Archives for August 2006

Another TV GM joins the blogosphere

Don Lundy, General Manager of McGraw-Hill Broadcasting’s WRTV-TV in Indianapolis, has launched a blog, He becomes the second commercial station GM that I know of (WKRN’s Mike Sechrist is the other) to offer a stand alone blog — with comments — to viewers and internet users. Don is another one of the growing number of television managers who are beginning to understand what all the internet fuss is about, and I’m happy to welcome him to the blogosphere.

I think it’s important that GM’s blog. One, it gives the top guy an up-close and personal view of the Personal Media Revolution, including the tools that everyday people are using. Don’s blog is done in WordPress, and he wrote to me that it “seemed intuitive.” Yeah.

Two, if the GM is doing it, it’s pretty hard for everybody else to shy away. According to Borrell research, the top character trait of a successful local media web strategy is strong executive commitment. I’d say that’s true with all new media. The boss simply must lead the way.

So join me in welcoming Don. Drop on by his place (remodeling will occur over the next few days/weeks) and leave him a comment.

(Full disclosure: WRTV is a client of mine.)

Revisiting a lofty J-school initiative

Over at his MediaShift site, Mark Glaser continues to crank out quality online journalism, including today’s great piece on whatever happened to the experiment in “new” journalism that was launched a year ago by five major journalism grad schools. The schools put together $6 million to fund — over three years — the Carnegie-Knight Initiative on the Future of Journalism Education.

Glaser does a masterful job of taking us through what the initiative has accomplished and concludes that it isn’t much in the way of “new.” And isn’t this always the case when institutional incumbents are threatened by a real disruption?

Here’s the money graph:

So why not take the $6 million and create real new-media incubator businesses? Stanford University helped create Yahoo and Google, but those companies didn’t come from the journalism school. Perhaps the journalism schools could team with computer programming departments to create hybrid sites that combine the best technology of sites such as Digg or YouTube with the editorial standards that come from journalism.
This is excellent thinking and something the initiative would be well advised to embrace, although it’s not likely. The “why not” that Mark poses really IS the question. Why not? Because institutional thinking doesn’t have a seat at the new table, that’s why. And rightly so, for at core, the disruption exists due to the failings of the institution, and who’s going to admit that when their salary and pension are at stake?

For all the good that J-schools do and all the wonderful people who’ve dedicated their lives to training the young people within the ivory walls, it simply isn’t enough in the face of what’s confronting the institution today. If the “professionalism” that these institutions wish to protect is really that important, then Mark’s advice ceases to be advice and becomes, instead, a mandate.

News IS a conversation, but who starts the conversation? That, I believe, is the role of the new “press” in our culture and where journalism education should really begin.

Quality video files via WiFi?

Michael Arrington over at TechCrunch writes of a new technology with rather interesting potential for television news. The company is MotionDSP, and the technology originated as a military application eight years ago.

The company compares multiple frames in a video to find and replace lost pixels in a given frame, significantly enhancing the experience with little increase in overall file size after compression. The service works best when a video is not moving rapidly or in a jerking fashion, but tends to improve just about any low quality video.
Take a look at the samples here and then let your mind wander about the challenge of boosting the quality of small video files for broadcast.

MotionDSP works as a video upload service and will be available for consumers later this year. The intent is to enhance the quality of the videos on user-upload sites like youTube. Frankly, the idea of tweaking the resolution at the receive end of the upload is brilliant, and it may well be the solution broadcasters need to transport video files from the field via the internet.

It's time to end the bullying

So the FCC Wants to Reconsider (its) Indecency Ruling, huh? This is typically what happens when you strike back at a bully, and I sure hope the broadcasters who are seeking their day in court over this runaway governmental interference keep applying the pressure.

The agency says it may have acted too hastily and wants to review the whole matter. I hope the court has balls and denies the request, for this has gone on too long. These rulings have been entirely political, brought about by a tiny number of individuals with clout on the extreme right.

Thank God for the separation of powers.

Squirrel Wars, Episode I, Intruder Alert

Squirrel Wars, Episode I, Intruder Alert.

Media's biggest blind spot

Romenesko grabs a gem from PR Week:

“Suddenly, there are about 10 million more media critics than there were 10 years ago,” says National Journal media critic William Powers. “I find that exciting. It’s funny, there are all these bloggers and all these people who are instant media critics, and yet there are a lot of traditional news outlets that still don’t have anyone doing media criticism. …I think the conventional wisdom in journalism is that media criticism is an inside-the-business topic and it’s really just going to be read by other journalists. And I don’t think that’s true anymore.”
How very true this is. Media people generally don’t realize how important media is in the lives of everyday people and that media is news. News people especially want to view themselves as detached observers, and the idea that they are an integral part of everyday life for people is a little too scary.

Media news is BIG news, although media reporters are few and far between.