Archive for the television Category

Twitter for Elections Coverage

Posted in Events, How To Series, Internet, Journalism, new media, News Production, Solutions, television on October 29, 2010 by James Rowe

United States Mid-Term Elections are next week and  social media takes on a greater role than two years ago in the Presidential election.  It can be said President Barack Obama is the first POTUS to have used social media in a political campaign.

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs leverages social media for his news briefings.  Gibbs uses 140-character jargon to solicit questions; a version of crowdsourcing.  His management style answers just one tweeted query on YouTube.

Civics is sociology and sociology benefits from tools of social media.  What creative utility have you considered for online social networks?

Whitney Matthews, online editor for the Lawrence Journal-World, offers a plan to use Twitter for election coverage; she writes for Poynter Online.  Matthews’ post has four points:

  1. Make a plan
  2. Get a local hashtag
  3. Tweet poll checks
  4. Add tweets to your website

Politicians and media covering them make excellent use of Twitter and other social networks.  This is the year of social media according to researchers such as Gartner, Edison and Nielsen.  Now is also the occasion we are expected to learn or begin to make money with social media according to a number of studies.

ABC News plans to anchor election night coverage from network headquarters in New York City and Facebook headquarters in Palo Alto, CA.   ABC teams up with Facebook for elections coverage.  Social media for American elections is reality.

Here we’ve offered examples of using the big two social networks; Twitter and Facebook.  However there are others and more ways to use online tools to cover voting.  Google gets social with its elections center.  The search engine provides four services for voters:

  1. Polling place locations
  2. Registration instructions
  3. Ballot information
  4. State and local election office contact information

The question remains – how are you using social networks, new media and traditional media to serve voters of the United States this election?

James Rowe

Rowe and Company, LLC

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New Technology Developer Seeks Partners

Posted in Internet, new media, News Production, Products, software, Solutions, television on October 8, 2010 by James Rowe

Developers of MyNewsVu seek partners among television stations, networks and vendors of television news automation products.  Roland Boucher and his co-founder Stevan Vigneaux have created a product they describe as “next generation on demand news-site software.”  Messieurs Boucher and Vigneaux say they are reinventing television for the connected age.

MyNewsVu offers a personalized rundown or playlist of news stories on a station or network’s website.  Recent research notes video is king of online content.  Other studies indicate user experience is the must have in presentation of media.  Boucher says MyNewsVu promises an “individually-personalized TV newscast to each and every viewer.”  Here are a couple of ways to check on his statement.  Engineers and techie types perhaps would prefer to watch the presentation of the technology and business case for MyNewsVu.  Editorial professionals bored with technical information, who just want to know how it works, likely would choose to test the service itself.  The links provide you both experiences.

In this age when Jon Stewart is probably the most trusted news source in the United States of America his Daily Show website is user friendly.  Stewart’s site offers an easy online presentation of his comedy channel program.  MyNewsVu proposes an interesting solution for broadcasters searching for new and friendlier methods to communicate with audiences, who demand content when and where they desire.

So for those interested, here’s an opportunity to get in on the development stage of technology to deliver personalized viewing experiences for television news and shape the user experience.  Boucher calls for partners to help polish MyNewsVu.  He says they are “currently seeking development partners from a major Network News Organization or a Newsroom Automation and/or News Production Systems Company wishing to extend their News Production Workflow to include Internet delivered TV newscasts.”  Help fashion the future and reach out to MyNewsVu.  Contact information is on their website and to give you a better user experience here’s Roland’s email address

James Rowe

Rowe and Company, LLC

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News 3.0

Posted in Internet, Journalism, Management, new media, television on September 15, 2010 by James Rowe

The Pew Research Center for the People and the Press releases a 145-page study every news director in the United States of America must read. The director of the Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism, Tom Rosenstiel, suggests we call the findings “News 3.0.” The Pew report is titled “Americans Spending More Time Following the News.” Download it and set aside a lot of time for an education on news consumption habits gleaned from telephone interviews with more than three thousand Americans in June of this year.

There are more ways available for people to get news and the report indicates because of the plethora of sources more Americans follow the news. Television still leads in consumption and radio and newspapers are ahead of Internet news sources according to research. However, Rosenstiel’s commentary, in the report’s conclusion, argues “the best way to understand what is occurring today with the way people interact with the news and technology is to think of it as the end of our digital childhood.”

In a report from Pew Internet & American Life Project in the first quarter of this year on “Understanding the Participatory News Consumer” researchers write “the Internet and mobile technologies are at the center of the story of how people’s relationship to news is changing.”

The March, 2010 report sampled less than 23-hundred American adults to determine a “revolutionary shift” in how news is consumed has taken place over the last five years. The research claims social networks have an increasing role in how Americans receive news information. Online news consumption falls behind newspapers (third in the contest for consumption). The earlier study indicates three fourths of Americans gathering news online do so through email or social network posts.

What does it all mean? Back to the interpretation from Rosenstiel – Pew studies present “signs of a new phase, perhaps even a new era, in the acquisition and consumption of news.”

Heads up news executives, it’s time to pay attention to the work of the Pew Center and download and study their voluminous reports.

James Rowe

Rowe and Company, LLC

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Will A Third Way for Broadband in the United States Work?

Posted in Internet, Management, NAB, new media, television on June 4, 2010 by James Rowe

The United States Federal Communications Commission Chairman believes he has a compromise to the broadband debate.  Julius Genachowski’s strategy to deliver high speed Internet connections to all U.S. citizens takes a new direction.  The kink in the chairman’s proposal is the question of how much authority the FCC has over Internet Service Providers.  Broadcasters are watching closely from the sideline his plan to divide the broadcast television spectrum.

PC Magazine uses the chairman’s own words, “third way,” to headline the FCC’s new plan  Genachowski proposes to redefine the Internet as a telecommunications service.  Doing so gives the federal commission authority to regulate ISPs.  The chairman’s sticky wicket is Net neutrality.  He’s  straddling the divide between consumers and providers, both Internet and television.

The Appellate Court ruling in April of this year bridled the agency’s reach for the National Broadband PlanPC Magazine explains Genachowski’s setback as “reclassifying only the transmission component of the broadband access service as a telecommunications service.”  It’s sort of partial enforcement of telecommunications rules when it comes to broadband.

The Chairman issued a statement saying “the FCC should adopt a restrained approach to broadband communications, one carefully balanced to unleash investment and innovation while also protecting and empowering consumers.”  Where will the balancing act land the broadband initiative?

The commission’s next open meeting is June 17, 2010.  Here’s a paragraph from the news release on the June meeting’s agenda:

“Framework for Broadband Internet Service NOI: A Notice of Inquiry to begin an open, public process to consider possible legal frameworks for broadband Internet services in order to promote innovation and investment, protect and empower consumers, and bring the benefits of broadband to all Americans.” 

The National Association of Broadcasters’ position “is working to promote spectrum policies that do not restrict consumer access to the full potential of digital television (DTV), including high definition (HD) and multicast programming and mobile DTV.”

There is a lot of fence straddling going on with a nationwide broadband plan.  What do you think?  Do you plan to file a comment with the FCC?

Broadcast Newsroom Computing next considers investigative journalism and new technology.

James Rowe

Rowe and Company, LLC

Verify Even If You Trust

Posted in Solutions, television on May 9, 2010 by James Rowe

A news executive looking for a throat to throttle about a calamitous technology failure asked me how anyone could permit such a threat to their news programming.  I had been responsible for cleaning up one the worst sales processes I personally experienced in all my years consulting enterprise solutions. The television group had become victim of their own bargain shopping, untrustworthy sales representatives and unskilled support.

Group executives negotiating the sale had abused the account representatives and the reps were ignorant of their own products. The failure of trust extended beyond the frontline though. It began internally with the vendor and carried through the sales presentation to implementation.  A number of self-proclaimed experts within the station group and on the vendor’s side had weighed in on problems frustrating implementation.  All had fallen short of resolving complications and providing the vice-president of news confidence in the new production process.

The only resolution to the predicament was solid advice and ability to demonstrate or verify information provided.  We cleaned up the mess but failed to restore credence.

FUD as it known to sales people, or to the rest of us fear, uncertainty and doubt, is accepted as part of business competition.  In my opinion the only way around such a dysfunction is good information.  Broadcast Newsroom Computing strives to be a trustworthy source and we believe we’ve discovered another credible reference.  Devoncroft Partners Big Broadcast Survey is a useful tool in monitoring technology winning attention of television competitors.  The BBS is an annual international study of broadcast technology buying.  A quick study on the survey is offered by TVNewsCheck’s interview with Joe Zaller, a Devoncroft principal.

I learned from several engineering chiefs, I’ve worked with in my career, knowing how adversaries use technology is one of the best ways to verify or debunk marketing propaganda offered by so many dealers.  The Devoncroft blog is a useful source in that effort.

Broadcast Newsroom Computing next attempts to fathom the broadband brouhaha.

James Rowe

Rowe and Company, LLC

An Unprecedented Coalition for Mobile Digital Television

Posted in television on April 26, 2010 by James Rowe

A dozen major television groups in the United States create the National Mobile DTV Joint Venture. Belo, Cox, Fox, Gannett, Scripps, Hearst, ION Television, Media General, Meredith, NBC, Post-Newsweek and Raycom form a separate endeavor to reach 150 million viewers. The current state of the project is considered a "memorandum of understanding."

A mobile DTV experiment is schedule to start in Washington, D. C. in a week. According to National Association of Broadcasters president Gordon Smith the trial is mostly a congressional lobbying effort. Smith told Broadcasting and Cable website the Washington experiment is to "enable us to go to Congressional offices and show them the future." Smith predicts 150 stations in the United States will be on the air with mobile DTV by the end of the year.

TVNewsCheck reports the group of 12 station groups expects no less than ten channels of programming. Gannett Broadcasting’s Dave Lougee tells the website there will be more than ten channels and less than 50. He said "It’s going to be somewhere in between."

All current members involved in the venture have pledged cash, content, marketing and spectrum for the project. There is a lot of work to be done and none of the group executives would provide a date when the national service is to begin.

The venture grew out of the Open Mobile Video Coalition according to Lougee and Alan Franks of Post-Newsweek, as reported by TVNewsCheck. Cox president Sandy Schwartz explained to Broadcasting and Cable there are no contracts in place for hardware and software. There are no agreements with cellular telephone carriers to put television tuners in phones they sell.

Belo’s vice-president of technology Craig Harper discloses to TVNewsCheck Belo is investing in Harris technology to deliver mobile DTV in 15 markets.

"Through the Harris MPH platform, our increasingly mobile viewers will now be able to receive live, free, over-the-air local television programming such as news, sports, weather or other local content when and where they want it."

Next Broadcasting Newsroom Computing takes another look at the state of the economy.

James Rowe

Rowe and Company, LLC

New Order to Network Television Journalism

Posted in Economy, Jobs, Journalism, Management, News Production, RTNDA, television on March 7, 2010 by James Rowe

The Radio-Television Digital News Foundation’s First Amendment Leadership award was given to the President of ABC News days after he announced a reorganization of the network news operation. David Westin sent an email to ABC employees telling them 25-percent of the news division’s 1400 members would lose their jobs. Voluntary buy out packages had already been offered to many according to the Los Angeles Times. ABC is closing all United States bureaus except Washington and laying off half of the networks domestic correspondents. They’ll be replaced with a dozen “digital journalists” or “backpack journalists.”

Westin told the digital news organization, that changed its name to Radio Television Digital News Association/Foundation late last year to agree with the times, “I can see no greater challenge to the First Amendment than the threats that are being faced by so many of our news organizations…threats to their ability to have the wherewithal to employ reporters and support them with the resources that they need."

So the future in ABC’s crystal ball is new media technology. The economy has certainly made world class organizations like ABC consider other and new ways to produce their product. The network has already deployed “digital journalists” of sort on news assignments. One man or two men bands with laptop computers, digital video camcorders, and accessories will cover most stories for ABC in the future. The concept of backpack journalism is very old. Editor and Publisher magazine detailed the practice years ago.

Given Westin’s statement to the news director’s fraternity the sad state of the economy is driving his embrace of digital media technology and reduction in human resources. It is best summed by ABC anchor Bill Weir, who shot and edited some of his own work in Afghanistan recently. Weir told the LA Times “…it can be done. Hopefully, we can come out on the other side of this and keep doing our work in a more efficient, nimble way. Because if we don’t change now, maybe the entire place goes."

Next, Broadcast Newsroom Computing examines the Poytner Institutes’ webinar on using smart phones to cover the news.

James Rowe

Rowe and Company, LLC