News At The Speed Of Internet

On Twitter itself I saw someone complain Fox News and CNN had dropped the ball. I guess he was expecting them to have crews standing by in Tallahassee in case anything ever happened at midnight.

There’s a new boss in breaking news.

CNN is on with news from Tallahassee. People have been shot in the FSU library.

CNN didn’t break this story. I first got the news on Twitter. That’s becoming more rule than exception.

FSUShootingInternal640Florida State’s original tweet about a DANGEROUS SITUATION caught fire! News like this explodes through social media. It becomes unavoidable.

Meanwhile, it’s still the traditional news sources we turn to once we get the tipoff. That’s why the TV went on. But their resources pale in comparison to crowd sourcing. Right now it’s social media CNN is relying on!

I saw someone complain Fox News and CNN had dropped the ball. I guess he was expecting them to have crews standing by in Tallahassee in case anything ever happened at midnight.

There’s a new boss in breaking news.

Tonight In Ferguson

The “fog of battle” is in evidence here. What was reported as tear gas is now corrected to smoke.

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I am watching a potential riot unfold live on television, or whatever it’s called when you watch CNN on a laptop. Do I really want technology to bring me this close? It is raw and real and happening too fast.

The “fog of battle” is in evidence here. What was reported as tear gas is now corrected to smoke&#185.

I am sympathetic to the family of Michael Brown and the people of Ferguson. I’m at a loss to explain how breaking tonight’s curfew does anyone any good? All the points that can be made have been made.

The young man will not come back. Justice will take a long time working its way through a system that’s inconsistent. The lives of those involved will never be the same.

The people of Ferguson and many others have legitimate complaints.

&#185 – An hour later it changes back to tear gas, reported as confirmed by police.

The CNN Conundrum

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CNN has been on top of the MH370 story since the plane’s disappearance. In the mind of some, they’ve been on top of it too much. I’m in that camp.

Because there’s more time to fill than there’s story, CNN has to reach into its vat of Newsroom Helper.

Why have a person speculate when you can have a gaggle of people speculate! Martin Savidge is in Canada (his home and native land), flying a 777 simulator. Tom Foreman has been standing in front of virtual props. Theories area pondered which contain two or more “what if”s.

A nameless friend just emailed.

“When I saw a ridiculous show answering tweets, I was wondering if Ted should die, turn over in his grave, then come back to life and beg TW to sell CNN back to him.”

cnn-hd-logo-png-skI should have mentioned… the numbers are up. They’re way up.

What should CNN do?

TV is an unusual business. The actual product, news, isn’t sold. What’s sold is access to the audience.

The newsroom is supported by a business. Without the business, there’s no newsroom.

People working in newsrooms often forget this. Maybe that’s for the better.

CNN has been hurting the past few years. First Fox News, then MSNBC left them behind. All of a sudden CNN is on the move. (Wednesday’s ratings at the end of this entry.)

Even I, who has kvetched about this before, finds it difficult to look away. Shame on me.

When CNN began it was primarily a news channel. Times and audiences have forced them to change. Now it’s information, some of which is news.

None of this makes me happy. Why CNN is doing it is understandable. I’m not sure they have a choice.

  • Total day: FNC: 314 | MSNBC: 133 | CNN: 201 | HLN: 97
  • Primetime: FNC: 470 | MSNBC: 245 | CNN: 296 | HLN: 136

4p:5p:6p:7p:8p:9p:10p:11p:12a:
FNC
Cavuto:

254

TheFive:

419

Baier:

453

Greta:

336

O’Reilly:

537

Megyn:

501

Hannity:

356

O’Reilly:

306

Megyn:

300

MSNBC
Wagner:

101

EdShow:

142

Sharpton:

161

Matthews:

215

Hayes:

239

Maddow:

266

O’Donnell:

227

Hayes:

130

Maddow:

155

CNN
Tapper:

163

Blitzer:

208

Blitzer:

285

Burnett:

322

Cooper:

342

Morgan:

277

SpcReport:

268

Cooper:

193

Morgan:

193

HLN
News:

45

Files:

21

Files:

63

Jane:

67

Grace:

101

DrDrew:

120

Files:

188

Files:

204

Files:

221

Total Viewers (Live +SD)

  • Total day: FNC: 1.451 | MSNBC: 428 | CNN: 617 | HLN: 228
  • Primetime: FNC: 2.226 | MSNBC: 777 | CNN: 794 | HLN: 339

4p:5p:6p:7p:8p:9p:10p:11p:12a:
FNC
Cavuto:

1.496

TheFive:

2.445

Baier:

2.177

Greta:

1.623

O’Reilly:

2.868

Megyn:

2.294

Hannity:

1.489

O’Reilly:

1.057

Megyn:

890

MSNBC
Wagner:

335

EdShow:

476

Sharpton:

535

Matthews:

755

Hayes:

667

Maddow:

941

O’Donnell:

720

Hayes:

441

Maddow:

413

CNN
Tapper:

633

Blitzer:

800

Blitzer:

823

Burnett:

767

Cooper:

869

Morgan:

811

SpcReport:

697

Cooper:

548

Morgan:

465

HLN
News:

123

Files:

96

Files:

158

Jane:

205

Grace:

374

DrDrew:

309

Files:

336

Files:

468

Files:

467

Malaysian Airlines News And Speculation At CNN

Malaysia_Airlines_Boeing_777-2H6ER;_9M-MRG@ZRH;07.08.1998_(4794758296)I have to hand it to CNN. There’s no story I’m interested in as much as the Malaysian Airlines disappearance. They’re pouring everything they’ve got on it. That’s the good news.

The bad news is, with little new info or new info fragments, CNN has turned to speculating. I’ve heard Wolf Blitzer try and pin the rumors on others, but when it’s your megaphone that’s giving voice to these rumors you inherit responsibility. You can’t just attribute it away.

If I was in charge of CNN what would I do? I don’t know. The audience gains from all this wall-to-wall theory porn are appealing. CNN needs to stay profitable. So much temptation.

This is very similar to the steps that moved local TV news away from difficult-to-report issue stories to the crime/anecdote stories which now dominate.

CNN is seeing short term gain, but what is the long term price?

The Bourdain Disagreement

anthony-bourdain-no-reservationsThere’s a minor disagreement in the Fox house. I think Anthony Bourdain’s show on CNN, “No Reservations,” “Parts Unknown,” is close to amazing. That is not a unanimous opinion.

Masterfully written. Nicely shot. He goes places I dream of, but know I’ll never see.

Tonight’s show is paused. He’s in Congo.

Helaine’s opinion of Bourdain is exactly opposite mine.

The show has Anthony traveling the world, marveling at local (often rudimentary) cuisine. It is the ultimate armchair travelogue. He flies in rickety third world airplanes, travels rivers in rickety boats, drives over rutted and potholed roads while eating food prepared with minimal consideration of hygiene.

There’s no doubt this is Anthony’s show. He will often address the camera directly. Lots of ‘me roll.’

Back to the writing. It’s the most important element in televised storytelling.

Guys like Bourdain and Alton Brown understand how to write prose which will be spoken. Bourdain’s script is crafted in his spoken voice. The narration is embedded deep within the fabric of the story–no less a player than the photography itself.

I’d like to think I write like that. Maybe not. I try.

The word is CNN will air more documentary type shows, like Bourdain’s, in 2014. From Deadline.com:

“The goal for the next six months, is that we need more shows and less newscasts,” Zucker said in a recent interview about “massive changes” he’s got planned for the network, adding that he wants CNN to attract “viewers who are watching places like Discovery and History and Nat Geo and A&E.”

That’s good new and bad news. Among the bad, every hour of doc programming is an hour less of news. CNN is already news challenged too many hours of the day.

The good news is shows like Bourdain’s are worthwhile endeavors. We know so little of the world around us.

The Media Overvalues Twitter

The discussion framed Twitter as a place for political discourse. Maybe it is, but that’s a minor piece of what Twitter is.

I embrace social media. I am on Facebook. I am on Google+. I am on Twitter. Of those three the most misunderstood and incorrectly valued by the press is Twitter.

Today Howard Kurtz interviewed Jeff Jarvis on CNN’s Reliable Sources&#185. They discussed a Jarvis originated tweet with the hashtag #f*ckwashington. (The original didn’t have an asterisk and it’s sort of juvenile that I choose to use it since you all knowthe actual word anyway.)

The discussion framed Twitter as a place for political discourse. Maybe it is, but that’s a minor piece of what Twitter is and unless you know what you’re looking for beforehand politics is impossible to stumble upon.

I have a few special Twitter searches set up on my computers. They’re not looking for keywords. They’re looking for people within a specific geographic region. There’s one centered on a 15 mile circle around New Haven. Another does the same for Hartford.

My original thought was locals would tip me off when something was going on in either place. It works sometimes–not dependably. Most time it’s worthless.

Having this localized firehose of messages lets me see tweets without worrying if they’re sent by people I care about. There’s no concern over the subject matter either. Not all tweets are geotagged yet, but if it’s sent near New Haven or near Hartford there’s a chance it gets to my screen.

New Haven has Yale University. Hartford is the state capitol. You would expect some political talk and smart discussions. And yet I rarely see political or learned tweets! They are a rarity.

Here’s a brief sample received within the last few minutes:

  • Damn, tht was short lived smh oh well. Better luck next time
  • I should brought some weed for this car ride #DecisionsRegreted
  • @Liana_Gianna Yeayeayea, I wass likee ahaa oh heyy lianaa.

You get the idea.

This is not to say there aren’t valuable tweets. They’re just tough to find in all the noise.

The people you want to hear from are already writing elsewhere… and not limited to 140 characters. I continue to come back to Twitter, but sometimes wonder why?

&#185 – CNN’s Reliable Sources hosted by Kurtz examines the media and its role in news and society.