Tuesday, March 31, 2009
The vice-president and general manager of Time-Warner’s local 24-hour news channel, News 8, was let go yesterday (Monday). News 8 Channel staff received a memo from Steve Paulus, president of the Time-Warner news division, today saying that Brian Benschoter “…is no longer the general manager.” Benschoter had been at the helm of the operation since its inception in September of 1999.
Paulus designated News Director Kevin Benz as the “point person” at News 8 while the position is posted. “Brian’s departure is not due to any issue at News 8,” Benz said. “This is not a reflection on News 8 at all. This does not signal downsizing or layoffs. It is purely a personnel issue.” Benz was assistant news director when News 8 started nearly ten years ago.
News 8 is a cable-only news operation, available only through Time-Warner, but it is run much like a broadcast television station. The general manager would oversee all departments including news, engineering, promotions and marketing, IT, and production. All advertising sales, however, are handled by Time-Warner.
Ironically, News 8 next week picks up a prestigious award, USC Annenberg Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Television Political Journalism in the “Local Cable Station” division. It is the third time News 8 has won the award in out of the last four years, Benz said. The Cronkite Award specifically recognized News 8 Austin’s 2008 election year coverage including the original “Voters’ Voices” series, which included perspectives from four diverse families in the Central Texas area, in-studio interviews with Candidates, online and Video On Demand (VOD) voters’ guides and extensive election night coverage. “Judges praised the "Voters' Voices" series as "a refreshing approach to political coverage," which challenged conventional wisdom and cultural stereotypes by inviting real people in four families to discuss key issues,” the contest web site said.
© Jim McNabb, 2009
Posted by NewsMcNabb at 2:03 PM