Denver News Channels Unveil ‘Pool Coverage’ System

It’s no secret that the news resources of local television affiliates are stretched thin. Layoffs have hit every station, and the Fox31/WB2 “marketing agreement” looks to be the future of local news. But it was still surprising to see the details that Pete Webb of Webb PR shared of a new “pool coverage” system that Fox31, 9News, KMGH7, CBS4 and Univision are implementing.

Starting today, the five stations will pool coverage of up to three events per day. The pool is on a rotating basis with each station responsible one day a week. The assignment desks will join a conference call each morning at 8:30 a.m. to determine which events will be covered by a pool representative, and the resulting raw video will be sent to all stations at 3 p.m. According to Webb, the arrangement “is intended for newsworthy events that all the stations would customarily cover on their own, such as gubernatorial news conferences, the Mayor’s State of the City, product launches, events.”

Says Webb, “My fervent hope is that we’ll see more enterprise reporting, now that crews are being freed up, but I’m not holding out much hope. More likely, viewers will see more of the same, with identical footage on each broadcast. That doesn’t reward creativity, enterprise, or just good old fashioned newsgathering, and it doesn’t reward the viewer.”

6 thoughts on “Denver News Channels Unveil ‘Pool Coverage’ System

  1. While this may be different in magnitude, pool coverage amongst the stations has existed for some time. Front line PR folks have worked for years on the logistics end of helping the stations to coordinate the for pool coverage of big events – Superbowl/Stanley Cup rallies, Summit of the Eight/New Year’s Eve coverage/Columbine coverage/Mayor’s State of the City/OKC Bombing Trial/DIA opening/JonBenet coverage, etc…Channel 2 and KUSA have shared footage for quite a few years. Hell, if the station’s are going allow footage of some Joe-Blow on the corner with an I-Phone shooting video of an event, why NOT their own competitors?

  2. I agree with Andrew. Years ago I thought I was working a on package piece solely for Channel 2 and wahlah video from the shoot appeared with an anchor voiceover on 9News as well. Both did their own spin to it, but it was shared video back then (I think 2002).

  3. The concept of pool coverage is, of course, decades old. But such a systematic approach for everyday events is a dramatic step forward. The next logical step is for the stations to outsource their video work to a video production company that serves as a pool resource. Reporters could voice over the stories without ever leaving the station. And that’s a scary thought.

  4. While it is true that pooling has been a way of life for decades, in the past pooling decisions were made on a case by case basis and pooling was used rarely, usually only when logistics or the situation demanded it. (Only one camera allowed at an event, for instance.) This is different in that the agreement was made based on economics. I think Maggie hit the nail on the head that this may be only the beginning. Five different cameras at an event gave five different views. The video from each station often was distinctive and unique, telling the story with different pictures. Now it seems it will be more plain vanilla.

  5. Well, since what we typically see consists of police tape surrounding a crime scene, talking heads at a presser or a close up of a singed rooftop at a fire — what does it really matter? Saves more precious resources to cover the American Idol auditions and scary rainstorms!

  6. However we want to analyze this–Good, Bad or Ugly–it still comes down to how much can we DIFT? (Do It for Them) I’m curious if the stations will be candid with us re: which station has decision-making responsibility for which weekday.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s