Channel 39's "Groundbreaking" TV News Format: A Preview

The Tribune Company sneak-peeked a look at how Channel 39 here will present news in a groundbreaking way starting this fall, and it sounds awful.

Variety talked to Tribune execs and some people who saw the preview and had this description:

The prototype, produced with nationally and New York-oriented stories, plays as if the viewer were surfing the Internet, with voice-over narration of a rapid-fire series of pre-taped stories, vidclips and images. In addition to jettisoning the anchor desk, there are no traditional reports from on-air correspondents, though Tribune execs said the format was flexible to allow for live news coverage if warranted.

The script also represents a major departure from news conventions with a conversational style that takes an irreverent, at times even snarky, tone in describing the details of news stories, augmented with soundtrack music and on-screen graphics and sound effects. There's a commentary segment that seems designed for user-generated video, and there are cut-ins for informational segments delivered by local officials and personalities.

"User-generated video"? Be still our hearts!!

The format is called "NewsFix," by the way, and is scheduled to premiere this fall, probably in October.

The Tribune company, Variety reports, has posted ads for an executive producer. The ads call for someone "who knows that most local TV news sucks and wants to do something about it" and a person who is "in sync with the pulse of the streets, not the PC journalism world."

Repped for real talk, to be sure.

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