Fox10 News announced Tuesday morning a local woman has been chosen as the the new co-host for its morning “Studio 10” show.

Chelsey Sayasane has joined Joe Emer in hosting the morning lifestyles program, fulfilling a dream spawned when she was interviewed on the show a few years ago. Sayasane grew up locally, attending Saraland High School, where she was class president. From there she attended the University of Mobile, which she represented as Miss UM.

As part of her pageant platform, Sayasane founded a ministry called Coats of Many Colors, which donates coats to homeless across the area and the country. So far, Coats of Many Colors has donated more than 26,000 coats, Sayasane says.

After appearing on “Studio 10” to talk about Coats of Many Colors, Sayasane says she remembers telling her mother, “I can do something like that someday.”

Sayasane becomes the first full-time co-host for Emer since Chasity Byrd left the station this past August.


Exciting changes six years later

An article released by the Poynter Institute last week took a hard look at the successes and failures of Advance Publications’ decision six years ago to drop publication of its daily newspapers to three days per week.

That decision hit Alabama particularly hard, drastically reducing publication days for the Mobile Press-Register, Huntsville Times and Birmingham News. Cities such as New Orleans and Portland, Oregon, also saw their dailies turned to thrice-weeklies as Advance set out on a digitally based strategy.

Poynter media and business analyst Rick Edmonds looked back at what’s happened over the ensuing years, interviewing some current Advance leaders in the process and getting their rarely expressed take.

“We made mistakes, a lot of them,” Randy Siegel, president of Advance Local, told Edmonds, “but we are pleased with our progress and happy with where we are.”

Mark Lorando, editor of NOLA.com and The Times-Picayune in New Orleans, said the quick move toward digital put the kinds of protracted slow death being experienced in other newsrooms behind them and has allowed the paper and website to move on toward more substantive coverage. However, Edmonds points out the move also brought the Picayune a daily competitor, as the Baton Rouge Advocate launched a New Orleans product.

Edmonds points out that both print circulation and revenue for Advance papers are down significantly and track two to three points worse than the industry average — many losing half or more of their circulation. But digitally, Siegel said the company’s websites went from roughly 25 million visitors in 2012 to 55 million last year. Video had almost 2 billion views last year as well, and according to Nielsen Scarborough research, Advance has five of the top eight websites in terms of household penetration.

Despite Siegel’s sunny outlook, though, Edmonds found naysayers, although most wouldn’t go on the record. One former Advance executive described the switch to digital as a “disaster across the board.” Another critic said the formula simply won’t work in order to produce the revenue needed to support quality news gathering. But others see Advance as simply being the first to make the jump that will become inevitable for other major chains.

Edmonds also mentioned Advance is tinkering with paywalls in some markets, which could indicate a move away from all-free websites — something happening across the country.