Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Everything you know is wrong

I don' t think anyone likes to consider themselves gullible, but there's a good chance you sincerely believe a lot of things that just aren't true. To wit, the many beliefs that surround what I consider to be our 5th most significant annual holiday - Super Bowl Sunday. (For the record, the top 4 are Christmas, Thanksgiving, New Year's Day, and the 4th of July. Don't even try to tell me Labor Day or any other red date on the calendar is bigger than Superbowl Sunday.) As it turns out, it's not all that likely that I will beat my wife, hork down a bushel of guacamole, or strain the capacity of the water system with my Superbowl Sunday behaviors. The truth will set you free, and it's at

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…