Friday, December 08, 2006

Hometown Blog

So Albany is technical like everywhere else. An anonymous blogger calling him or herself the Albany Eye has begun to blog about my hometown. Here are some posts that I like and some I dislike.

First on Tuesday Dec. 5, Albany Eye posted about a Fly 92 (a popular local radio station) van parked in a handicapped spot in Price Chopper that clearly didn't belong there. The post includes a picture to prove it. I like this post because it's funny without being mean, poking fun at the folks at Fly 92 who clearly weren't thinking clearly.

Making fun of the local media seems to be Albany Eye's specialty, the blogger clearly has a thing about Liz Bishop the news achor at WRGB Channel 6 a CBS affiliate. What I don't like about Albany Eye is when the mischeif goes a little to far, there is no place for the public to comment. I think it's unfair for bloggers to post whatever they'd like about whomever they choose without leaving space for open feedback.

To Albany Eye's credit I did email the blogger and received an immediate reply, although I wish the rest of the public could have seen my comment. Although now they can...

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Television understands that people are busy.

If you watch any prime time television or news broadcasts you will see how the networks are using new techniques to reach viewers. Each network replays shows on the Internet, makes whole seasons available for dowloading through iTunes and has podcasts.

ABC advertises on its Web site, "Watch tonight on TV watch tomorrow online." NBC's Web site features the same deal, where viewers can download full length shows, along with two-minute highlights of missed shows, if you don't have time.

Can't get enough of Grey's Anatomy? You can download the entire first and second season and a new episode of the third season becomes available for $1.99 each week.

Television news is also following suit. Don't have time to watch TV at 6:30 each night? You can still get your Katie fix by watching the CBS Evening News online.

It's obvious to televsion networks that people are to busy sometimes to watch television during regulary scheduled times. Luckily the networks are catering to my schedule and allowing me to watch shows whenever I want.

Networks are in fierce compeition with each other. They understand that if a show is on at an odd time, people are not going to watch it. Also if you miss a few shows and can't catch up you are likely to tune out. By making these shows available for viewing all the time you are always caught up, and always watching, so the networks are always making money.

It's a win-win situation, viewers get what they want because entertainment is never more than a few clicks away, and networks get your attention.

Monday, October 02, 2006

The new generation of journalists

Dick McMichael has a post on his blog Newsmanbook about convergence journalism and the new generation of journalist. He asked a student at the University of Missouri August Skamenca who has a blog called A New Beat, what he thought convergence journalism was.

Skamenca emailed McMichael his opinion stating that convergence journalism was a kind of "synergy" between television, radio, newspapers and Websites.

McMichael's post points out some of the concerns he has with this type of journalism. Mainly he believes that if media companies use this approach without hiring more people to specialize in a specific medium, journalism will suffer.
My observation of convergence is that product suffers. Quality drops. The
multiple demands on people can burn them out. Specialization, in my
view, is still the best way, on average, to get the highest quality. It’s too much to demand that someone come in to work, line up contacts for a story, fight traffic to get to the scene and shoot not only stills for the newspaper and the website, but video for television and the website, come back, write the story for the television, the newspaper and internet, edit the video and stills, record audio tracks for television and the website … and well, I think you get the idea.
I agree with McMichael that if a journalist is expected to juggle all of these tasks for a single story content will suffer and the journalist will burn out, but I think that convergence is going to be the most essential element for media organizations.

Journalists today must know about all varieties of media in order to be useful. I think that tomorrow's journalists will have to be versitile. A newspaper writer will be expected to post information on Websites, sift through blogs and take pictures using digital cameras.

I also think that in order to be successful journalists, schools have to teach these skills. I think at the very least journalism students should be expected to learn how to blog, put up Web pages and take and edit a photographs. The days of specializing in print, radio and television are over. Journalists now have to at least be versed in everything in order to survive in our expanding technical culture.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Families need friends too

An interesting dating like service has sprung up for lonely families. Friends for Families quotes a CBS survey that says 25% of Americans have no close friends.

For $20 a year the site promises to do the social networking for these lonely people, matching them with compatible famlies in their area. Each family fills out a personality profile and then are able to search for other families. The site allows these families to communicate anonamously until each are comfortable with each other and plan to meet.

In my view this is a perfect example of technology allowing people to become lazy. Having a family with kids, or a significant other means that finding other people to hang out with should not be that hard. Kids are incredibly friendly, always wanting to play with other kids making it impossible for attentive parents to ignore other attentive parents. Hello, what are playgrounds for?

My question is this. Is all of this technology, new media and whatever brining people closer together or futher apart? Is our fast-paced, technology-dependent society the reason why people have fewer friends? Or is technology really widening our social networks and as Friends for Families says "revolutionizing the way we find friends."

What is new media doing for society?

So I work at J.Crew and I was sitting in my 7 a.m. company training session Saturday when one of our managers started talking about ways to keep customers happy so they didn't start shopping online. It got me thinking, newspapers are not the only industry that is worried about customers using their product online, almost every industry is worried about this.

Think about that. Online shopping, Netflix, media Web sites, even iTunes is making it so people don't have to go to malls, worry about newspaper ink getting on their fingers, or travel to rent dvds. Practically everything can be done online and cheaper.

What does this mean for the future of our society? Will this create laziness? Are there advantages to the consumer?

Why do people feel it is ok to pay full price for a sweater online, but think they should get newspaper content for free?

I will definately be exploring these questions in more detail in later posts.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

The Inverted Pyramid is out! Readership Institute shows how newspapers can attract more readers

The Readership Institue at Northwestern University's Media Management Center has conducted a study about newspaper readership. The study said readers value "intensely local content," but also value different approaches to storytelling.

This article gives some exciting examples of newspapers across the country that are giving information in new and different ways, using pictures, diagrams and maps.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Online classifieds hurting newspapers

According to a New York Times article Web sites that featuring classified ads attracted 47 percent more visitors this July than last.

The article by Alex Mindlin said, "That is bad news for newspapers, which receive about 40 percent of their revenue from classified ads..."

Colby Atwood, the president of Borrell Associates, a consulting group that specializes in online advertising said there is a solution. "Mr. Atwood said that newspapers could make money by running full-size ads near their classifieds."