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TAYLOR GETS SPECIAL TREATMENT AT KVOA

When KVOA Channel 4 made the decision to transition its workforce to MMJ reporters, the change was supposed to include everybody who works for the station in the field.

The move to MMJ—short for multimedia journalist, a trendy term meaning a reporter who also shoots footage and edits stories—trickled down to KVOA a few years ago. It's not an uncommon practice in local newsrooms around the country, although in Tucson, KVOA does it with far more frequency than its competitors. While stations try to spin the concept as a way to get more people on the street when news breaks, at heart, it's a financial decision: One person can now do what used to require two people, even though the video quality probably won't be as good. After all, photographers are the ones who have been trained to use a camera, set up shots and edit stories, allowing reporters to conduct the interviews and prepare their copy. The thinking behind MMJ is that most viewers won't notice the difference.

KVOA's MMJ mandate concerned a lot of folks in the building when it came down, and there is evidence to suggest that it presented the station with an opportunity to part ways with longtime reporter Sandy Rathbun, because she was deemed physically incapable of carrying a camera while in the field.

But it doesn't apply to Rebecca Taylor, the weekend anchor who acts as a reporter three days a week: When Taylor is on a story, a photographer accompanies her. It's an arrangement not afforded to anyone else, including other anchor/reporter combos in the building. Full-time anchors such as Tom McNamara and Kristi Tedesco are provided with photographers when they go in the field, but those are generally sporadic occurrences, whereas Taylor's job responsibilities require more field work than time behind the desk.

Taylor did not return requests for comment, which is curious only in that she made it a point to mention that she was given preferential treatment and was not required to shoot her own stories when she left KVOA for Nashville, Tenn., in October 2010. She negotiated the same arrangement upon her return in March 2012.

While the situation probably doesn't sit well with those in the building who argue that a consistent approach is best, others have been just as quick to note that if you can arrange a perk like that when negotiating your contract, more power to you.

Meanwhile, KVOA morning host Brandon Gunnoe is leaving the station in a couple of weeks. Gunnoe has accepted a weekend anchor position with WHDH in Boston.


AZPM DELIVERS GRADUATION, ETHNIC STUDIES, POLITICAL PROGRAMMING

It may not rank as a great television spectacle—beyond the potential for rebellious tortilla-tossing—but Arizona Public Media is streaming UA graduation ceremonies this weekend.

You can watch the ceremonies for graduate students at 7:30 p.m., Friday, May 11, and the undergraduate commencement at 9 a.m., Saturday, May 12. Go to ondemand.azpm.org. AZPM will also provide DVDs of each ceremony for $20.

At 6 p.m., Sunday, May 13, KUAT Channel 6 will broadcast Precious Knowledge, a documentary by Tucson-based filmmakers Ari Luis Palos and Eren Isabel McGinnis that focuses on TUSD's ethnic-studies controversy.

Then, at 6 p.m., Wednesday, May 16, KUAT will dedicate an hour to a forum with the candidates for the Congressional District 8 seat. The forum is slated to feature Democrat Ron Barber, Republican Jesse Kelly and Green Party candidate Charlie Manolakis. A simulcast of the debate can be heard on NPR affiliate KUAZ FM 89.1/AM 1550. The forum also will be carried on azpm.org.

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