“I do think we will see more consolidation in our industry, and probably fewer jobs. Each journalist is not only going to have the 'know-how,' ethics, and principles, but they also will have to be versed in FTP, HTML, videography, digital video formats/codecs, and anything else related to the fast-turnaround of video and/or information.”
Ruiter talking with the MGP, April 2009
Written for the MGP by Samantha Ray Running, student at the University of Missouri School of Journalism, April 2009
Dan Ruiter grew up in Lake Wilson, Minnesota. He graduated with a BS from St. Cloud State University and received a project management certificate from Augsburg College. Post graduation, his work history includes general assignment reporter with WEAU-TV in Eau Claire, WI and evening news co-anchor, KAAL-TV, Austin, MN before becoming news director with KEYC-TV/FOX.
KEYC is owned by United Communications Corporation from Kenosha, WI. It's been in existence since October, 1960. KEYC has a digital sub-channel (FOX Mankato) that was launched July 1, 2007.
As News Director there, Ruiter reminds his employees and co-workers at daily editorial meetings that they need to tell the stories that folks are chatting about over water coolers, and they need to remember what information is useful to their viewers.
As far as a business models, Ruiter says the model for broadcasters is changing rapidly. "We make our money by 'selling air,'" he says. "We also sell services by producing commercials, informational videos, and industrial/instructional videos for private companies." He says they now sell space on their website as well.
When asked about the risks of journalism, Ruiter says he prefers to see it in terms of sacrifice. "As a journalist you're seldom off duty," Ruiter says. "So having the phone ring at all hours is a sacrifice. Professionally speaking, I suppose I could have moved on to a larger market with more pay, but having a family, I like a little stability, too."
Ruiter says other challenges includes keeping current on rapidly changing technologies like Twitter and Facebook, and the use of the Internet to move video and gather information.
He says the challenges are worth it, and that the freedom of the press is vital to the survival of a democracy. "To that end, we have a very large responsibility to uphold."
Ruiter thinks local television, radio, and newspapers are everything that is right with journalism. "We give our audience information that it needs and can use," he says.
"Rush Limbaugh (dividing the nation)," Ruiter says when asked what's wrong with journalism. "The new MSNBC (same reason),FOX News Channel (ditto), Nancy Grace (obsessing over one topic), and the 24-hour news cycle, which again focuses in on one topic and 'over-covers' it."
Ruiter says television will always be the place to get breaking news if you want high quality video, but says there's no doubt that the Internet will only play an increasingly large part in our future.