Keep an open mind about YNN

By Ren LaForme

I concluded my internship at YNN Buffalo today. I couldn’t have asked for a better experience.

These faces are at the forefront of broadcast journalism's future.

YNN has given me hands-on experience, a new set of skills to post on my résumé and some useful insight into the professional world. These past 15 weeks have been some of the best I’ve had at the University at Buffalo, and Time Warner’s little Buffalo news station is partially to credit.

After witnessing the ins and outs, ups and downs and pros and cons of working at the station firsthand, I almost feel obligated to defend the channel when people misrepresent it as something it’s not.

YNN is not trying to compete with CNN (especially since Time Warner owns CNN). It’s not trying to compete with Fox News, MSNBC or ABC News. It’s not even really trying to compete with WIVB, WKBW or WGRZ.

This is evident by the fact that it’s only available on Time Warner Cable. If they really wanted to be the next big 24-hour news station they wouldn’t just stick to one station.

At it’s core, YNN is just a way to draw more viewers to Time Warner Cable. It is a unique service provided exclusively by Time Warner to inform its customers about local events and problems. People want local news, and if they don’t want to wait for it they can turn to channel 9 (14 in the suburbs) to see what’s going on around the community.

It doesn’t hurt that the station is pioneering a type of broadcast journalism where reporters do everything — shoot video, edit and anchor. And who can blame them? It’s cost and space effective. Students should learn all of the tasks involved in journalism while they can if they want to be competitive in tomorrow’s job market.

I’m sure the future of journalism won’t look exactly like YNN, but it’s definitely a step closer to what broadcasting will look like in years to come.

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2 responses to “Keep an open mind about YNN

  1. At what point does the “cost-effective do everything” way of thinking start to affect the anchors most important job which is sounding concise on the air? You have seen it first hand, are these anchors exhausted from everything they are being handed? On the field trip it just seemed like it was a lot of responsibility. Maybe you can show us some insight to how a story is built for a broadcast…

    Don’t get me wrong I agree that people should learn everything involved in all the tasks of journalism and your experience there, as you said, gave you new understanding of the professional world, but I just don’t see YNN as a great enough public service that Time Warner needs to spend great money on. There are just so many other things that can replace it. The internet being the biggest. It is a very interesting idea at best but if they scrap YNN it can lower costs for a subscriber which would definitely appeal to all subscribers, not just ones getting broadcast news.

    For me (and the reason I recently switched to Verison FiOS) is because Time Warner wasn’t even close in the number of HD channels FiOS offered. I now have every single channel in HD where TW had just 30, and its cheaper! It’s very frustrating having an HD TV and not being able to really use it because your cable company can’t provide it while others are.

  2. Ren,
    Glad YNN offered such a great experience for you. I, too, was impressed. What they are doing is, indeed, the future of journalism, but more importantly, its an amazing training ground for people like you who will shape the future of journalism. I don’t think the formula they now have is where they will end up, but they are searching and that is always good.

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