Your local reporter may be phoning it in

Have you seen Katie from Kansas on your local CBS TV station’s website? You probably shouldn’t.

This post started when I was looking for a story from Miami, but that took me straight across the country.

I checked the CBS-owned TV station in the Magic City, and ended up with a story about how Macy’s will be closing many of its stores, including two in the area.

It’s not my fault the video played immediately. Her pronunciation of the names of a mall and a city were totally off. Unheard of off, until now.

WFOR-Miami

I couldn’t believe anyone would put this online, so I posted it to Facebook.

WFOR-Miami

CBS doesn’t have its own video of a Macy’s – any Macy’s – after the chain bought up so many other cities’ original department stores?! And what about the photos down below?

But then the real story happened.

I noticed a weird outcue.

And it got weirder when I found a Miami station bio saying she lives in Fort Worth!

WFOR-Miami

So I wondered how many CBS-owned stations let Kansan-turned-Texan Katie Johnston report local news on their websites, no matter how badly.

I say report as reporting to viewers, rather than going out and gathering facts.

Here, she’s listed among the reporters at CBS’ Dallas station, which is actually in Fort Worth. I wonder if she actually goes out and reports on local news there, maybe even doing a live shot?

KTVT-Dallas/Fort Worth

Katie’s Twitter feed led me to Detroit!

@KatieJohnstonTV

where she’s “the anchor” more than a decade after CBS canceled newscasts on both of its stations there. (Good thing I didn’t accept the 11pm producer position, way back in 2001!)

WWJ-TV/WKBD-Detroit

And here, Katie is in Pittsburgh!

KDKA-Pittsburgh

Baltimore!

WJZ-Baltimore

and as promised, across the country from Miami in Sacramento!

KOVR-Sacramento

Look at those last three pictures, plus Miami’s video, and it’s apparent to me she’s in a studio in Texas and may have never been to the cities she’s pretending to know so well.

Of course, this wouldn’t be happening if it wasn’t an organized plan by higher-ups with control over the stations, or at least their websites.

Some may say there’s nothing dishonest since she appears on a few station bio pages, but having a local station logo by her name and reporting local news is too much for me.

I wonder if she even asks how to pronounce local names in between slamming out videos. It would only take a phone call.

Save local news stories that nobody anywhere else should care about to the real locals. They could use the jobs, anyway.

This isn’t just “phoning it in,” at least to me. I think it’s more phony and deceptive.

And certainly not as “perky” as that other Katie (who really did report on TV in Miami, but as Katherine)!

April 17, 2012: At the Vanity Fair party for the Tribeca Film Festival. By David Shankbone, Creative Commons.

About the author

The journalism “business” has changed — from standards to platforms to layoffs — along with the American public, and I’ve managed to survive somewhat on my own terms.

I started in 1994, becoming an award-winning and respected TV newscast producer.

Even better was creatively producing websites and social media, and serving as a station's digital media manager — writing news, creating graphics and getting evidence of growing my audience here in the nation's fourth largest market, Philadelphia.

I also taught first grade for eight years. My principal saw my class website and made me electronic gradebook manager to assist co-workers when we stopped using paper gradebooks.

In 2018, I took courses and earned the Google IT Support Professional Certificate.

In 2019, I was a freelance newspaper reporter, but enjoyed copy editing and reviving the publication’s social media even more.

That got me striking out on my own with a local news website to join the blog I created, designed and write.

Ask me about all the details.

I did drive Uber to make ends meet until I started as a customer service representative at one of the world’s largest web-hosting companies, with more than 8 million customer contracts and hosting more than 12 million domains.

With classroom and newsroom experience, I know how to prioritize, analyze and take the best course of action. Getting results means attention to detail, following through and following up.

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