Archive for April, 2011

I have this idea that a tv station and its platforms for distributing the news (web, social media, mobile and tv) are capable of fostering a community dialogue that will strengthen journalism and civic engagement.  Here is a preview of a piece I am writing to support this claim.


It begins with a thorough look at what send out on the airwaves through the broadcast signal starting with newscasts.  A station’s newscasts are where the opportunity lies to make that initial connection with the community it wants to build.  The stories that people can relate to and use to enhance their daily lives will draw them back time and again. Weather and local sports are other attractions to turn on the television to your station.  Showing the viewer what is happening right now in the area around them is important.  Live video makes what you are offering relevant and timely.

Now take those basics and add features from your other platforms.  Driving across platforms enhances each one. Use a live poll from your website to engage the audience and give them a perspective of others opinions.   Use your mobile program to ask viewers if they would like to share comments by texting their opinion.  Read and show those comments in your broadcast.  This is where and how you create the conversation and form the omni-directional communication process.  Tell viewers they can find a map of recent arrests on the website.  Let viewers use your Facebook and Twitter sites to submit pictures and video.  Remember to do all of this in a way that encourages people to connect not only with you but each other and their community leaders, such as city officials or congressmen.  Put your viewers in a position where they have direct access to them through each of these platforms.

The web immediately follows TV as a source for building a community with your TV station.  In some ways it is bigger.  “In 2010 every news platform saw audiences either stall or decline – except for the web.” (Rosenstiel, 2011).  There are an unlimited number of ways to make the station website more than just a clipped up newscast.  “Newspapers also use the Internet to supplement their printed version of a longer project with databases, orginal documents, methodologies, or audio and video of interviews with sources or the reporters on the story.” (Kovach, 2007, p. 93).  With every story we send out reporters to cover there are web extras to be created on the website.  To name just a few basics: extended interviews, raw video, streaming video, court documents, extra pictures from the cell phone, links to related websites, maps, live chats with the source or reporter, and so on and so on.

Here are some helpful websites to accomplish some of the above:

http://www.coveritlive.com/  (live chats and blogs)

http://www.ustream.tv/  (live streaming)

http://www.dipity.com/  (timelines)

http://www.slideshare.net/  (slideshows)

http://maps.google.com/  (maps)

http://wordpress.com/  (blogs)


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RE: Youtube factor

I enjoyed reading Deborah Potter’s article in American Journalism Review about local news stations using Youtube in their overall online strategy. 

I like the idea for a couple of  reasons:

1. Maintain ownership of video, while not taking up video storage space with your Content Management System.  You can share your coverage with non-profit organizations that want to put it on their website indefinitely and keep your branding AND not jeopordize filling your storage. Win-win for both parties.

2. Mobile viewing.  Youtube is viewable on any mobile device I’ve encountered.  It’s on the Wii.  It’s on Apple TV.  It’s everywhere.  Don’t you want to be everywhere?  Its an easy solution for dealing with a Content Management System that uses flash on your station’s site.

Now, to those of you worried about taking video views away from your site,  I see a fairly easy solution.  Make a simple graphic to attach to the video (this does require a quick edit before uploading)  and tell the youtube viewer about an extended interview or raw video related to the story available on WXXX.com.  Ta-da!  They click on over to see what else they can see!

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Congrats KTIV!

I just learned today that KTIV recieved the Eric Severaid award for 1st place website at the Northwest Broadcast News Association Awards ceremony Saturday in Minneapolis, Minn.

I am super proud of the KTIV News Team.  As the Internet Director there, I had the best team in making KTIV.com the best site possible for the community there.

Here are the links we submitted:

*Flu season, live chat http://www.ktiv.com/Global/category.asp?C=173347
*Winter Storm Advisory live updates, http://www.ktiv.com/global/story.asp?s=13765184
*Election night live chat, http://www.ktiv.com/global/story.asp?s=13438755

These are two others I considered:
Live updates from murder trial of Sinh Manivanh, http://www.ktiv.com/global/story.asp?s=12014403
State of the union live chat, http://www.ktiv.com/global/story.asp?s=11603129

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As promised, finally… Here is what I have to add about how a station should attack (yes, attack) content within the day.  The web producer should be in that assignment file just as much as the assignment editor.  That is where they can find fresh content immediately for readers to find during that peak early morning time.  Then, when they come back around lunch time, it should be updated with some of the things described below – pictures, video and such.

I.      Breaking news and weather – very important and very immediate, two of the things that I believe are most sought after locally on a mobile device.

Send email and text alerts when possible!


  • Make sure weather information is more prominent on the home page
  • Record broadcast weather cut-ins for the web (this will see immediate ROI in video views!)
  • Create story links to weather resources and update as needed.  Does your station’s website have skycams on it?  It should!  Then any story about weather can link to it as a bonus for the reader.
  • Cross promote on social media – tell people what is going on and what to look for on your website.


  • Create story as breaking news  ( pre-prepare if possible, for example a trial verdict is either “guilty” or “not quilty”)
  • Send email/text alert
  •  Update as needed with info from crew at the scene, who should send pictures ASAP
  • Web exclusives and extras
  •  slideshow, raw video, extended interviews, related documents
  • Story-in-progress (I find it a best practice to start a new story any time I go in to add to something previously posted on my station’s site.  I then embed a link to the previous story in the body of the new one so as to connect them.  I think it keeps things cleaner and its easier for the reader to digest the story). 

 Live video – sets you apart from the competition! (for now…)

  1. Newscasts
  2. breaking news
  3. ustream (from the field)

Audience engagement – Great ways to drive from web to newscast and newscast to web!

  1.  Social Media – call to action for comments, user generated content
  2. Blogs – do a topic of the day and you’ll find people get in the habit of participating
  3. Polls

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