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Jerry Springer Adds Spice to Cleveland Convention Coverage
By Michael Cappetta, 14, Ohio
Scholastic Student Reporter


Scholastic Student Reporter Michael Cappetta and Managing Editor David Eden at Cleveland CBS affiliate 19 Action News. (Photo: Courtesy of Michael Cappetta)
July 2004—Ohio TV stations are pulling out all the stops to get viewers to tune into their convention coverage.

Jerry Springer will debut as a convention reporter for Cleveland CBS affiliate 19 Action News. His newscasts are expected to use Springer's signature flashy graphics and "tabloid stories."

"Our edge will be having Jerry Springer as a reporter," says David Eden, managing editor at the CBS station. "He was already a journalist in Cincinnati and will bring a unique perspective."

Springer was formally the mayor of Cincinatti. He also hosts a controversial daytime TV talk show.

More traditional reporting can be expected at FOX-owned station, FOX 8 News. "It's the biggest news story of the year, we are electing a President," Fox News director Greg Easterly told Scholastic News Online. FOX will be providing an Ohio prospective to its coverage of both conventions: the Democrats in Boston from July 26-29, and the Republicans in New York City from August 30-September 2.

NBC affiliate Channel 3 News will cover the conventions off-site, using network feed for its footage. That means the local NBC reporter will not be in the convention center. Channel 3 will rely on the national NBC network to provide film for their coverage. Channel 3 is the only Cleveland station to have a full-time political beat reporter.

Television news stations agree that viewer interest in the conventions makes or breaks a decision like whether or not to send a reporter. And viewer interest is declining with the suspense. Conventions used to be all about who would be the nominee and who the nominee would choose for a running mate. That decision is now made way in advance of the conventions, which have become four-day-long commercials about the candidates.

"Before it would be about who would get the nomination," Channel 3's vice-president of news Dick Moore said. "Now everyone [already] knows that Kerry will receive the democratic nomination."

If you're not familiar with the candidates, however, convention coverage is a good way to get to know them. While local network affiliates like CBS, ABC, and NBC will be providing limited coverage of prime time speeches only, you can watch gavel to gavel on C-Span or PBS. CNN and MSNBC will provide extensive coverage as well.