Abrams: TV News Needs Less Plastic, More God?

Tribune Co. Innovation Chief Lee Abrams is clearly more focused on the Tribune's 25 television stations than he is the newspapers right now. And, judging from his latest think pieces, he's not at all happy with the appearance of the company's anchors. In a recent piece, he decried the fact that female anchors dressed so conservatively. In this latest screed, he moves on to the anchors' faces. To wit:

"Since we're all about brutal honesty: We looked at the photos of your anchors on the wall. They're SO plastic looking," Abrams writes. "I'm all for attractive and intelligent, but the photos undermine that. They look like cardboard cutouts. Soul less. More akin to an 8x10 glossy of The Captain and Tennile in 1977 than modern TV journalists."

The TV news industry, he writes, is a parody of itself ("Man, do we BS!") and it needs to look at new models. Two suggestions from Abrams: Adult Swim and the Sci Fi Channel. Another suggestion Abrams shares is one from the Tribune station in Sacramento, FOX40-KTXL. Abrams copies an email circulated at that station urging staffers to do more pieces on religion.

"People say you shouldn't talk about politics or religion," writes FOX40 news director Brandon Mercer. "In newsrooms, we clearly have no problem about politics, but when it comes to religion, this old advice is more than just a misguided set of manners. It has become a cardinal rule. Newsrooms are so afraid of speaking words like Jesus, Elohim, Moroni, and Allah that reporters rarely cover some of the most meaningful stories in our viewers' lives."  

Abrams also reports that the Tribune station in South Florida, WSFL, is worth seeing: "These guys are on fire...burning the old playbook and writing the new one. In EVERY area. The channel wont have music...it'll have a soundtrack that reeks South Florida...they have done one important thing: Assumed that EVERYTHING on TV is WRONG until proven right."

The entire piece can be read after the jump.

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Bob Norman
Contact: Bob Norman