TV news veterans seek more depth online

Two US local TV news veterans have taken a big risk by quitting the television studio for a new online venture.

Katy Sai and Jay Olsen have launched, a community video news site serving the small town of Madison, Wisconsin, after quitting their jobs as anchor and cameraman at the regional WISC-TV/Channel 3000 station.

Ms Sai had enjoyed the prominent 5pm Live At Five slot at the CBS affiliate, but the pair left to pursue more in-depth reporting they say the web affords.

“It’s difficult to find a place for these stories because in TV news, they take time,” Ms Sai told Madison’s Capital Times newspaper. “But we know that these stories are also meaningful to people.

“We in media are in a very unique situation right now,” said Ms Sai. “I think some journalists see the internet as a threat. But it’s also a huge opportunity. People want to be part of what’s happening; they don’t just want to watch a story.”

StoryBridge, which is now live in beta phase and offering Ms Sai’s own Katy Chronicles video reportage from this week, aims to deliver high-quality video and longer-form stories.

Ms Sai and Mr Olsen formed the operation as a business upon quitting WISC – Ms Sai after 17 years – and hope to use the website to forge closer relationships with viewers with the ethos: “Broadcast news meets community MySpace”.

The launch came as a Harris poll showed the web would unseat television news as consumers’ top source for news in just five years’ time.