Brittney Gilbert, WKRN-News2's first and most publicized blogger has announced her resignation today from the Nashville media outlet.
The departure of Gilbert comes on the heels of the resignation of former station manager Mike Sechrist and the termination of news director Steve Sabato. WKRN's other full time blogger A.C. Kleinheider, who authors the popular political blog "Volunteer Voters," is still posting on his site.
Gilbert's blog, "Nashville is Talking," was launched by Sechrist in 2005 and was one of the first blogs operated by a local media outlet anywhere in the country. The addition of bloggers, a move toward what the media industry calls "video journalism," an effort to put more camera's on the street to capture breaking news, and a focus on the entertainment beat were Sechrist's signature moves at the station.
The goal of blogs wasn't to draw in viewers to the TV news but to attract an audience to the web site that had abandoned the television news programming, typically the under-30 viewer. In terms of ratings, the station apparently moved up to second or tied with WSMV-TV 4 on the morning show in certain times slots and demographics.
Young Broadcasting, WKRN's owner, however, has been struggling financially because of nearly $1 billion in debt, a large chunk coming as the result of buying KRON-TV in San Francisco in 1999 for more than $800 million. The company has been attempting to cut costs to reduce losses. In its quarter ending March 31, the company reported a net loss of $25.2 million, a $5.2-million improvement over the previous year's quarter. Net revenue fell from $48.4 million in the first quarter of 2007 to $42.6 million. But the company said the revenue actually was 2.9% higher than the first quarter of 2005, the last non-election year.