KIVI-TV and KSAW-TV will launch an expansion next week that will add additional news resources in southern Idaho.
The stations, owned by EW Scripps, will add two new half-hour newscast serving the Twin Falls market – including Rupert, Jerome, Sun Valley and Hailey. The broadcasts start Monday. Stations in both markets will change from the long-time 6 On Your Side brand to Idaho News 6.
“We’ve been simulcasting our news (from Boise) in Twin Falls for decades, but now they will have local people in their community reporting their stories,” Scripps Idaho News Director J Bates said.
The expansion includes three reporters working and living in the Twin Falls market. Roland Beres will anchor from Boise and Scott Dorval will provide weather forecasts specific to the market. Twin Falls will see a live newscast each day at 5:30pm, and a tape-delayed edition at 10pm.
It gives the area a second full-service TV newsroom in town, after KMVT. The new effort in Twin Falls is patterned on a concept that came out of a group Scripps recently acquired, Cordillera Communications. In Montana, the former Cordillera stations pool some resources to provide news in more markets.
“We hope to bring them our brand of journalism. We’re not the ambulance-chasing mugshot-of-the-day newsroom. We try to do more community-minded solutions journalism,” Bates said. “Our mission is to make the community a better place to live.”
Expansion at fraught time in newsThe expansion comes during a time of overall contraction in local news across the country. In recent weeks, Idaho Press owner Adams Publishing announced a 25% furlough for its employees, KTVB owner TEGNA announced a week-long furlough and some paycuts, and Idaho Business Review owner Gannett announced furloughs.
Bates said that the plan for the Twin Falls newsroom started rolling out in January. Scripps kept its commitment in light of – and because of COVID-19. Bates cited the significant news coming out of the Blaine County area.
“As coronavirus started ramping up, we were like, ‘They could really use us there,'” he said.
While the newscasts remain separate, Bates said Boise viewers of KIVI channel 6 may see more stories with regional impact.
“We can see a lot of those stories traveling up the freeway to us,” he said. But for viewers in the Twin Falls and Wood River Valley areas, the coverage will be focused especially close to home.
“We are going to make a concerted effort to not fill those (Twin Falls) newscasts with Boise stuff.”