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Good News and L.A. News

August 01, 1992

Howard Rosenberg's column, "For KNBC Anchor Paul Moyer, Talk Is Not Cheap" (July 22), commenting on Moyer's return to KNBC with a reported six-year, $8-million contract raises an important question about the extent to which the quality of local televised news coverage has been compromised by the exorbitant cost of hiring and retaining such "talent."

Those drawn to a particular station by its anchor's visual appeal won't find much relevance in this question. This is only important to those of us who recognize the dangers of sound-bite reporting and who feel that anchors should be hired not for their engaging smiles or seamlessly regurgitated words written by others but for the insights and perspective they bring to the subjects they report.

Ironically, it's a question most important to those with the highest stake in its answer: a population growing ever more dependent on television news as their sole source of information.

Unfortunately, by continuing to pay obscene and largely meritless megasalaries to their news anchors, local television executives have placed almost insurmountable roadblocks before their stations' ability to serve this growing audience a better news product. After all, there are only so many dollars to go around.

But we ourselves are to blame for the shallow coverage we receive and our own resulting ignorance. We favor those channels with the prettiest facade over those with more substance. We think we have no choice. We do, and it should be exercised. We can read the written word, and we can write to station managers demanding change.

LOU ALKANA

Lawndale

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