News 12 Westchester and The New York Times

eHezi Archives 6 Comments

The regional section of the NY Times this day fronts a nice story about News 12 Westchester.
It gives a behind-the-scenes look at some of the players, including
Janine Rose and Brian Conybeare, the hosts of the local Yonkers
newscast. They dredge through the history of how the network started in
Yonkers, where customer service representative Janine ‘rose’ to news
director heights. (sorry for the bad pun)

Not a bad article. Who knew that Conybeare came from Michigan?

eHeziNews 12 Westchester and The New York Times

Comments 6

  1. Everyone knows that the New York Times scratches News 12’s back every year, and News 12 rubs the NY times back with free TV commercials. New York Times is starving they lost 30 – 40 percent of their readers and advertisers. The Times writer is probably looking for a job.
    News 12 Westchester, is the reason why internet news got started because from day one New 12 Westchester was dictated to by all the corrupt politicians in Westchester County.
    Brain Conny is in love with his wife, not JEANINE NOSE, who is a spinster, a liar, mean spirited, simple minded house dress.
    If, News 12 Westchester did their job and reported the real news without political dictation, then, it would be more than a freak show at the Westchester County Political Circus on Cablevision.
    It’s entertainment to us residents, I tell my husband, honey, put on “Beauty & The Beast” I want to see what corrupt politician got arrested today… Oh wait their interviewing the Teflon Don Phil Amicone, and the bull Nick Spano, louder that…”the city schools are wonderful, Yonkers is developing jobs, everything is wonderful, everything is great, my friend Nick Spano sits on the Board of cablevision etc.”
    News 12 Westchester did not earn the praise they’re getting, it’s all political mumbo jumbo!!! Only the simple minded can believe all their bull crap.

  2. Snooze 12 is just one BIG advertisement
    for Home Depot and Stew Leonards. Gee
    it’s snowing out let’s head up to Stew
    Leonard Dr. and interview people buying
    salt and milk. News is suppose to tell
    us something new. People can look out
    of their windows and see it snowing…
    that is not news.
    Does anyone know what ingredient in
    milk and bread melts snow? Every time
    a drop of snow falls people rush to the
    store to buy up milk and bread…I
    don’t get it!!

  3. Every 2 years or so the Times, all the News That they deem fit to print, dusts off this Snooze 12 article and re-writes it. This was a pandering piec\e of cross-promotional material to directly compete with the RNN Journal Snooze new show coming up soon.
    More Fluff from the Fluffers.

  4. Interesting article, but done with a very broad brush. Anyone who watches it knows that Snooze 12’s coverage usually is somewhere between “awful” and “dreadful.”
    There have been some very good exceptions, but unfortunately those are few and far between.

  5. Homegrown News
    THE notion of a 24-hour cable news channel that trains its cameras exclusively on Westchester County and the surrounding Hudson Valley probably conjures up images of live reports on the cheerleading squad at a New Rochelle high school or news-you-can-use from the latest health forum at a county senior center.
    In fact, News 12 Westchester, a cable news station that reaches more than 400,000 households from its headquarters high on a hill in Yonkers, where it shares a parking lot with a Bennigan’s restaurant, has done softer, local stories like these in recent months. But on a Monday morning in early February, the channel’s reporters and producers were facing a far more daunting news challenge: the Indian Point nuclear power plant, about 30 miles up the Hudson River in Buchanan, N.Y., had just announced “an unusual event,” which it described as a drop in the water levels at the intakes on the river that it uses for cooling. In response, the plant issued an emergency declaration, albeit at its lowest level of warning.
    By the time Janine Rose, the station’s news director, convened her regular 9:30 a.m. staff meeting that day, two reporters and their crews had sped to the scene. Already, whatever crisis had occurred appeared to be dissipating. But because Ms. Rose sees part of her responsibility as allaying her viewers’ unwarranted fears, she and her associates drew up a battle plan for a second wave of coverage. It included a live phone interview with the Westchester County executive, Andrew J. Spano; a live, on-camera interview with an Indian Point spokesman; and live footage from the News 12 helicopter, then on the ground in Farmingdale, near an affiliated station, News 12 Long Island.
    “The minute he’s fueled up,” Carol Corrado, the executive producer of News 12 programming for Westchester and the broader Hudson Valley, assured her colleagues, “he’ll be airborne.” And indeed he was. At 11 a.m. — when News 12 would typically be rerunning its 9 a.m. newscast so that it could prepare for its next live newscast at noon — the channel went live with eight uninterrupted minutes of coverage from Indian Point. Somehow its special report managed to gather up all of the elements on Ms. Rose’s wish list, including this money quote from Mr. Spano, “First of all, the county was never in any, any danger.”
    When Lisa Salvadorini, a veteran News 12 producer who exudes the kind of calm on deadline that sometimes eludes her higher-profile colleagues at the “Today” show or on CNN, finally cued her two anchors to break for a commercial, the control room erupted in applause.
    “Beautiful!” Ms. Rose exclaimed, standing before a bank of monitors. “Thanks, guys.”
    Like its sister stations throughout the metropolitan New York area — including News 12s in Connecticut and New Jersey and on Long Island, all of them owned by Cablevision — News 12 Westchester has steadily raised its journalistic ambitions during its 12-year history, supplementing and, at times supplanting, the efforts of longer-standing news media outlets like The Journal News in White Plains or the network-affiliated television stations in New York City.
    The 24-hour local news stations, collectively, are available in 3.88 million households in metropolitan New York, when News 12s in the Bronx and Brooklyn are included, according to Cablevision. They have developed a niche by giving viewers continuous, one-stop-shop newscasts that aim to be closer to the ground than any other broadcast news source covering their respective regions, while also ranging widely across that territory.
    Last fall, on behalf of the News 12 network, Nielsen Media Research surveyed more than 1,100 cable households with access to one of the stations and asked, “When a major event occurs in your area, which one television channel are you most likely to tune to first for information?” More than a third (35.6 percent) picked a News 12, compared with 9.5 percent for Channel 4 and 9.6 percent for Channel 7, the two top vote-getters among New York stations, according to Nielsen figures provided by Cablevision. (A decade earlier, only 14.3 percent had chosen a News 12.)
    Among the allures of the various News 12s are these: Only News 12 Connecticut, for example, chooses to bookend its local weather and its sports with near daily coverage of Stamford City Hall, which tends to fall somewhere in the outfield between the network-affiliated TV stations in Hartford and New York.
    “It’s sort of a television news no-man’s land,” said Tom Appleby, news director and general manager of News 12 Connecticut, as well as an anchor and host of a political program. While noting that area TV stations had regularly descended on Norwalk, where the station is situated, during the Michael Skakel murder trial in 2002, Mr. Appleby added, “The difference is, when they’re gone, we’re still here.”
    News 12 on Long Island takes an identical approach, blanketing Nassau and Suffolk Counties like a hometown newspaper. Few other news organizations would expend efforts to cover a hearing on the so-called gap problem — the dangerous spaces between Long Island Rail Road trains and their platforms — while also mounting a regular series titled, “Students Making a Difference,” which, in recent weeks, has included the story of a Northport third grader who raised more than $20,000 selling lemonade to help provide dogs to people with disabilities.
    “We think there’s a deep hunger for news of what’s happening in your own neighborhood that’s not being satisfied by other media outlets,” said Patrick Dolan, the news director of News 12 Long Island and vice president of the overall News 12 network, which has its headquarters at News 12 Long Island in Woodbury. (He is the oldest son of Charles F. Dolan, the founder and chairman of Cablevision.) “We want everybody to know these stations are 100 percent dedicated to them, their concerns, their issues.”
    The stations also have annual advertising revenues in excess of $35 million, according to Cablevision — though they are expensive to run, using on-screen graphics systems, for example, which are in many ways comparable to those used by CNN and ESPN. Cablevision will not say whether the stations are profitable, but at the least, their existence (exclusively on cable) helps the company make the argument to suburban viewers that they should not be tempted to switch to satellite TV providers.
    Which is not to say that they don’t face competition. In New Jersey, for example, where more than 1.8 million households have access to News 12, its reporters often go head to head with those of NJN News, which has long produced programming regularly shown on public television stations throughout the state. (News 12 Long Island began telecasting in 1986, but most of the other stations, including News 12 New Jersey in Edison, were started in the mid-1990s.)
    Meanwhile, in a shot that would seem to be aimed squarely across the bow of News 12 Westchester, The Journal News, a Gannett-owned newspaper, recently announced that it was joining forces with a local broadcast television station (RNN-TV, or Regional News Network, with studios in Rye Brook) to produce “The Hudson Valley’s Newscenter Now,” an early-evening news program to be seen weekdays, beginning in March.
    For viewers, perhaps the most compelling aspect of News 12 — whether it is the version seen in Newark or New Rochelle — is that its anchors and reporters are in many cases not only from the regions they cover but, by their own acknowledgment, would also not necessarily have careers in television journalism but for the existence of News 12. (An exception is Mary Calvi, an anchor who vaulted from News 12 Westchester to Channel 2 in New York.)
    Ms. Rose, for example, who also serves as an early-evening anchor at News 12 Westchester (and on News 12 Hudson Valley, a spin-off operated from the same newsroom) is a Yonkers native who began her career with Cablevision in 1979. She was a customer-service representative. When the company decided in the early 1980s that it wanted to start recording Yonkers City Council meetings, Ms. Rose, who has a master’s degree in television and radio from Brooklyn College, was tapped to operate the camera. As those efforts evolved into a round-the-clock news operation, Ms. Rose evolved too.
    “One of the reasons I’m still here,” said Ms. Rose, whose short, light-blond hairstyle is probably better known than Katie Couric’s in some parts of the county, “is the gratification of knowing your community and getting that feedback.”
    Few at News 12 Westchester, let alone across the News 12 network, get more viewer feedback (at least as measured by e-mail messages) than Joe Rao.
    Mr. Rao, a lecturer at the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History who compiles a weekly guide to the night sky that is published in The New York Times on Sundays, tried for years to make the jump from radio to television. The negative responses, he said, were industry code for having the proverbial “face for radio.” (The dark rings under his eyes, which make him look older than his 50 years, were etched during nearly two decades of early-morning weather forecasts to radio stations from Nova Scotia to the Dakotas.)
    Finally, in the 1990s, News 12 Long Island began using Mr. Rao (pronounced RAY-oh), as an occasional fill-in. When Cablevision decided to start its Westchester venture, Mr. Rao lobbied the younger Mr. Dolan aggressively — and has been the main meteorologist on News 12 Westchester since its opening night in November 1995.
    Since then, Mr. Rao, who lives in Putnam Valley, has become renowned in the region not just for his forecasts but for responding to viewer e-mail asking for customized weather information. One memorable request was from a man who said his boss was wondering if an approaching snowstorm would prevent his flying safely into Westchester County Airport. Mr. Rao assured him that the weather should be fine, and after the plane landed without incident the man wrote back to extend the gratitude of his employer, whom he then identified. He was Bill Clinton, a Chappaqua resident who surely has access to the best weather data NASA can provide.
    While Mr. Rao was raised relatively close to Westchester (in the Throgs Neck section of the Bronx), Brian Conybeare, 44,the senior anchor and managing editor of News 12 Westchester, grew up in Michigan..
    As senior anchor, Mr. Conybeare (pronounced CONNEE-bear) often gets the choicest investigative assignments, including a recent series on gangs in Yonkers. It also fell to him to do a special report on massage parlors (as part of a series titled, “Sex in the Suburbs”) in which he went undercover, literally stripping down for massages at a half-dozen suspicious-looking places to see if he would be offered sex. “Brian volunteered,” Ms. Rose noted, before quickly adding, “with his wife’s permission.”
    Mr. Conybeare, a distinguished-looking man who wears his prematurely graying hair in a stylish buzz cut and has a master’s degree in journalism from New York University, said he had initially assumed he would move on to bigger and better things after a year at News 12.
    “I had dreams of network correspondence, of going off to wars and going off to London for Peter Jennings,” he said, taking a break before a recent newscast. “For a long time I wanted Ted Koppel’s job.”
    But such offers never materialized — and in the interim, he said, he fell hard, not just for News 12 Westchester and the area it covers, but for a onetime News 12 producer, Janna Gaffney, whom he married. They now have three young children and live in Eastchester.
    “I’m not going to leave,” he said. “I love my job.”

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