Google, Scripps Team To Move Print Journalists to Broadcast

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Google is teaming with one of the nation's largest local TV station owners, Scripps, to help create local news content.

The move comes as as broadcasters are calling for federal help to allow them to jointly negotiate for compensation for online platform use of their local news content.

Google has agreed to fund a new Scripps Journalism Journey initiative to help print journalists make what it calls "mid-career" transitions to "video-driven storytelling" in broadcast news careers. Those new jobs can include beat reporter, executive producer, editor/manager, documentary producer and copy editor.

The program will provide training, support, mentoring (including job shadowing), and coaching, and may also include conferences, Google News Initiative programs, Poynter Institute for journalism programs, or opportunities through the National Association of Broadcasters and the Society of Professional Journalists.

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Those chosen to participate will get full-time "career" positions in Scripps newsrooms, local and national, said the broadcaster. Interested journalists can start applying in early summer.

The new program comes the same week that National Association of Broadcasters President Curtis LeGeyt called on Congress to pass the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act.

The bill would grant publishers immunity from federal and state antitrust laws for a 48-month period while they bargain collectively with digital platforms like Google.

Media outlets argue that Big Tech has been using their content without sufficiently compensating them for their investment in original, independent journalism, and sought the antitrust carveout to be able to present a more united negotiating front.

Broadcasters say not getting that fair compensation is an existential threat to the local news that multiple polls have shown American media audiences rely on.

NAB has also launched a website calling for help from Congress and calling out Google and Facebook by name for controlling access while failing to pay most new publishers for use of their local news content. ■

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.