(UPDATE/CORRECTION 3/10/2005: On 2/17/2005, this post described an event with stringer videographers as a "price gouging effort." That phrase was this author's word choice, and was never uttered by KRON editor Misha Rosiak. She clarified the videographer selling video for high rates was "not a regular stringer." Because of the unusually high price, editors at KRON spoke to other stations about the specific footage and its price, Rosiak said.)
A way to make money, or scabbing a grassroots union: KPIX is being boycotted by a San Francisco cartel of "Stringers" - grassroots style videographers who shoot events all over town and sell them to local news stations. The local Stringers are organized; they monitor CB scanners for newsworthy events, obey turf boundaries, and agree not to sell clips from a fellow Stringer's territory.
Misha Rosiak, an editor from KRON who spoke at my journalism class Thursday night, reported contention in the Stringer "conglomerate" vs. MSM local news station relationships. KRON does not usually talk with direct competitors KTVU and KPIX, but communication was sparked among stations, who agree the KPIX boycott is a price gauging effort, Rosiak said.
Local stations pay around $150-$250 for a good video clip. The KPIX boycott had not ended when Rosiak spoke to the class on Thursday.
Declining budgets in recent years may have given local TV news
stations more incentive to pay for outsourced Stringer video. To
illustration the sparse reporting staff for TV news, Rosiak said that
KTVU only flew one reporter to cover tsunami disaster directly. KTVU
was the only local station to do their own tsunami reporting.