In 1992, I had just launched a new business called Video News International.
It was the world’s first video journalist network.
I had trained and equipped more than 100 VJs around the world, many of them highly established journalists with very good credentials in print or photography.
The idea was to cover news and sell the service to network news organizations.
Because the investors in the business all lived in Philadelphia, they wanted the business based there. (You know, Philly, media capital of the world… after New York, Los Angeles, London, Cleveland…) OK, that was a mistake.
One day, a young intern who was working for us named Anthony Lappe pulled me aside.
Besides working for us, he was also working for Comcast, the local cable company in Philly.
“There is something you HAVE to see,” he told me. “Comcast is doing this REALLY cool thing.”
A few … Read More »
Creating yet another room full of Travel Journalists
Yesterday, I wrote a blog entitled ‘Today We Are All Journalists”.
I also published this in the Huffington Post (which gets a slightly – though only very slightly) greater readership than my personal blog.
And, of course, I put the links on Twitter.
(I have to do what I have to do to get my opinions out to the public).
Normally, when I publish something, it disappears into the great black hole of the blogosphere, never to be heard from again.
But this time, it was different.
Having put the link to the Today We Are All Journalists piece out there, I got more than 17,000 Re-Tweets on Twitter.
No, that’s a lie. I made that up. (What am I, Brian Williams, ‘professional’ journalist?)
I didn’t get anywhere near that.
But I did kick off a very interesting discussion.
Here are a few of … Read More »
Training print reporters at The Daily Telegraph (UK) to shoot their own video with iPhones
The media is the child of technology.
It was the invention of the printing press that begat newspaper, magazines and books.
The printing press defined how the world of the printed word would work.
It was the invention of radio and TV that begat broadcasting.
The physical limitations and cost of broadcasting would define how radio and TV would work.
That technology is constantly changing.
Up until now, access to a printing press or radio or TV was both complex and expensive.
As a result, few people could actually get access to those media. They could get access as watchers or readers or listeners, but not as content creators. The content for those varied media was created by a small handful of media or news professionals. This was not because these people were … Read More »
In the Book of Exodus, it tells us that the Israelites wandered in the desert for forty years.
This was not because they were lost.
(Or that the men refused to ask anyone for directions).
The Israelites wandered in the desert for forty years so that anyone with a memory of slavery would die off.
The new nation would be created by those with only a memory of freedom.
This seems a bit harsh, perhaps, but it does make the point.
We are often handicapped by the memory of our previous experiences. And change is hard. There were those Israelites who longed, at some points, to go back to Egypt. “It wasn’t so bad, really. At least there was food and a place to live!”
Faced with the challenges of a new digital world, many people, particularly those who have ‘lived’ in the ‘old world’, are … Read More »
In 1994, I launched a new company called Video News International.
It was based on the idea of using VJs around the world to create television; an idea that, at that time, was considered extremely radical.
Television then was done by crews (as it still is in many places, remarkably).
While we started as a ‘news’ business, we soon discovered that cable presented a far more lucrative business. If we could marry the VJ concept with programing that was repeatable, we would have a real winner.
We found our metier by embedding our newly-minted VJs into hospital Emergency Rooms. We began with the idea of doing a single documentary, but the pilot was so successful and so compelling that TLC commissioned a full season of what would become Trauma, Life in the ER.
The secret to success here was to try and combine the ‘feel’ … Read More »
Career prep for the non-math students amongst us…
When I was in school, there were two kinds of people: math and non-math.
The math people walked around with slide rules in their pockets (yes, I am that old), and could do quadratic equations with their eyes closed.
Who could have predicted that this proclivity toward perpetual nerd-dom would be the single greatest skill for the 21st Century.
(Who could have predicted that Miss Chaffey’s touch typing class in 7th grade – a requirement, but I thought only for secretaries, would prove to be the most valuable skill I took away from Jr. High School?)
Well, as it turns out, coding, the Latin of the 21st Century, is hot hot hot.
That’s the skill everyone pays a lot for.
Coding and math.
If you were a math major. Fine.
I was not.
I was what we used to call a … Read More »
What’s going to happen now???
I am launching The Bacon Channel
I am sure it is going to be a big success.
How do I know?
Amazon recently bought Twitch – a gaming channel.
It isn’t a channel where you play video games, it’s a channel where you watch other people play video games.
If this is hard to believe, Amazon paid $1 billion for Twitch.
And if that isn’t hard enough to believe, Twitch has more than 55 million active montly viewers.
This is more viewers than the Oprah Winfrey Network is going to get for the next 150 years.
And Twitch is just getting started.
In March, 2012, just nine months after it started, Twitch already had 16 million monthly visitors, and it was growing at the rate of 11% per month.
And what do you watch on Twitch?
You watch other people play video games.
What makes all this possible is the … Read More »
The Easter Rising, (Éirí Amach na Cáscaone), of the most significant events in Irelands long march to independence from British rule, occurred on Easter Monday, April 24, 1916 and lasted for six days. The British army responded with crushing force, ultimately ending the uprising. The Irish received full independence three years later.
At that time, one of the significant pieces of technology that helped the Irish Republicans coordinate their efforts was the printing press.
Sharon Gaffney, a reporter for RTE, the national service public broadcaster for Ireland, shot and produced the above piece using her iPhone (the siginificant piece of techonlogy that allows us to coordinate our efforts today).
She put some of the clips through the 8mm app for the effects and edited on Avid.
You can see from the astonishing quality fo the images that the iPhone is clearly crossing the boundary … Read More »
Forbes Magazine recently posted a list of the Ten Best and Worst Jobsfor 2014.
Newspaper Journalist came in 2nd.
Second worst job you can have. Lumberjack was first.
Of course, as a lumberjack you get to spend a lot of time outdoors, amongst the trees.
As a journalist you also get to spend a lot of time outdoors. But that’s because you are going to be unemployed.
The world of journalism is in free fall.
As newspapers and magazines become the next in a long list of victims of the Internet, once safe and secure careers,
like reporter, are evaporating faster than a glacier in global warming.
It seems a bit unfair, at least to me (and on doubt to my fellow classmates at The Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism,
class of 1983).
We were the children of Watergate.
Being a reporter was cool.
And it paid a lot.
And you got … Read More »
My Lai Massacre, Vietnam, 1971 Photo WIkileaks Commons / Library of Congress
Vietnam was called “The Livingroom War”.
That’s because it was the first war in US history that came along with live television coverage.
For the first time, Americans could watch the progress or the war, daily, from their homes. Most of it largely uncensored.
What they saw shocked them.
Up until Vietnam, warfare had been carried out in private. It was always bloody, always ugly, always shocking. But the images were kept far from the folk at home.
Those images that were allowed to percolate out into the public space were generally carefully censored and carefully controlled.
But not in Vietnam.
One must wonder at what the impact of television might have been on the long, pointless and seemingly endless mechanized slaughter that trench warfare in the First World War was. Would the US have been … Read More »