Ten lines. Four local names.
That was the extent of Jeff Simon’s remarks Saturday about local TV in his year-end review of the 2012 television season.
I wrote two lengthy blogs earlier in the week dealing with local media happenings in 2012.
Simon spent considerably more column inches writing about comedian Kathy Griffin kissing Anderson Cooper’s “sardine” on New Year’s Eve for luck and other national TV moments that former News management told me a few years ago they weren’t all that interested in covering anymore because the wire services could handle them.
He also spent more time bashing other critics, which he’s been doing practically since the dawn of television. Give it up Jeff. My colleagues in the national TV critic fraternity are some of the smartest people and most well-rounded people I know.
I don’t blame Simon for pretty much ignoring local TV news happenings and not having much time to watch it since his beloved Carol Jasen left the air more than a decade ago. (Every time he mentions Jasen, I think I hear a chorus of local TV types yelling “not again. Give it up, Jeff. She left in 2002 for god’s sake.”)
I also don’t blame Simon for pretty much ignoring local TV news happenings. He has a full plate. As my mother used to say, he is busier than a one-armed paper hanger covering the movies, jazz and some classical music, books and several other topics as the dominant entertainment and cultural voice of The News. He’s such a one-man band that you wonder how he has time to read all the lengthy books he reviews and still have time to watch “Survivor.”
Besides, covering local TV isn’t Simon’s job. The News has assigned another reporter to do the dirty work covering local TV and radio, mostly by rewriting releases and giving station spin.
I agreed strongly with one point Simon made Saturday. He wrote: “I’ve always thought television, in its way, to be the biggest and most important subject in American culture.”
That’s why I do this blog. The financial difficulties of the media – locally and nationally – make it more important to cover than ever. I’ve always chosen to emphasize local TV news in this blog because anchors and reporters are the area’s celebrities as much as the Sabres and the Bills.
Simon’s year-ender came at a time after the New Year that I was reflecting about how much longer I should consider doing this blog in the absence of any significant financial revenue.
I never expected to get rich doing it but I thought as my online readership grew so would the revenue. Unfortunately, it really hasn’t translated that way and the person who has been advising me about digital revenue is now suggesting the climate may never improve.
So I have to consider if it is going to be enough of a reward to know that it is important to hold the local media as accountable at times as the media tries to hold government officials accountable.
I also admit I have some fun at times revealing things the media wants nobody to know. I love to write as well. And I enjoy the give and take with some of my readers, many of whom don’t always agree with me.
Still, I was talking with some friends recently about giving the blog up or at the very least downsizing to three blogs a week.
But just when I thought I might be about to get out, Simon’s year-ender pulled me back in because its marginal coverage of local news and its celebrities reminded me why I do it.
I’m just not sure how long it will be before I give up if I don’t get some more sponsorship soon or align with a new media outlet.
I plan to contemplate my next move while I head to Pasadena, Calif. this week to cover the semi-annual meetings of the Television Critics Association, where the midseason shows are being previewed. Who knows? I may even run into Kathy Griffin. If I do, I hope she isn’t kissing any more sardines.