This morning, I gave the keynote speech to 800 or so broadcasters from both PBS and NPR stations across the country as they kicked off their Media 2007 Conference in Boston.
It might seem odd to have both PBS television and NPR radio people in the same room. They exist in completely different worlds.Â But this is no longer the case. They share a common goal, to reinvent themselves for the world of the Internet. This is not so strange, it is the same goal that Mark Thompson, the Director General for The BBC has announced, as has pretty much ever other medium with whom we have met, from newspapers to magazines. The web is now paramount.
And for good reason: It reaches everyone in the world for almost no cost. Where it once took a massive investment … Read More »
Yesterday we spent the day with one of our corporate clients. I don’t want to get into any names here, but suffice it to say they are a major publisher and you would recognize their magazine titles anywhere.
It’sÂ no secret that print publications are moving to the web in vast numbers and record time. Just last week, Arthur Sulzberger, Jr., publisher of the mother-of-all print publications, The New York Times said he was not sure if there would even be a paper – a physical paper – in five years time.
They are moving to the web because it is a vastly easier, more efficient and far cheaper way of moving their information than printing on paper and physical distribution.
And as they move to the web, and as the web concurrently moves to video, these publications realize that they are going … Read More »
I found out the other day that we are finalists for a Knight Foundation Grant for a Citizen Journalism project we have proposed.Â We’re keeping our fingers crossed.
The notion of ‘Citizen Journalism’ sends conventional television news people into fits of hysteria. Youtube! they scream. Look what happens when you give just anyone a camera! Quality will vanish!
The new technologies of digital cameras and laptops married to a web that now carries video mean that anyone indeed can pick up a camera and make TV, or more to the point, make TV news. And we are not talking about ‘accidental video’ here – you happen to be in the trailer park when the tornado hits. We are talking about using video to communicate an idea – not capture a tragedy.
This is, of course, disturbing. We have all lived … Read More »
We spent most of yesterday screening submissions to a new television series we are producing for Discovery called ‘Show Us Your World’.
The concept is derivative of Current.tv, which I did with Al Gore a few years ago. But even in that small amount of time, the world has changed enormously.
The driving force behind Show Us Your World is that it is entirely composed of User Generated Content (UGC). That is, we invite the viewers to shoot, script, edit and produce their own content and upload it to our website. We then take the best of those submissions (or allow the web to simply aggregate the most popular) and create a weekly television program with that content.
When we started Current, not so many years ago, the content that viewers shot and submitted was pretty raggedy. You might get the odd … Read More »
Technology dictates architecture.
That is, a specific technology demands a specific architecture. Not the architecture of a building, but rather the architecture for the implementation of that technology.Â As lazy humans, however, we get the technology first; the architecture takes us time.
In 1876, Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone.
People understood right away what this thing did.Â It allowed one person to talk to another over long distances. This was a radical new technology. Until Bell, the fastest anyone could deliver a message to another person was by putting a person on a horse with a piece of paper. It had been ever thus since the days of the Roman Empire.Â Now, for the first time, a message could be delivered at the speed of electrons racing down a wire.
The telephone require a complete rethinking of the architecture of technology, and also, … Read More »
In the late 90’s, I became the President of New York Times Television. It was a new company, one that was founded when Punch Sulzberger bought my company, Video News International. I had told Mr. Sulzberger that I would create the video analog of the newspaper; some of the best journalists in the world reporting in video.
New York Times TV was housed in the Hippodrome, on 6th Avenue, a few blocks from The Times’ building on 42nd Street. We shared a floor with Martin Niesenholtz, who was just starting up NYTimes.com, the Times’ website.
Right after moving into my new office, I got a call from Joe Lellyveld, the Managin Editor of the paper.Â He invited me to lunch in the executive dining room. White linen tablecloths, white gloved stewards and steamed salmon.Â Lellyveld was extremely gracious.
“Congratulations on … Read More »
There is an old expression that says ‘necessity is the mother of invention’. Nothing could be further from the truth. It is not necessities that precipitate invention; rather inventions come along unbidden and most people run away from them as fast as they can. Barring that, they accept them grudgingly, trying to shoehorn them into ways of working that were designed around earlier technologies.
This is surely the case in trying to ‘re-engineer’ some existing local tv newsrooms in the US into a faster, more online oriented, digital newsroom for the 21st Century. One might as well try to make the Motor Vehicles Bureau into Dreamworks. It is not that they don’t recognize that they have to change, or even that they don’t want to change, it is just that they can’t. They cannot bring … Read More »