Thursday, September 21, 2006


Quite the interesting thread on Missouri Radio this week, as broadcasters discuss the latest News-Leader innovation. Former KTTS news director Morris James posts:
They have purchased digital camcorders, digital voice recorders, and laptop computers with mobile web capability and are entering the breaking news arena. They are also hiring a small separate staff of people, versed in breaking news and the web, to take on radio and yes, t-v. The concept is simple, film the scene and beam the info right back to the paper. While radio is using antiquated equipment because of no investment, and television is restricted by time constraints (running stuff during regular news times), the paper is out to win. Reporters and photogs have been going to classes in Des Moines, getting training. The paper is being refocused on the future...the web. Many sites featuring video are not top-notch broadcast facilities, they look amatuer. But folks are glued to them like crazy. The train has left the station for the paper...who is going to play catch up?
Good idea? Bad idea?


Amy said...

Good or bad it's a matter of survival for them. Papers are quickly having to become more of an online presence as more and more people abandon the medium in favor of reading the paper on the web. People don't get up and have their breakfast and coffee over the paper before they go to work any more. Now they blast out of bed, duck through shower, run through the drive through at Starbucks before hitting the office. Listening to the radio or TV before you leave for work is about the most common way for folks to get their news. During the day, folks use their internet connection at work to look stuff up ... and that's where newspapers can get an audience.

It's a valid idea. The question is, can Gannett pull it off?

John Stone said...

Newspapers have become overpriced PennyPowers. They could care less about presenting news and are interested in 30% margins -- the business mind(less) have taken over.

Ain't gonna' change ... no matter the format. They may try to do something innovative, but will instantly be consumed will selling advertising and the video/blogs won't be watched or read.

Newspapers are a dead horse. They just haven't rolled over yet because they are still finding enough advertisers ... er. ... suckers .... out there who are buying.

The real action is in the blog world. Newspapers, with some exceptions, like Tony, just don't get it. I agree with Andy that the blogosphere is the "future meets present".

When papers try it they are guaranteed to fuck it up. I was going to respond to Tony's blog this morning and can't get signed on ... after a short - very short -time -- I said screw it... the paper ain't worth it. I can do the same thing on my blog without the hassle.

acline said...

I think it's the proper move.

What we want to preserve isn't the newspaper (dead-tree technology) but newspaper journalism (a message of a particular kind).

effin said...

The real issue is whether or not they can send video to my cell phone, so I won't miss a single road construction update while standing in line to buy an Elmo TMX.

Anonymous said...

The News-Leaders' web video clips are likely to be as sloppily put together as its print news columns. Unless there's to be a rededication to solid fundamental journalism practices and ethics, which Gannett claims to support but doesn't, the method of delivery won't matter much (if at all) in terms of the core quality of the product.

Brace yourselves for the new fountain of videoilliteracy and infotainment, Ozarkers.

Anonymous said...

Newspaper circulations are unquestionably dwindling, but I have a feeling they are a long time away from becoming totally extinct. People will continue to want a tangible product that lingers, that they can hold and transport without batteries. My sense is that we are still more than a generation away from newspapers truly being dead horses.

On the other hand, when companies like Gannett channel more of their profits and investment into non-pulp efforts like web video and magazines, they only hasten the eventual death of the traditional newspaper by diluting and decreasing its value to the reader.

Anonymous said...

The worry with an operation like Gannett is that they'll tell the News-Leader "Do this" but, despite what Morris James indicates, they don't really add staff. The result is that the quality of the content -- no matter the method of delivery -- suffers because fewer reporters and editors are available to gather and process facts.

Anonymous said...

TV shouldn't worry. Both KYTV and KOLR have the infrastructure in place to post stories to the web as they are completed.

Anonymous said...

The photo on the right of page 2
2-C is J. Dan Woodall. It was taken at Kearney and Glenstone, which is a long ways away from Reds Giant Hamburg at College and West Chestnut where Route 66 did continue through town. And by the way, Red Cheaney's name is misspelled throughout the story.
Yes, Where are the editors?

notafinga said...

Let's catapult Hank Billings into the web. Road Watch meets the future.

I can see it now Hank dressed like Spock giving an up to the minute update on traffic conditions. Perhaps some exoctic dancers in the back ala Harvey Sid Fischer.

Anonymous said...

All-time favorite headline in the local paper, which actually appeared some 20 years ago in the sports section of the afternoon Leader & Press (may God rest its pulpy soul), above a story about upcoming games at the girls' annual holiday Pink and White basketball tournament:

"Purdy girls to take on Licking tonight"


Video will never give us gems like that...

Anonymous said...

Mr. Billings is already available on DVD by way of his popular "Hank's Gone Wild" gonzo series. Two earlier releases, "Hank Unplugged," and "Fat Bottomed Girls: Why I Ride A Bike," are no longer in print.

Anonymous said...

As Waylon Jennings used to sing, "I don't think Hank a-done it that-a way."

Anonymous said...

How about Hank's Off-Beat column on video for "Hank's Gone Wild"? Finally, a reason to call it "Beat-Off" without shame.

My word vertification was tlowucom. Who the hell is T-Low?

notafinga said...

anon 130

I nominate you for best post ever.
I hope you are who I think you are so I can personally buy you a beer.

Anonymous said...


"Newspaper journalism," I think, has been dead since USA Today came out screaming what no one had dared to say, that most newspapers see their readers as fairly stupid marks for adverstisers.

I am Luddite enough to miss the smeary, unweildy things, but I think if we date their demise to the day they went to the blogosphere, we'd be off by about 20 years, or more.

Anonymous said...

To the dimwit who thinks he or she knows the Hamburg stand story... It's CHANEY not CHAENEY...
That's why blogs are the most unreliable source of correct information in the world.

Anonymous said...

Why thank you, notafinga.

Tell you what. If I am who you think I am, next time you think you're talking to me, utter the code phrase, "How well do you know the Vice President?"

And if I respond, "I really don't know Dick," well, that will be your signal to order me a frosty cold Budweiser.

Anonymous said...

Sorry for the spelling error on Red Chaney. The letter E was in my mind as the News Leader spelled his name Cheney throughout the article, and as I was trying to point that out to Chatter readers while wondering where the N-L editors are, I needed one myself. Yes it is ChAney. Signed..dimwit

acline said...

Anon. I won't argue the point. I've long been on the record saying that the day USA Today opened was a dark day for American journalism.

But is newspaper journalism really dead? I know some smart people who make exactly that claim and back it up with compelling evidence. I prefer to think of it as merely in hiding :-)

Jeff Boggs said...

 Just to add to this discussion a bit. This video to web is the latest thing.
Even some radio station website are trying it. With the right set up, it can work. If the website
can be maintained by the staff themselves without having to go through another channel or
system, it will be immediate. Also quality of picture and stream is another consideration.

We don’t think about newspapers changing very much but they have changed more than we
think. I’ve been working on a novel that takes place in the 1950's, so I’ve been going through
some of the old News Leader and Press, Springfield Daily News, and Lebanon Daily Record and
Rustic Republican on microfilm at the library. What I have found were old newspapers were
horribly disorganized. Pages were crammed to a point of being unreadable.

There were no real sections to speak of, national, international, local, sports and entertainment
were all mish-mashed together. The oddest thing I ever saw was a story about President
Eisenhower address congress at the top of the page with the bottom half covering a car accident
near Willard and stuck between them was Peanuts (I guess because it was new Peanuts would up
anywhere, usually on the classified page. Same for the TV listings). Some articles end mid
sentence without a ‘continued on page five.’

If we had identity thieves back then, they would clean up by reading newspapers. Every detail
about a person is given including addresses. I’m also surprised by the graphic ‘corpse’ photos
that show up even in the Lebanon papers.

I really think the websites with video is certainly a step up. More and more I’m convinced radio
doesn’t want to change while TV and newspapers are trying everything to stay ahead of the

Anonymous said...

Please -- someone -- tell me about the NewsLeader's obsession with BRANSON????

MrsThurstonHowell said...

It's interesting to go back and read Doonesbury archives when Trudeau did scathing satire on USA Today when it first went into circulation. The comic strip theme was an endless barrage of mindless and wacky graphs and statistics brought to you, the reader, by USA Today.

MrsthurstonHowell said...

Branson? Beats the heck out of me. Why I spent my time reading about Jim Bakker (Large Mouth Bass) and his second coming (will he or won't he?), I'll never know. And I guess we will continue to wait for each installment with baited breath of the Branson tourism industry's rape of the land until every inch of greenspace is under another resort, mall or themepark, banner headlines all.

Anonymous said...

"We don’t think about newspapers changing very much but they have changed more than we

What's this "we" business, 731? The royal "we?"

Some of us have noted major changes to the medium for more years than I suspect you've been alive.

The "horribly disorganized" newspapers of the ancient era you uncovered during your explorations at the library at least had some heart and soul and local identity to them. Can't exactly say that about much of anything that's being printed in Springfield right now. Change the flag, adjust the fonts, and the Springfield News-Leader could pass virtually unnoticed as the daily that's published in any number of other towns victimized by Gannett.

Thanks, USA TODAY. Thanks a frigging lot.

Anonymous said...

anon @ 7:31 does bring up one interesting point. There was a time when the local fishwrap published the addresses of the deceased in obituaries. When it was found out that enterprising criminals were utilizing the information to commit burglaries the paper quit publishing the information.

I guess it's part of the transition from small-town to bigger-town.

Jeff Boggs said...

I wasn't trashing newspapers. People who work in the electronic media think of newspapers as old fashioned and stagnant. It is true that they may not have changed for better or for worse, but they changed with the times. They want to change. I work in radio and it seems they there are many in that industry want to go in the wrong direction. They don't want to innovate or attract younger listeners.

There are things in those old papers that I look at and think "Why don't they do that anymore?" I have a Bachelor of Science in mass media because I love all media forms, but you'd be surprised the number of people who get into the media who hate it and are only interested in destroying it.

Anonymous said...

I have wondered why the folks that read the fish wrapper aren't up in arms over the continuous coverage of Branson. Why not let Branson be Branson and Springfield be Springfield. Folks remember the Ozarks Jubilee. Springfield had its chance to be Branson and let it slip away. Since you missed first chance, concentrate on your own stories. Has the new worn off the ball park, bygawd we heard about it every 15 seconds on some Springfield media. I am also sick of hearing "Maggie brag about Skaggs". Perhaps you should take a Branson poll about "Maggies bragging". Might not be all that popular.

Anonymous said...

Geez what a grouch. Why would Spfd not cover Branson? Here's a though if you don't want to read about Branson don't. However since the News-Leader is circulated in Branson I don't see what is so offensive abut it's coverage.

David L. Burton said...

Wow, what a week in Springfield for the news media. We are seeing media convergence big time. Many in the profession of journalism, as well as academics, don't see media convergence as such a great thing for the profession. Citizens get less news typically, especially lest indepth stuff, and journalists have to become generalists in every thing (writing, radio, tv and computers). Nationally, journalism groups have accepted media convergence as the new reality but they have not embraced it has a good think. We will have to wait and see what this means for the Springfield market: improved news or less news?

Woodward & Bernstein didn't carry cameras. said...

Newspaper guys need to leave the cameras in the hands of the professionals. TV does what TV does, radio does what radio does and print does what print does. Get out of your turf, you're gonna lose to people who do their specialty better than you.

Darin said...

One thing not mentioned here is accountability. The technology enables a higher level of accountability and an in-depth look for those of us that would like to take a deeper peek.

I use technology such as those mentioned in this post to keep notes. In my area, I often hear - way to often - that people are misquoted by the paper. Perhaps, the future of news is more a facilitation of information than the filtering of it.

Chatterworthy in Branson

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