Posts about tv


One’s reign lasts such a short time online. The Guardian notes that Alexa [insert standing and necessary caveat about small and odd sample here] reports YouTube has exceeded MySpace.

I don’t agree with those who say that YouTube is unpurchasable because of bandwidth costs and rights issues. Viacom got over the latter with iFilm and a million or two a month is nuttin to big companies. But more important: This is just too big to ignore. This is more than a new network. It’s a new TV, two-way TV, the TV run by the people on the other end of the rabbit ears. And some players in the old tv — yes, networks, but more likely cable companies that are quietly watching their hegemony over distribution disappear — or some would-be players in the new tv — see AOL’s announcement today — have to be talking about gulping and buying. Because Time Warner is in both worlds, it would make sense for them … but then, their own divisions, let alone worlds, can’t talk to each other, who who knows. Comcast is smart and strategic enough and big enough to do this; I think my money’s there… for now. I’ll be interested to see MySpace watcher Scott Karp’s take on this.

Amateurs get paid

When people ask me for the most forward-thinking news organization in the U.S. that has actually accomplished things in this new world, I point to WKRN TV in Nashville, run by Mike Sechrist, and Terry Heaton’s work with them. They’ve listened to their community via bloggers (in meetups) and shared knowledge with them (teaching them how to shoot video) and promoted them (in the station’s blog) and supported them (with an ad network).

This week, they announced an important next step: valuing the work of these amateurs. Terry reports:

…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. . . .

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. . . .

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. . . .


And they say we snark

Great reading in The Guardian as the former head of the BBC’s Today show (the one that led to a huge crisis in the network), who is now heading the corporation’s internal journalism school (which I visited last week), lashes out against the hosts of Today… and they lash back. What’s even more fun is that it played out in the BBC’s own house organ.


Right now on Channel 4 in London, I’m watching the British version of Wife Swap. This afternoon, I saw no end of British versions of American home show. Of course, there’s Pop Idol and the nanny shows and even Deal or No Deal (why would the world create two of those?) as well as other examples. I think we’re losing our leadership in creating tacky reality shows. And I’m not sure what I should think of that.

In Auntie’s attic

Tom Loosemore, a BBC strategist, gets excited about the latest from Auntie: a searchable data base of information about almost a million BBC programs over 75 years. He writes about it here.


VH1’s Best Week Every has a new blog: very punchy; each post should be accompanied by the snare drum, e.g., “Angelina and Brad will name their baby “Africa” because Angelina loves Africa. Thankfully, the child wasn’t born seven years ago when Angelina would have probably named it ‘Lesbians.’ “

‘Splain Katie to me, Lucy

Comment is Free at the Guardian asked me explain this Katie Couric fussmuss to folks on that side of the world.

Can’t see the ocean for the anchor

On Reliable Sources this morning, I had a moment with Erik Sorenson, former executive producer of the CBS Evening News with Dan Rather and a former MSNBC exec. Howard Kurtz asked about new Today show cohost Meredith Viera having opinions:

KURTZ: Erik Sorenson, Meredith Vieira marched in the anti-war demonstration a couple years ago, and she said on “The View” that the war was built on lies. Does that create a credibility problem for her when she’s interviewing guest on “The Today Show” about Iraq?

SORENSON: I think it’s going to be a challenge. She she talked about it herself. She used, you know, a funnier analogy [this followed a clip of Viera saying she’d spent recent years on The View talking orgasms], but she has been out there with her opinions. And that’s not going to be considered appropriate on “The Today Show”. And she will have to modify that and modulate that voice.

KURTZ: Vieira told me she was not ashamed of what she had said, but that the job of a journalist is to put your biases aside, when you’re in a news role, which she will be….

KURTZ: Jeff Jarvis, you were shaking your head a moment ago.

JARVIS: I disagree with Erik about her having opinions. I think that’s exactly the wrong thing to do, to say, “OK, tamp down those opinions and don’t have them any more, Meredith.”

The truth is we all have opinions. The problem in big news is, we kind of lie by omission. Our agendas are all hidden. Dan Rather would have been better off if he said, “You know what? I don’t like George Bush, but now judge me on what I report.”

Meredith Vieira should go ahead and say, “Yes, I was against the war, but now judge the substance and the fairness and the interviews and the work I do.”

It is time for to us get over this idea that we’re objective and don’t have opinions.

SORENSON: Jeff, you’d have a field day if she did that, wouldn’t you? …

JARVIS: No, I would have a field day of complimenting her on finally having an honest voice on TV and not acting like we’re plastic people with no opinions. You know I would have a field day praising her for finally having the courage to break the old, dull ways of TV news.

More on the transcript.