Nashville TV station to put video bloggers on the air

WKRN's Mike Sechrist addresses a Nashville blogger meet-upIn an unprecedented industry move, Nashville ABC affiliate WKRN-TV announced tonight that it would begin paying local bloggers for approved video stories they submit and running those stories on its Website and in its newscasts. WKRN president and general manager Mike Sechrist told a “meet-up” of local bloggers that he could envision the day when a daily program would be made up entirely of material submitted by the community.

While there are many issues to work out, the reaction in the room was extremely positive. Nashville already boasts several quality video bloggers (vloggers) who are expected to begin offering their material immediately. Sechrist said the station would provide technical and journalism support where necessary or requested and that all stories would be vetted through the station’s existing editorial process and systems.

Sechrist told the group of bloggers that they had already had a significant influence on the news programs the station produces, simply by doing what they do. The station has pursued stories first raised in the blogging community and has used local bloggers as a sounding board at various times.

This bold move reminds me of South Korea’s OhmyNews! and its “every citizen is a reporter” slogan. By paying bloggers to conceive and produce stories that they feel are interesting, the station is following the “networked journalism” model noted by Jeff Jarvis earlier this week and the citizen journalism thinking of people such as Dan Gillmor.

I’m sure that we’ll hear plenty of bitching about this from the trenches of the TV news business, but the truth is this was inevitable. Stations have always employed “stringers” or “freelancers,” but most of their work was raw video that station reporters used to tell stories. This takes the concept a step further and taps into the knowledge, passion, brainpower and, yes, skill of people in the community. This a fruit of the personal media revolution, and it will be interesting to watch.

The social gathering tonight was well-attended, and I was taken by the number of new faces present. The blogosphere in Nashville is unique in its real world social networking, and it’s always good to see in the same room people driven by the ability to self-publish. These are bright people, and most of them are funnier than all get out, too.

DISCLOSURE: WKRN-TV is a client of mine.

Comments

  1. Excellent news. Makes me want to go buy a digital video camera…

  2. Bill: It would be an excellent investment.

  3. Sounds like thats made to order for my vlog. I wanted to be there, but it was the only time I could tape my latest vlog post.

  4. Where do we send our submission for WKRN? Do they have an email they prefer we use?

  5. Steve, I’m not sure on that. Drop Mike a note (mike@wkrn.com) and see what he says.

  6. Unfortunately, I have a face made for radio, but I really think this idea is smashing.

  7. During Mike Sechrist’s remarks I leaned over to Jon Jackson and said that, should I be successful in my race for the Tennessee Legislature, I’d love to videoblog senate committee sessions.

    Jon, the writer behind “Crap & Drivel,” replied that he’d love to edit in the dialogue. With Jackson’s hilariously profane wit, it just might merit its own show–after ten, of course.

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