Two interesting media articles on 9News’ decision to tap Kim Christiansen to replace longtime anchor Adele Arakawa.
Arakawa tells Joanne Ostrow at The Denver Post that she is getting out of the business at an ideal time:
Her timing is perfect: With local TV news in decline and media generally at a crossroads, Arakawa is getting out on top — while the industry is still recognizable. The era of huge anchor salaries is past. The corporate pressure to focus more on the bottom line and less on idealistic journalism is a given. …
Despite the erosion of the TV news audience, (Arakawa) predicts “local TV news will continue to exist,” even as more people are driven to the online platform. She anticipates “a shakeout of stations. There will be a few survivors of local news. You’re seeing a transition in this market. I did live in the Golden Age of TV news … . In the future, there will be fewer local news operations.” She anticipates more takeovers, more mergers.
Meanwhile, Michael Roberts at Westword questions whether Christiansen’s appointment means 9News’ “soft news” will get even softer:
As for Christiansen, her main gig lately has been helming the 4 p.m. newscast at the station, which tends to be dominated by what is euphemistically described as “lifestyle reporting” — feel-good stories about nice people doing nice things.
In a news release about Christiansen’s promotion, 9News president and general manager Steve Carter emphasized these qualities, saying, “Kim is an exceptional storyteller and naturally empathetic journalist. Her work for this community, leading our BuddyCheck9 cancer detection campaign as well as 9Cares Colorado Shares and her many other volunteer efforts, demonstrates her lifelong commitment to service.”
In other words, hard-hitting journalism isn’t a requirement for the position — and while Arakawa has something of an edge, Christiansen’s style turns on a blend of friendliness and concern.
For the record, I can’t imagine that any newscast featuring Kyle Clark is going to be accused of being soft. Love him or hate him, he has no sacred cows and is willing to ask the tough, uncomfortable questions. As for Christiansen, former 9News anchor Mark Koebrich showed that even cynical viewers can be won over with genuine good-natured charm.