Reals Takes the Deal: WUSA Vet Says Nyet to Backpack, Takes Buyout

Gary Reals/WUSA

Gary Reals/WUSA

Gary Reals took at look at the future and decided he’d had enough.  The veteran WUSA/DC reporter, who’s covered stories in Washington and around the world for Channel 9 since 1980, tells the Falls Church News-Press he had no interest in becoming a backpack journalist.  “It kind of hastened my decision to leave the news industry, which was the difficult choice I made in October, so the decision to take the buyout was quite easy,” Reals told the paper.

WUSA plans to make all its reporters into one man bands, saving money on field crews and lowering salaries for reporters in the process.  Reals, who still considers local TV news a “noble profession,” felt the product and the work had been “a lot less noble in recent years.”  He told the News-Press’ Natalie Bedell the decision to go backpack was the final straw.  “If you’re involved in the shooting and then subsequently the editing, you can’t be thinking too much about the journalistic aspect of gathering additional information. There’s going to be less substance,” he said.

Read up on Reals’ remarkable career in Bedell’s piece at



Filed under Cutbacks, Local News 2.0

3 responses to “Reals Takes the Deal: WUSA Vet Says Nyet to Backpack, Takes Buyout

  1. Dave

    Technology shouldn’t be looked at this way. Did the typewriter take away from the “Journalistic Aspect”?

    Television news is telling the story with words AND PICTURES and if all you want to do is stand in front of a camera and talk you will soon be extinct. Giving more control of the picture to the reporter is a benefit, not a hindrance.

  2. Rob

    I agree wholeheartedly with Gary Reals. I’ve worked in broadcast journalism since the ’70’s and the trend toward smaller crews has nothing to do with improving the product, only with improving the bottom line. In music, the amazing thing about a one man band is that the person can play music at all, not that the music is any good. It’s the same with TV news. Different people come with different skill sets and a person that’s a terrific writer and reporter is rarely any good with a camera and vice versa. Combining the workload of at least three people onto one person’s back will leave little time for real journalism or production value. Mr. Reals clearly takes pride in his work and I can’t blame him for leaving.

  3. brian

    the death of journalism in tv news continues. with the business offices in New York and the share holders controlling and dictating what and how we should cover news by stripping down newsrooms to bare bones so that they can increase their share values. at what point do we bleed to death, and “all” newsrooms are run by one company? we hire cheap “kids” to make value judgements, ethical decisions, and sometimes life and death decisions. we buy out (fire) experienced reporters, replace them with nothing. Expect the same product. not gonna happen. Don’t complain when all 3-4 stations cover the same press release stories. I hope you like fluff. Fluff that is shot poorly, written poorly, and slopped together and covered up with graphics to confuse you from the fact that the story has no substance. Don’t expect investigative stories anymore. (Those require time, and time means money)
    Don’t expect any in-depth stories anymore. The back-pack journalist are taking over soon, and they cannot do the jobs of a great reporter, a talented photographer, and sharp editor. I have only ever seen one person in my market (San Francisco) do it “okay”. The rest looks like college tv, scratch that, high school tv. (no offense meant to the high schoolers) I guess we deserve what we wish for? Good luck share holders. Good luck journalist, photojournalist, and all you tv people.

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