole thing is just a blur right now. Six weeks ago, I was sitting at my desk making a broad list of feature stories I was hoping to cover during a typically slow summer. Now I'm saying goodbye to the Akron-Canton broadcast and a few co-workers while welcoming some new journalists into our space.
I'm adjusting to the changes .. but to be honest, it's still sinking in.