Tribune Company drags down LA Times health news effort by plunking TV story inside of it

[Correction:  As the first commenter (at the bottom of the page) points out, I was outdated and inaccurate in referring to The Tribune Company.  There are now two companies:  Tribune Media and Tribune Publishing.  Nonetheless, the placement of this Tribune Media property’s TV story within the Tribune Publishing property’s newspaper/online story was odd and unhelpful for readers. That was my main point, even though I botched how I got there.  Thanks to Bethany Kelley for the correction.}

The Tribune Company is parent of the Los Angeles Times.

And I just noticed one small, but significant example, of how an “all in the family” corporate attitude drags down the LA Times’ efforts.

Earlier today, on the other side of this site where we do systematic, criteria-driven news story reviews, we posted our review of the newspaper’s story, “FDA approves a device for weight loss.

If the Times’ website hasn’t changed by the time you visit the story online, you’ll see a TV story from KDVR Denver plunked down in the middle of the Times’ story.

KDVR is another sibling in the Tribune family. So somebody in marketing or elsewhere in management must have decided this was a great way to cross-promote Tribune properties.  (Maybe they do this all the time; this is the first time I’ve noticed it.)

Whereas our reviewers thought the Times’ story was “strong” in certain areas, “carefully and admirably” explaining other areas, the sibling TV story was weak, with nothing I found careful or admirable. (WARNING:  this video starts on its own. That’s the way KDVR/Tribune serves it up.  Another way to make sure we see it!)

The reporter, in the opening banter with the anchors, said “This is very promising” and that “she liked to hear” that the weight loss device in question would be available this year. How’s that for cheerleading right off the bat?

She interviews “the first surgeon to perfect the newest form of bypass surgery for weight loss…and he explains why it’s so important to have surgical options.”

It wasn’t at all clear from his brief soundbite whether he was addressing the point of the story – the newly FDA-approved device – or options in general.

The TV story gave no details on study results, performance results with the new device, costs, independent perspectives…..

It would have rated a 0 if we had applied our criteria.

Note to the Tribune Company: don’t drag down good efforts by one of your kids by bragging on schlocky efforts by one of your other kids. It might be good for business. But it’s probably not good for morale and might lead to family fights. And it certainly doesn’t help your customers/readers/viewers.

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