News station sends press release saying it’s doing news

We got a press release today from the local NBC affiliate, KTVM, promoting an upcoming special report it will air next week on guns in America.

The series will air at all five Bonten Media Group stations across the country and will cover topics ranging from the Second Amendment to mental health.

Each of the five stations in the group contributed to the report (with KTVM’s report — done by a reporter based in Missoula — will air on day three).

“We believe it is our responsibility to provide factual information so that our viewers can make their own judgements on critical issues like gun control,” said Randall Bongarten, Bonten’s CEO.

OK.

So?

Isn’t covering the news their job? Why tell us about it? Indeed, why tell *another media outlet* about it? What are they hoping for? That we’ll give column inches or pixels to a competitor whose ad reps vie against our own in the Bozeman market, who attempt daily to scoop the newspaper on stories?

Which media outlets do they hope will carry their message? KBZK or ABC FOX Montana, their in-town rivals? Will the Bozeman Magpie perhaps carry this commercial for Bonten and its news division free of charge?

Honestly, what were their marketers thinking?

Perhaps they were hoping that a crotchety blogger would poke fun at them — publishing what would amount to a sideways note that the special series was going to air?

Well, I can grant that wish at least.

I get the feeling from the tone of the CEO’s press release that Bonten believes it is doing “the Lord’s work” here, bringing to light an issue that they feel the media (other than its stations, it goes without saying) have clouded with crooked and unclear reporting.

Of course we should want to let our readers know about Bonten’s special report. We are so inadequate at reporting the issues ourselves that we defer to their better reporting.

I’m sure Bonten’s reps haven’t sold any ads around any of these stories out of deference to the victims of gun violence around the country. After all, the news division is doing something culturally significant, not something that is at heart designed to drive viewership.

When is sweeps week again? Or is it a month long now? Quarterly?

By Michael Becker

Michael Becker is the Web Editor of the Bozeman Daily Chronicle. He has been a blogger and professional journalist since 2005, covering subjects ranging from nonprofits and crime to engineering and technology.