Sources are telling IL that former Courier-Journal reporter Chris Otts is the final piece of the puzzle for Bill Lamb at WDRB.
Last month, we broke the story that Lamb, WDRB general manager, was bent on building “the dominant digital address” in the Louisville news market. The plan was to recruit three journalists (as opposed to news readers) who would be dedicated exclusively to the TV station’s web site. They’d join the sportswriters and opinion writer Lamb recruited away from the Courier-Journal starting in 2012.
Yesterday, we told you WDRB had stolen CJ reporters Marcus Green and Jason Riley. Today, it’s former CJ reporter Chris Otts.
With Otts, Green and Riley, Lamb is holding three of a kind in his winner-take-all showdown with the CJ.
Otts, by the way, was one of a half-dozen CJ reporters who’d left voluntarily since the first of the year. In his case, to Kentuckiana Works, a federally funded workforce development entity. Where they apparently found Otts a career with a future at WDRB.
The question is, how much of a future?
The local television news industry is in no better shape than newspapers.
Local TV stations saw a whopping 6.5-percent drop in audience between 2011 and 2012, according to Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism in its State of the News Media 2013 study.
Newspapers, magazines and radio stations saw their audiences remain essentially unchanged as digital replaced conventional news sources.
We hope to sit down with Lamb for an explanation. But the plan seems for WDRB to supplement its TV audience with a major digital play, rather than Lamb making a big bet on the Internet as the future delivery platform to replace scheduled news programing.
Here’s WDRB’s “we stuck it to the CJ” celebratory email from yesterday, complete with gratuitous quotes from Green and Riley.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — WDRB-TV announces the addition of two more highly-respected journalists to the station’s website journalism team. Jason Riley and Marcus Green will begin contributing on a full-time basis to WDRB.com next week.
In making the switch from print to electronic media, Riley and Green bring a combined 26 years of writing experience with their former employer, The Courier-Journal, to WDRB.
Riley, who has been with the local newspaper for 14 years, focuses primarily on court and crime issues. Green, a 12-year veteran at the C-J, covers a variety of topics, specializing in government, local infrastructure and the equine industry.
Each writer will have a major presence on the WDRB.com website, contributing several regular columns a week. The two will also appear occasionally on WDRB newscasts
“I’ve followed the careers of Jason and Marcus at the Courier for many years now, and I’ve always been impressed with their reporting skills as well as their writing styles,” said WDRB News Director Barry Fulmer. “Both guys not only know this region extremely well, but they’re well-respected by both their readers and the people they cover. Their experience in covering this community will add considerably to what we believe is already one of the premiere journalism websites in the nation.”
WDRB President and General Manager Bill Lamb said, “We at WDRB are pleased to welcome two of the most accomplished print journalists in Louisville. They will give Louisville area television viewers access to a new level of in-depth investigative journalism that has simply never been available from a television station before now. This is another step toward our goal of making WDRB.com the premiere digital content provider in Kentuckiana.
“We continue to do things no television station has done before because of our commitment to providing our viewers with nothing less than great journalism.”
At WDRB.com, Riley and Green will be reunited with two other former Courier-Journal writers, sports columnists Rick Bozich and Eric Crawford.
And Green had this to say: “I’m grateful for this opportunity and look forward to producing quality journalism that informs readers and viewers and holds public officials accountable. This is an exciting day for me and for WDRB.”