Category Archives: Media

Discussion of the media, traditional and new.

SAY ReadWriteWeb (Three Times Fast)

ReadWriteWeb’s acquisition by SAY Media is an exciting development, the fruit of many years of hard work by Richard MacManus and the ReadWriteWeb team (which I have been fortunate to be a part of for the past two years). I’m really looking forward to working with my RWW compatriots and the SAY Media team on this next phase of ReadWriteWeb’s evolution — it should be quite a fun ride!

Assange’s arrest

Julian Assange is in British custody this morning on Swedish sex-crimes charges. The next few hours, I suspect, will be critical in seeing if additional companies begin to cut off WikiLeaks’ platform (though it needs to be noted that the official charges of rape do not relate to WikiLeaks’ operation). An update on The Guardian (whose live blog is excellent) indicates that a decryption key for the “insurance” file, which apparently houses more damaging documents and would be released upon Assange’s arrest or death, is coming soon.

TheDigitel closes a round of funding!

Belated congratulations to Ken Hawkins and his team at TheDigitel for landing their recent investment. TheDigitel is a true asset to the Charleston community, both tech and otherwise; I know that I’ve become better in-tune with my city than ever not only because of the work they do, but because they permit citizens like you and me to directly contribute to the news. If you’re not in Charleston and think this sounds awesome, don’t fret: you can vote on the next city TheDigitel will serve. My best wishes to Ken and his team in this exciting new chapter in their venture!

WCBD’s Social Media Push

WCBD, Charleston’s NBC affiliate, is launching a huge push into social media today by getting a majority of its news staff on Twitter. This is huge — I can’t say I’ve seen too many news agencies place a majority of their staff out into the wild amongst the Twitter-using public. Everybody from the anchors to the photogs is on and listening. Just today I was having a converation with morning anchor Brad Franko during the A-Rod (A-Roid?) press conference. WCBD’s had a presence on Twitter for a while, starting with producer Raymond Owens. Raymond was the first of the television journalists — and among the first of the journalists in Charleston in general — to make news a conversation over Twitter. That struck me. I was particularly pleased when chief meteorologist Rob Fowler joined up later, and gradually more and more folks at the channel started to tweet. I still think one of the marvels of Twitter is how it brings the people together with the media; with media listening in on what people are talking about over Twitter, it helps them serve our interests that much more effectively.

So, with that in mind, I’ve put together a few things that WCBD — and other news organizations tempted to take the social media plunge — should give a shot. Continue reading

Post & Courier offers buyouts to employees

The Post & Courier is offering to buy out their employees to help cut back salaries without layoffs. This scares me. We need newsrooms; despite the rise of citizen journalism, there is still an important place for the trained, professional newsgatherers who hunt the stories, who have the access and the discretion necessary to advance a story objectively. Newsrooms still drive the agenda in the country. The blogosphere gives us an unprecedented opportunity to provide a check and balance against an increasingly corporate media, but the blogosphere still largely thrives on the newsrooms. Newspapers need to stop focusing on the medium and start focusing on the message; becoming platform-agnostic is the only way newsrooms will survive, and it’s frightening how many publications simply do not get this.

For Sale: The Weather Channel

The Weather Channel’s days as a privately owned cable network are numbered. There’s a lot of wondering why they’re up for sale for as much $5 billion. They certainly have prime-time Web real estate (weather.com), but I think people underestimate their IntelliStar platform. The IntelliStar, the latest iteration of the computer which serves up that Local on the 8s you’ve come to know and love over the years, is secretly one of the better advertising platforms out there on cable. Check out this Broadcasting & Cable piece from 2004, when IntelliStar was introduced. In short, the computer can serve up commercials based on weather conditions you may be experiencing. Now, imagine this technology licensed out. It’s amazing they haven’t done that yet…and one almost wonders if they’ve missed the boat. Cable isn’t exactly what it used to be on an excitement scale as far as a media delivery platform.

My comm professors would shoot me if I said this on air

The big loser is O.J. What else do I need to say? On the very day his confession-to-murder book comes out, he decides to pull off an armed robbery. Does he want to go to jail? Seems like it.

— John Gibson, The Big Story (FOX News), Friday, Sept. 21

I know Juice isn’t a popular guy, but this is one of the most blatant examples of the media convicting someone before they’ve even been tried. Gibson plays judge, jury, and executioner here, and that is just irresponsible. This is a line I see in my broadcast news textbook that I would have to edit out for ethical reasons. Amazing.

Tropical Storm Barry

So Tropical Storm Barry kicked off the season at about 5:00 last night, and I joked that now that the rain will have a name, The Weather Channel will send crews and stuff and cue up the hurricane themes and stuff.

Well, I’ll be damned if they don’t have the radar inset going (once reserved for really rough weather) and they have Mike Bettes on location at Punta Gorda, FL. Sigh. Folks, it’s rain. It’s named. The Southeast sure as hell needs it. There’s no need to send a crew to a rainstorm with a little wind that happens to have a name because it got itself together enough to spin up to 40 mph for a few hours.

The crying wolf factor is something that the media really has to guard against, and it looks like their lesson has not been learned…