Conan, Canned News and CNN Newsource

Conan O’Brien had some fun at the expense of local news earlier in the week, pasting together a bunch of clips showing local TV anchors uttering the same phrase from a Cyber Monday story.

It’s not the first time Conan, now working on cable, of course, has poked fun at the seemingly like-minded anchors. Around election time, he strung together clips of anchors talking about how “the final days of the campaign can get a little salty”–a lead-in to a story about menu dishes and drinks named for politicians.

The Washington Post details CNN Newsource’s role in feeding packages to TV stations.

Writes Paul Farhi:

The “salty” story was produced by an “affiliate service,” CNN Newsource, and syndicated to dozens of stations around the country. Stations not only get prepackaged footage from such services, but a script that introduces the footage, as well. Stations then “localize” the canned package by having one of their anchors read the one-size-fits-all copy.

Viewers typically have no idea that a seemingly local story has come from a centralized source in New York, Los Angeles or, in this case, Washington. The CNN Newsource story, for example, doesn’t mention CNN Newsource or CNN, its parent company. The reporter on the story simply signed off, “In Washington, I’m Karin Caifa.” (Caifa and CNN Newsource were also behind the widely played story about “social networking” for dogs via a Web site that connects pet owners.)

Michael Malone

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.