Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Santa Rosa TV station has a novel but dumb idea

KFTY-TV in Santa Rosa has fired a bunch of their news people and now they want you to provide them free content.

TV50 calling all citizen journalists
Santa Rosa
station looks to new kind of newsgatherers to cover local issues

Before they were abruptly laid off last week, the men and women who comprised the news team at Santa Rosa's KFTY-TV were in the business of gathering and reporting local stories.
Under the new model, that job will fall to someone else, namely, you.The concept, known as citizen journalism or user-generated content, can be a powerful way of expressing a point of view, as anyone who's ever visited YouTube or MySpace knows.But how good will citizen journalists be at telling local news stories - the car crashes, school board meetings and the like - that traditionally have been the diet of professional newsgatherers?

John Burgess, TV50's general manager and vice president, said Friday that citizen journalists will do a "much better job" of covering local issues than what the station was doing with the 13 members of the news department he let go Friday.

Nice job, John, of adding insult to injury. You fire your news people then tell them Joe Schmoe can do a better job anyway.

I have to give him credit for a creative (and cheapskate) idea. But if I’m getting 200,000 views on my video on YouTube and people from all over the world can see it, why would I care about sending it to a local TV station? (Not that I have personally achieved that kind of YouTube fame. I think my tribute to my daughter for her 18th birthday is up to about 150 views. But I have aspirations.)

Let's face it, the are thirty-eleven billion videos on YouTube, and only about 14 of them are worth watching for 2 minutes each. How many great video producers will be compelled by this opportunity in Santa Rosa and environs? The only interesting content would come from low budget people making grainy video that would look ok on the internet but look like hell on TV – and anybody with enough money to produce something of quality will either be pitching a product or doing PR for somebody. Sounds pretty boring. We already have public access stations…


Scott said...

I just don't accept the premise. 'It's hogwash!' to quote the vice president...who surprisingly reminds me a lot of John Burgess. There is a place in our lives for local TV news just as there is for the local newspaper. The problem lies with management and putting a quality product on the air. I can understand Clear Channel wanting to strip the station to the bare bones in hopes of selling it, but don't blame your inadequacies as a manager on the hard working people in the news room.

Trader Joe said...

I did not know Derrick Moore had an 18-year-old daughter. Last time I saw Derrick about a year ago he looked 18, maybe 21.

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