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.**

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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Why the Next FCC Chairman Will Be So Important, Especially to Journalists

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Julius Genachowski will be stepping down as the FCC chairman, but who will replace him?

As of now, no one really knows. All anyone can do is just voice their opinions on who the next chair should be and what issues the person will need to focus on.

For those who do not know, the FCC is the agency that regulates communications by radio, television, wire, satellite and cable. As a very powerful group, especially in the eyes of journalists, the FCC commissioners are hand picked by the president.

President Obama is expected to pick who he feels is best for the position pretty soon, but for now the concerns about what the FCC should work on is still voiced in the journalism industry. Journalists want a FCC chief who will end any further media consolidation, make political ads more transparent, and increase diversity of media ownership and coverage.

Even though the FCC may not really care about journalism, the journalism community still cares about who will potentially run the FCC.

Why? To detail more of what I mentioned previously. The next chair will decide if big media owners will be able to get their hands on both newspapers and TV or radio stations, meaning that someone like Rupert Murdoch can own a few newspapers or radio stations.

A new FCC chair will have the influence to promote and ensure diversity in the industry.

A new FCC chair will have the power to make political ads more transparent for TV and online.

So whether the president knows it or not, he has a big decision to make…

When is Fox not in Trouble for Discrimination…

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Jerry Davis, a former Fox Sports executive, is suing Fox Sports, Fox Cable Network Services, Fox Sports Net, and Fox Networks Group for discrimination. For 15 years, Davis has claim that Fox Sports has discriminated against him as a black man and have not promoted him.

He has worked as a director in the Fox Sports department and has been passed four times for the senior position. He claims that there are at least 34 employees at or above the vice president level and none are black and have never been black within the 19 years the division has existed.

I have one view on Fox and I think most people have that view, which is that Fox is openly bias. I have learned this time and time again in my journalism classes. I have actually watched Fox News a few times and have seen the bias compared to other stations. To defend Fox in a certain light, it is not the only network that is openly bias or obviously bias, but it’s in a way funny to watch Fox and compare it with other news.

It does not surprise me that Davis was not promoted within the Fox department, just because its Fox. The company has continuously been dealing with racism allegations for years.

But virtually most corporation’s executive levels do not have minorities.

Maybe it is a continued trend…

LinkedIn Buys the Startup Company Pulse for $90 Million

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$90 million dollars later and LinkedIn still continues in the fight to becoming the world’s number one professional tool on the web. After a month of rumors, LinkedIn finally announced its purchase of Pulse, a startup company founded in 2010.

Pulse is a popular newsreader app that was developed by two Stanford University students for a class. The app was originally for Apple’s iPad and received high praises from Steve Jobs.

LinkedIn says that acquiring the newsreader app will set the website as “the definitive professional publishing platform – where all professionals come to consume content and where publishers come to share their content.”

The point of the two coming together as one is to help LinkedIn be known as something more than a resume source, but as a fully developed content platform. Although the company is doing well in terms of revenue, the idea of something new and fresh will increase engagement on the site which will in turn add advertising revenue.

Finally A Big Established Company Sees How Pointless Social Media Advertising Is

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It’s about time that an already fully established company like Coca-Cola sees that spending millions and maybe billions of dollars a year on social media advertising is a waste of time and money. A company spokesperson said that social media buzz DOES NOT equal short-term revenue gains for Coke.

Now let’s be serious for a second and think…why on earth would a company like Coca-Cola feel the need to advertise on social media platforms anyway?

The company is already established and well known all over the country and even world. Coke is sold in restaurants, stores and vending machines in EVERY country EXCEPT Cuba and North Korea – no surprise there, especially since Coke is an American Corporation.

Its products are virtually recognizable by almost anybody in this country and maybe even the world. Everyone already knows coke, who can miss that signature color?

I think that Coke can stop pushing its presence on social media, mainly because it is pushing one product that everyone knows about. It’s not as if the corporation is advertising for new flavors, it’s always the same classic one. I think that people have their automatic preference, especially when it comes between the back and forth rival of Coke and Pepsi. Everyone has their pick.

In my opinion, a big and already established company should only feel the need to do hard core advertising when they are coming out with a new product or have a deal or something. Take McDonald’s for example. MickeyD’s is as established as Coke, but I always know when McDonald’s is going to have a “2 for $3” breakfast special or a new addition to the menu. I barely see an ad for just a plain old “Big Mac,” now a days. But I always see the company’s NEW products it promotes, which makes sense. Why send a million dollars to promote an old burger that many may be tired of eating, when you can send a million to promote a new burger that no one has ever tired.

I hope that Coke will take the time out to reevaluate the meaning of advertising! The company should stick to giving away free sodas at events it sponsors. By doing that, it has a better chance of getting more buyers for its products.

Why? Take me as an example. I have a better chance of trying something, whether it is brand new or not, for free at an event than me buying it at a store. If I like something that I tired at an event, then maybe the next time I go grocery shopping you’ll  find it in my cart.