CBS Invests in Startup = In Your Face Aereo

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CBS Corp. has just acquired a small stake in a startup company similar to Aereo, called Syncback. Syncback let’s local TV stations stream their programming online, but gives broadcast networks control of what’s being viewed.

I guess CBS has a lot more faith and trust in this startup than in Aereo and it seems like many more have faith in it too.

For those who are not aware of what Aereo is, to give a quick lesson, it is a startup based in NY that gives the chance to view live broadcast, without having a cable subscription. There is no installation involved and you can even record some of your favorite shows on your DVR. The idea is that you can watch whatever is on broadcast from anywhere as long as you have an iPhone, tablet, and laptop. At home with no cable? No problem, as long as you have an AppleTV or Roku you can stream live broadcast on your TV. All you pay is something like a $1 a day or $8-$12 a month.

Sounds like a dream right? Well it’s just not for broadcast networks.

Broadcast networks are upset at the fact that Aereo is streaming their broadcasts and not paying them a fee, like cable does. The networks also have no control over what is being played through Aereo. CBS and Fox have threatened to pull their signals off the air and switch over to cable if Aereo is not stopped. Right now, all the major broadcast networks like CBS, ABC, FOX and NBC are suing Aereo, but that’s a different blog post.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-04-22/cbs-invests-in-startup-that-lets-local-tv-stations-stream-online.html

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Sometimes It Just Takes a Survey!

According to the Newspaper Association of America, it surveyed to show how effective advertising is for print newspapers. The article basically reinforced what my professor says all the time, which is people are more engaged in print ads than they are with online ads.

But one point the article made was the stress in getting local papers to connect with its customers on their mobile devices. The survey showed that out of 5,000 adults, only 8% has visited a local newspaper website while 51% never visited. On the other hand, national newspaper websites had 43% visiting while only 9% never visiting.

I think this shows that local newspapers are really lacking in this field and needs to get their readers online checking updates about anything going on in their community. Now this can be a bad or good thing.

National papers have more money to devote sometime to its websites and update it and so on, but local papers may not have the full funding to do so. Not only that, I don’t think it’s such a bad idea for now, that more people are looking at the physical paper rather than online. It shows a little more traditional in terms of local news or it could be that maybe most of the individuals who read the local papers may not have a smartphone to do so. Who really knows? All I know is that at some point, if not now, these local papers need to adapt to online or at least get its readers to check out its websites more frequently. One main reason, so that the readers are at least aware it’s there!

http://paidcontent.org/2013/04/16/naa-study-shows-newspapers-readers-are-engaged-but-local-papers-need-to-do-more-on-mobile/

 

CNN’s Costly Rating Mistake…

I am sure almost every person in this country and probably even the entire world is aware of the Boston Bombings.

If not, you should be ashamed of yourself! It was all over the internet, all over social media sites and all over the news. Even regular primetime shows were cut to show breaking news update coverage of the aftermath and the chase to find the suspects.

With that background knowledge of how important this news event was, I can explain how CNN ended the week coverage last in ratings after the capture of the last suspect.

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Breaking news is like a cycle…

At the beginning, there is talk about what happened through the local news. If it’s serious enough, the larger networks will use affiliate channels to broadcast to other cities and states. Once it is declared that something is really serious, like a bombing at a marathon, the larger networks gather their best and leading anchors and reporters and send them to the location to cover the story. This usually takes place within 6-12 hours.

Once these big named and best reporters get to the location, they fight amongst each other to see who can break the story first – who can find out what really happened, the background, and any updates before it is really released to the press. As the fight is established, they begin to rely on sources to give them “exclusive scoops” on what is going on so that they can rub it in everyone’s face.

So what CNN did was exactly what I just wrote…

One of its reporters, *cough* John King, said that an arrest had been made and informed viewers that a source told him. For a little more than an hour CNN kept saying “we have the exclusive” and “CNN has exclusively learned” blah, blah, blah. That whole hour, the network rubbed it in all the other networks and for viewers to see, that they heard it first on CNN. Slowly, other news organizations began reporting the wrong information.

The Associated Press reported a suspect was in custody based on a single source who continued to stand by this information even after the FBI said no arrest had been made. The Boston Globe reported a person was in custody and en route to the courthouse. Fox News and Boston’s WBZ-TV also reported an arrested had been made, while NBC and CBS did not.

After an hour of CNN gloating about its exclusive, a source texted him and on live national TV. He read the message aloud, “significant progress has been made, but no arrest. Anyone who says an arrest is ahead of themselves.”

How embarrassing is that?

So quick to jump the gun, there was no time to even read the message to himself. This is what I am talking about, the rush to break a story and be the first. There should be a rush to break an accurate story. That big mistake and opportunity to poke fun of CNN, bought them down in ratings for the coverage.

During the 8pm hour when the actual capture of the suspect was going on, NBC had 10.7 million viewers, ABC had 7.8 million viewers, Fox News Channel had 7.6 million, CBS had 6.9 million, CNN had 6.8 million and poor MSNBC had 1.7 million viewers. Now I think we should all keep in mind that CNN and FOX News are cable channels and not broadcast channels, so individuals without cable cannot watch CNN or FOX News. But I am not sure if the survey counts for any online viewers.

I am coming down on CNN so hard, because one of the first things you learn either in school or as a reporter is to always verify the information given. Not only that, that same reporter John King, gave a very vague description of an apparent suspect who did not exist. He mentioned on live TV that the potential suspect was a “dark-skinned male.”

Now to be fair, he defended himself for both issues.

He said:

“’I went back to the Boston law enforcement sources who said we got him, I said, Got him? Identification on arrest?” King continued. “The source says can’t talk to you right now, says there is significant blowback at the leaks. Says there will be more information later today.’”

For what seemed as a racist and ignorant comment, King wrote:

“’Source of that description was a senior government official. And I asked, are you sure? But I’m responsible. What I am not is racist?’”

It could have been that the suspect was ID’d and not arrested. For the dark skinned comment, well that’s just journalism 101 not to ID someone based on their race or color of their skin, because the likely hood of you offending someone is obvious and it doesn’t matter what the color skin is. It is extremely pointless, saying a dark skinned male is on the loose without giving a height, weight or description of what he was last wearing. That simple description he gave right away showed ignorance, even if a source said it. As a journalist, he should have known even before he said it, that it is not a good idea to give that vague description.

**I am not bashing CNN in anyway, just spreading my strong opinion and disappointment in the way it handled the reporting of that coverage and the unfortunate fate that one reporter’s mistakes reflected the whole of CNN’s broadcast. Even after the two incidents I still watched CNN among two other networks for the coverage.**

A Visit from a Very Rich “Journalist” & My Very Long Blog Post about Him

THE RICH JOURNALIST:

This past Thursday, my class had the pleasure of meeting Michael Rosenblum – a very rich & nontraditional journalist. He was extremely funny! He poked jokes at every type of medium there is from print to television to even online. He even poked fun at social media sites like Facebook and Instagram, mentioning that there was NO future in the sites and that “they’re all F***ED” – that was the word of the day for him.

Before the end of class, he made sure to share his very strong opinion of what the future of journalism will be like. He stressed the fact that journalists do not have to depict what movies describe us as, which he explained is a poor individual who cannot even afford to pay rent. He informed my class on his opinion of where advertising was heading for the future, which in his opinion is nowhere. He has a strong belief that the main source of revenue that many media and websites rely on today will vanish in the near future. So in his eyes there will be no more CNN, no more local news and no more newspapers; with the exception of The New York Times, for now until it to dies out.

So why does he believe this? Because, according to him, these companies are running on an old model that makes it mandatory for content to be supported by advertisers in order for the business to be successful. If there are no advertisers, then there is no money to run the business, which is the major problem these companies are facing today.

When he began to talk about Amazon and Ebay, his passion for the way the companies’ revenue is gained was seen throughout the building and around campus. He loved the fact that the companies are making a large sum of money by just being a web host for transactions – another word he favored during his time in the class. One of his main suggestions to my class was to go on WordPress and just start blogging. He suggested that we make our own videos and post it online. He made this point because he considers my generation as the tech savvy generation. He said that we are the generation that needs to work for ourselves and not for the dying media companies that will no longer be able to employ us. Besides that, his other best suggestion was for my generation to sell ourselves and our work. He also expected us to figure out a way to connect content with transaction.

THE STUDENT JOURNALIST:

Here’s my take on his opinions from top to bottom.

First, although physical newspapers are in my opinion dying, “important papers” like The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal (I feel comfortable to vouch for these two, seeing that I am more familiar with the papers and its fan base) will never literally die. I believe that at some point, maybe when all the baby boomers die out, both papers will make the full transition to being online. So yeah, maybe the physical paper will die out but its legacy will still be alive through the internet.

In terms of his comments about social media sites, I can agree that at some point it too will die out but not for the same reasons he believes. As someone who was once on Bebo, Sconex, MySpace, and now Facebook, I personally have learned that it’s nothing but a trend. Soon, something bigger and better will come and slowly take over Facebook, then the trend of Facebook will be over. Right now, most people that I know who were on Facebook when it first came out are not on it so muc. They’re more on Twitter or Tumblr. See the trend? It’s only a matter of time before the latecomers of Facebook slowly come off and join another new trend.

On a side note: I think that Instagram has a long way to go before anyone gets tired of it, it could be because it’s still in the “new trend phase” or that the concept is kind of original or it could be that I am bias because it is my favorite social media site now.

Back to my points:

I personally think that the media just needs to do a 360 degree turn and think of the future and its consumers. Local news and community papers or now hyperlocal papers need to be catering to its consumers and discussing issues arising in the community. Easier said than done, but that’s why there are so many big executives in these companies, they can figure it out or hire Michael to do the thinking for them as he pointed out.

I don’t think that CNN and similar news organizations are going to be vanishing anytime soon, simply because it is the news. When a crisis is going on, these networks look to milk in the opportunity of viewers. My most recent experience with this was during the Boston Bombing. These news organizations literally informed me the same information over and over and over again until something new came in. But what did I do? I watched all the networks and listened to the same information over and over and over again until something new came in. Why? Because I didn’t want to miss anything and wanted to stay informed.

If there is anything I can say about TV, it is that it may eventually join newspapers and transition to becoming solely online, but that’s probably way past the death of the baby boomers.  I’ve had professors tell me that radios are not useful anymore, but I don’t agree. I still listen to the radio, it may only be in my car, but I definitely still listen to it. That’s why I think that TV may have some more time in this world before the internet fully takes over.

Lastly, I’m going to have to disagree with his belief about the future of advertising and the fact that it will die soon. I think that it takes someone smart to redefine the meaning and nature of advertising. I think advertising is effective in some ways depending on the product. I blogged about this before, when Coca Cola saw that there was no benefit in advertising on social media. I just don’t see the sense of a big established company wasting its money to advertise, especially when it has regular individuals doing the advertising for it. When there is a birthday party or event going on with free drinks; Coke, Pepsi and Sprite will almost always be there because it’s some of the popular ones. These are the events where people will be forced to try new drinks they probably never tried. I can speak for myself, because I know that I am able to spend my money on something new if I tried it before or heard good reviews about it. The same goes with cars, an example he used in class. No one can afford to buy a new 2013 or even 2014 car right now, expect for a very small group. But when someone from that group wants or needs a car, the person goes straight to the dealership or its website to find a car or even opinion websites and car websites. Those sites will have a better chance of doing the advertising for the car companies before the companies itself can.

THE KICKER TO MY POINT…

My whole very long point is that newspapers, mainly the legacy ones, will probably never die. But that is only if it makes the transition to being a full service online paper quickly and find other revenue to support itself. I say that because it is proven that advertising online right now does not pay the bills and salaries; charging individuals a price to view content on the website is just a start on making some revenue.

Social media is and will forever be a trend, that’s just our society for you. TV news and 24-hour news will still be here for a long time, but it needs to be revamped.

Advertising also needs to be revamped. It needs to find a way to be more interactive and connective with people and less annoying and pointless. It also needs to find a way to connect with the online community.

Lastly, for the next generation and wave of journalists, if all fails, do your own thing. Find a passion in the news and go with it. If it is anything he said that I could agree with, it is to not to work under these big time news companies. I feel that sometimes, these companies get a little carried away on what the purpose of news is because at some point the wall between church and state in the news business is broken. That’s when it becomes all about the money. But, we the next generation and the next wave of journalists can change that. We know what is missing from the news and what we like and don’t like. We have so much creativity in our minds, especially when it’s a passion. We are young and some of us have little to no real responsibilities. Most of us have support from professors, families, friends and mentors.

Take me as an example, my future venture is to redefine video work while telling news stories, because I believe that in this day and age stories are better told with a little more bit of visuals and sound.

So what’s yours?

The Internet, Today’s Breaking News, Technology & Our Society

Earlier this week, Boston experienced its share of terror after two bombs went off at the Boston Marathon.

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With the help of the internet, pictures and video footage captured by citizens, law enforcement was able to end the massive manhunt for the two suspects accused of committing the terror onto the city within four days.

I personally have been really engaged in the news, probably a little more engaged than normal. I’ve watched as investigators quickly tried to put the pieces together, placing names to two faces and conducting a massive manhunt for the men, with more than 9,000 officials searching high and low.

My TV was on various news networks 24/7. All of the news apps on my phone constantly kept me updated with little notifications that popped up at least six times a day from each news source.

Social media even played a big part! Twitter, Reddit and Facebook in my opinion were very active in updating people, given the fact that it was citizens and news organizations updating individuals.

So it was no surprise to me when I read two articles, one about how great of a job Reddit did on informing individuals and another that explained how Twitter “broke” the story of the Boston Bombings first; in addition to Google adding “Boston Marathon Explosion” to its Person Finder tool to help individuals find their loved ones.

The articles really put it out there about how important social media can be in times of crisis and how well the news works with it. Twitter may have “broke” the story, but it was the old forms of media like CNN, The Boston Globe, and The New York Times that took to Twitter to inform us. As a chain reaction, we informed friends by retweeting and engaging in conversation about the bombings while reporters and news organizations quickly gathered information to continue to update us on the story.

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In terms of internet and technology, Google really did its part. I do think that the article in a short sentence, publicized Google’s Person Finder tool that many may not have known about. It is designed to help family and friends locate loved ones during humanitarian disasters like this one. This experience also showed how important information is to the true name of journalism. The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times removed its paywalls for coverage of the massacre, although this is not the first time this was done for news of this standard.

Overall the internet played a very strong role in informing us. Raw video footage was all over Twitter. Pictures worth thousands of words really showed graphically the destruction, which surfaced all across the web. It gave individuals outside of the city a chance to understand what was going on. It also gave the news a chance to update and really try to gather information – although the race to break exclusive news led to inaccurate information – to the people.

This whole experience showed that we as a society, although busy all the time and seemingly more concerned with celebrity news, can actually pay attention to the news, when it’s breaking at least.

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Paywalls Proven Success?

Just an update about paywalls…

Publishing companies like Gannett Co, owner of USA Today and The New York Times Co., owner of – well obviously, The New York Times, are noticing that consumers are actually willing to pay for online subscriptions.

When the originally idea of paywalls came up, most papers were against it in fear that it would keep readers away from the online sites, but it actually did the opposite.

So what’s the outcome now?

Well according to this article, Gannett had 46,000 online subscriptions at the end of 2012, two-thirds of which were new readers. The Times Co last year generated more revenue from circulation than advertising mainly because it “led the way” charging for online access.

Now that papers are testing out paywalls and noticing the success, expect more papers to join the bandwagon and start charging. Hopefully the idea of giving readers a chance to read a few articles for free will still apply to the rest of papers who are preparing to join this trend.

 

Hard Work + New Trend in Journalism = One Big Grant

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Nothing is ever impossible!

The Texas Tribune, a four year old start-up based in Austin was fortunate enough to receive a grant of $1.5 million from the Knight Foundation as part of a form of acknowledgement and encouragement.

The Tribune is said to be a part of a new trend in journalism that uses an all-digital platform leaning towards nonprofit journalism. According to an article on Forbes, the grant was given to acknowledge the Tribune’s model for funding its news organization’s work and to encourage other news innovators to learn from its model.

Before the Knights contribution, the company raised $18.4 million to date, even exceeding its budget in every year. This year it is expecting to take in more than $4.8 million against the $4.2 million in costs.

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I totally agree with the Knights decision to give the company that amount of money.

To me it shows more encouragement than acknowledgement. As someone who hopes to start her own online new organization, this grant gave me even more encouragement to start my own. I have a strong mindset to create something similar to this.

When I read the article, I loved that the Tribune was able to support itself and its work in journalism at a large scale. It was like an instant feel of happiness fell onto me. I saw a light of hope today. It may actually be possible to run a successful news organization as a start up, in a society where big media potentially rules.

In terms of acknowledgement, the Knights grant really made a bigger name for the news organization in terms of publicity. In one of my journalism classes, we spoke about the large grant and checked out the website to see what it was about. It just seems like a lot of people are talking about the company, what its purpose and mission is, and its model.

Overall this really showed me that good journalism from a small site can really deliver to one of the largest states, both mass and population size.