I am working on the template of this blog today in order to chase down some problems that have developed with my template and widgets.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

KPRC News Documentary

This is a documentary filmed in 1966 and is a fascinating look at how a news station in Houston went about gathering the news in the 60s.

Frame Grab from the KPRC Documentary filmed in 1966Many of the jobs that once took several people now take only one or two people to accomplish. I got a kick out of seeing the old-style film editors at work.

It makes me consider the routines and methods I employ when gathering information for a blog post or when I prepare to cover a live event, or when I have the rare opportunity to webcast a live event.

One thing that is apparent to me is that most news organizations seem to still operate with the view that their conventional channel is the main target of their news gathering operations. That is to say, that TV Stations seem overly focused on items for broadcast, Radio Stations and Newspapers seems focused on their conventional distribution channel. Many of them have websites that are either afterthoughts or are very poorly designed advertisement platforms. WWNC-AM is one obvious example that comes to mind, especially after looking at the source code. Nearly every Clear Channel radio station website looks the same and isn't designed with standard SEO practices in mind that would help in making their material searchable on the web. 

They have neglected to change with the times and to take advantage of the new opportunities presented by the Internet and the multiple channels of distribution that have become available to them.

One of the few examples I can think of that don't fall into this mold is the Mountain Xpress in Asheville. It is a weekly paper that is mostly filled with entertainment news and some news stories of local interest. Their website is a much better source of information because they have used crowd sourcing techniques that allow people in the community to participate in the news gathering process.

This is something that the Asheville Citizen-Times has tried to do over the years and has failed miserably with each attempt, usually through no fault of their reporters. I place the blame with a very poor management style that seems to take a top-down approach to news gathering that reminds me of the old Soviet Politburo method of Command and Control and centralized decision making.

WLOS-TV is more of the same in regard to web design and news distribution, although it is a step above the Citizen-Times.  One glaring omission from the website is the ability to watch the newscast live or on demand. They have individual stories, but not the whole product.

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