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Why Local News Matters More Than Ever

By Kevin Roach, News Director at Sinclair Broadcast Group and PRSA’s 2018 Media Friend of the Year

I have won many journalism awards throughout my career, locally and nationally, through award submissions. PRSA Dayton recognizing me as the 2018 Media Friend of the Year comes out of the blue for me, so this is very special.

I have a phrase I use with my staff, especially the morning team - How do we reflect the fabric of our community? It is something I strongly believe we must do every day. I appreciate you recognizing our efforts to celebrate this great community and our collective goal to make it even better.

I returned to Dayton a year and a half ago. My opinion was there was too much of a focus on negative news. I refocused my team to look for more positive stories and put things in context. We look for stories that help alert, protect and empower viewers. We also focus on holding those in power accountable.

I left Dayton to work on national and international news at The Associated Press. That gave me a perspective I never imaged when I returned back to local news. My new question- Why should I bother spending my time with you in local news when there are so many choices online and through streaming services? The truth is local news matters more today than it ever has mattered and we can still impact change.

One significant issue we continue to tackle is the opioid crisis. We learned and explained this is not a socioeconomic issue. It impacts all communities. I committed my team to focus on solutions for addicts, family members, and the community and promote how those offering help. Last year, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) recognized our focus on solutions-based stories and partnered with us in an important and game-changing focus for the DEA.

This community drives my desire to be successful in my work. I believe our community is so much more alive than when I first left town. This new spirit and pride is one driving force for me. When we raised our children in Centerville, we never considered going to downtown Dayton. Now, my wife and I live downtown, and we love it.

Secondly, I am so impressed with the young people we have recently hired. Their enthusiasm is boundless. I get great satisfaction helping them grow and flourish. Yesterday, one new producer in training told me to make sure to watch her next newscast as she left work for the day. Those type of moments keep me going.

Finally, my family influences me in so many ways. My wife works for American Airlines in customer service and I have two daughters. One is public relations professional at Fanny Mae. The other is a marketing professional at Ogilvy. We all know public relations well and enjoy lively discussions sharing the challenges we have in our jobs. It’s fun and rewarding. We are proud parents!

My advice for future generations is to embrace change. less than fifteen years ago no one could have ever imaged Facebook. Think about what’s next because technology disruptors will continue to grow. Understand where people are going and be aggressive in getting in that space.


 

Kevin Roach is the news director at WRGT/WKEF TV Dayton. Fox 45 is the media sponsor of the Governor’s Generation Rx campaign to fight opioid abuse and has been a leader in covering the opioid epidemic, often partnering with local experts and others involved in the fight. Kevin has sponsored PRSA’s Media Day and even assisted member and nominator Mark Weinstein from Cedarville University on the creation of a campus digital newsroom, resulting in 90 media interviews in its first four months.

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