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Inauguration First Big Test For WUSA One-Man Bands

Gannett’s WUSA Washington started its “digital correspondent” campaign at the beginning of the year (or its ”one-man band” campaign, as some detractors might categorize it), so yesterday’s inauguration was the first big test for the multi-tasking multimedia reporters.

Some feel the one-man band approach cheapens the quality of news reporting, but President/GM Allan Horlick says the digital deployment helps WUSA put more boots on the ground. He says the early returns from yesterday’s coverage show a much younger audience than the competition. “I think that says people are getting it, and they’re responding,” he says.

WUSA’s digital correspondents came to be after several months of negotiations with the AFTA and IBEW labor unions. Horlick says the station will still send traditional crews to big breaking stories.

Abetted by additional peoplepower from other Gannett stations, Horlick says no one had more resources in and around the capital yesterday. “I don’t think any station had more TV reporters on the street than we did,” he says.

Washington DC is my next Market Eye profile. Look for it in Monday’s issue.