News directors fill, perhaps, one of the most difficult roles within the drama of the news room. In an environment where objectivity and trust are paramount, and where bias must be kept at an absolute minimum, the news director exists as the arbiter, balancing these journalistic ideals with the necessities for financial survival. This scenario presents a conflict, in which the news director must constantly balance the journalistic obligation to inform the public, with the managerial obligation to generate a profit. In an exploration of this conflict, I interviewed three news directors from KUTV, KSL, and KTVX within the Salt Lake City market, who each face different circumstances, but who each personify the conflict mentioned above. Each of these news directors place the most value on maintaining the quality of their news product, while still remaining conscious of the budget requirements set by corporate ownership. When push comes to shove, however, each news director interviewed for this study was of the opinion that news has to come first, even if it means going over budget. When addressing higher management in these over-budget situations, all three news directors tended to shift their conversation to the long-term perspective, reassuring their managers that costs (as a percentage) would drop over time, and revenues would increase. The sacrifice of news content for the sake of the budget was rare for all three news directors. Competition is seen as a way to better serve the community, long term, through increased revenue. Credibility is the balancing factor, keeping the business interests in check with the journalistic ideals.
College and Department
Fine Arts and Communications; Communications
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Tyler, Andrew Miles, "The News Director's Balance of Business and News: An Oral History Exploration of Salt Lake Television News, 1948 - 2008" (2010). Theses and Dissertations. 2104.
television news, news directors, social responsibility, journalism, Salt Lake City, public service broadcasting, market-driven broadcasting