Conan O’Brien Points Out The Absurdity Of Local News

Techdirt recently shared a video from Conan O’Brien that’s worth checking out. It’s of a bunch of TV newscasters from all around the country parroting the exact same phrase.

If you haven’t seen it, watch it for yourself:

If you’re looking for (yet another) example of traditional media still carrying on as if the the web doesn’t exist, well, look no further.

Separately TV Spy reported on this as well, calling it a “dark secret” of the news business:

“We take wire copy and we try to rewrite it,” anchor Kirk Mason said. “In this case clearly many of us didn’t rewrite it well enough.”

As a digital native I don’t know that I have ever watched local TV news broadcasts, but it is interesting to see how local news stations across the country are (still) scripted with the exact same content. It’s also, in a sense, disrespectful to both the anchors and audiences.

In a world where national news is accessible on-tap, and the web does a devastatingly better job at surfacing the macro (and industry-specific) news you might be interested in, it seems like what local TV news should be doing is focusing on the community. Local news can do this and report on national stories (while adding context to their community) in a way better than anyone else. Although that doesn’t really seem to be happening.

What we are seeing is basically duplicate content on TV: an efficiency for the networks, but pointless in the current technology landscape.