Saturday, January 31, 2009

Tulsa's Channel 8 Lays Off More Employees

Tulsa's ABC station in Tulsa, KTUL NewsChannel 8, is trimming its staff again.

The Tulsa World reports today that seven station employees were laid off this week and that other staffers are taking pay cuts. The station cut 13 employees in October 2008.
Allbritton Communications, the Virginia-based company that owns Channel 8, has also cut staffs at its other television stations, including its flagship station, WJLA, in Washington, D.C. The Allbritton station is Little Rock is also shedding staff, as many as 20, according to the World.

The downsizing comes as ad revenues continue to fall due to the economic meltdown. Another explanation for the cutbacks comes from Tulsa media watcher Michael Bates.

Earlier this month, Bates attributed the Tulsa World's recent cutbacks to out-of-touch leadership and news coverage that "appears to be slanted to the benefit of the owning family's social and financial connections."

Writing in Urban Tulsa Weekly, Bates continued: "Through its long-standing policy of comforting the comfortable and afflicting the afflicted, the World has deepened the alienation between the city's establishment and ordinary citizens."

Following the overwrought Batesian media logic (such as it is), Channel 8's cutbacks could well be a result of its own out-of-touch management and news policies that appeared slanted to the benefit of Tulsa's business and ruling class. Same with KOTV Channel 6, which also announced layoffs last year.

Too bad neither of these stations have rich local owners, which would be a great scapegoat for Bates. Oh no, these rich owners live elsewhere, which apparently spares them from Bates and his fellow media-bashers.

On the other hand, there could be a simpler explanation for all these media cutbacks. As the Clinton campaign staff used to say, "It's the economy, stupid."


Tulsan said...

Bates doesn't have time to extend his "logic" to other media. He is busy focusing on his own self-created problem with the Tulsa World.

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