One Journalist to Another: The Game Has Changed

Adele Arakawa, 9News Evening AnchorThis week marks the end of an era for one of Denver’s most beloved journalists as 9NEWS’ Adele Arakawa officially signs off on June 30. She’s been the evening news anchor for 24 years.

I couldn’t help but feel a little wistful after reading Joanne Ostrow’s article on Arakawa as it seemed clear to me from the article that she is not just ready to retire, but she may be disillusioned with the state of journalism today. If you haven’t read the article, it’s worth a read and you can draw your own conclusions.

It seemed only fitting that Ostrow wrote the piece on Arakawa, as Ostrow had bid farewell in a column less than a year ago to her job at The Denver Post. Ostrow shared her thoughts on a long and productive career reporting about the media for newspapers and magazines, and all the changes she too had seen in the news and entertainment industry.

What struck me about Arakawa’s interview, similar to what Ostrow had shared, is that for a longtime journalist, it was just time to go. “With local TV news in decline and media generally at a crossroads, Arakawa is getting out on top — while the industry is still recognizable. The era of huge anchor salaries is past. The corporate pressure to focus more on the bottom line and less on idealistic journalism is a given. The game has changed.”

9NEWS has been the top local news station in Denver for years, but even here, things have changed. “In the old days ‘we had a 45 share’ (or percentage of the viewing audience). Now we celebrate a 4 or 5 share,” Arakawa said.

According to the article, the good news (especially for those of us who work with local media as part of our jobs) is that local TV news will continue to exist, even as more people are driven to the online news platform. Arakawa anticipates a shakeout of stations. “There will be a few survivors of local news. You’re seeing a transition in this market. I did live in the Golden Age of TV news… In the future, there will be fewer local news operations. She anticipates more takeovers, more mergers.”

Only time will tell what the local media landscape will look like a decade from now. In the meantime, we can look forward to another familiar face replacing Arakawa – longtime, journalist, Kim Christiansen.

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