Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Choose Your News

Tonight the Arkansas Society of Professional Journalists held a debate between KATV's Choose Your News reporter Kristin Fisher and Newspaper Columnist John Brummet.

The debate's origins are in Brummett's recent columns dismissing choose your news as a gimmick. Internet fury grew, the two exchanged online barbs, bloggers jabbed and finally Brummett relented and aggreed to meet with Fisher and debate the pros and cons of this gimmick as a news gathering tool.

The debate lasted just over an hour and was lively, entertaining and funny at times.

Both aggreed that something has to be done to keep the industry relavent and alive.

They disagreed on nomenclature issues and the use of new tools overriding the newsgathering process and integrity.


John finds the word twitter funny.

John gets blog alerts when people blog about him. Audience laughs.

John says you can't choose your news.

He says people are choosing their features, follow ups etc. Implies that those aren't news. News can't be predicted it happens and you cover it.

John says it's a gimmick, gimmicks never work.

John says cover the news, use the tools to cover the news, but kill the gimmicks.

Kristin says the quality of her stories are the same with the Choose your news format. She's giving the viewer a choice.

Kristin says John chooses his news by having google alerts. Says they are taking the user interactivy one step further.

Kristin says get over semantics....Choose Your News is just a title and it rhymes so it works.

John is taking furiouse notes for his rebuttle.

Kristin is looking forward to putting this experiment to the breaking news test.

John rebuts that he chooses what he consumes doesn't choose what people produce for him.

John again says, using remote control analogy, that it only allows him to choose what he recieves not what they produce at the various outlets.

John says don't trivialize the news just cover it.

Kristin answering why theh viewers can't just have all of the stories instead of choosing.

Says the obviouse...we only have so many reporters.

Kristin says Choose your news is providing them a surplus of story ideas.

John says Kristin shouldn't lobby for people to choose certain stories in her tweets.

Kristin hates fluff and hard news and is going to lobby for the hard news.

She says she should let her personality come out and give her take on what story she should cover.

She likes the transparancy of having a live webcam watching her all day.

She says nobody can beat TV at Breaking News. That each medium needs to cater to it's niches even on the web.

Sometimes wants to turn off the webcam.

They will mute the mic from time to time to make source calls or other sensitve times.

John says the webcam on her is a bit creepy.

John says when this is the sum essance of what you're doing then it outserves the purpose of the news gathering.

John says we're cannibalizing oursevles. (attributes to someone else) Instead of focusing on our job of delivering news.

John says the multitasking of writing his collumns and blogging was too much to do justice to his column.

John says things have to change in the news biz for us to survive.

John says he is willing to work twice as hard to make it work.

John says the future is in niche pubs and cross pollenation.

Kristin says the real debat here is the one between TV and Print that's been going on for years. Says there are certainly differences in how print and TV cover a given story and the impact is has.

Wishes she had more time for her stories.

She says New Media supplements the big final (classic) product.

Kristin answers that choose your news shouldn't pick the lead story but rather only if it just happened to be a hard story after being picked it could be a lead.

John says it's not the wisest use of talent or space but it's not the end of journalistic integrity.

Oh...lost my stream...it's back...whew.

Kristin says she has human interactivity....laughs from audience.

Kristin says 44% of college grads go online for their news and our medium of TV and Print are dying. We've got to find a way to monetize the internet and make it a place where TV and Print can make money.

John wonders if Choose your News is that or is it a fleeting pointless gimmick(he thinks the latter)....is Kristin going to sit in front of the webcam and grow old on us.

Moderator - What is a journalist?

Kristin - someone who informs you about the news and events in your community or around the world.

John - A person protected by the 1st ammendment, anyone really, who gives information about a news event. No training or licensing neccesary.

questions from the audience...

Question about monetizing the internet wondering if this is driving the numbers...

Kristin doesn't know about that. She talks about having 10000 votes in the last round.

Kristin says that if there's ever breaking news they will postpone the choose your news story in favor of using the tools to cover the bn.

John says if adverisers are drawn there by numbers that he's all good with it....but that nobody's found a way to do that.

He objects to the principal of this way of gathering news and not to the effort of trying to get viewers to in turn get ads.

John says it would be more palletable to him if it was a stand alone self supporting (money) thing.

Kristin says with so many people on the internet then why shouldn't they reach out to them.

John says this trivialzes their newscasts.

Kristin says she may be reaching different people on the web than watch their news. That the younger demographic is on the web...the older on the TV and with some crossover.

John agrees....and that older people in a rural state like AR are tied to their TV and the younger people are online because the TV is nonsense and irrelevant to their lives.

John aggrees that you can pull the demographics from one medium to the other with cross promotion.

John still maintains that the best news is real news and that's what appeals to everyone.

We're over the hour mark

Here it is...the Anne Pressley safety question.

Kristin - I'm never alone. I always have a Photographer with me. I'm in no more danger than any other reporter who puts themselves in the public eye.

She says there are steps she takes to protect her privacy.

She thinks about how much better her web cam would be if Anne were there dancing in the background.

John asks what is the purpose of having her on the webcam typing all day.

She says so people can check in and see what she's doing. That TV News is built upon personalities and that with that she can have a live conversation with the viewers and it makes it personal.

One day that web cam will do something great for breaking news. (the portable one in the cell phone)

John quips that he's going to get a web cam on his desk.

Kristin explaining how choose your news was born....just a passing conversation about the streaming web phone.

John making points about sweeps stunts.

A guy in the audience asking a questions sounds just like one of my station's engineers. Funny!

Kristin says John's columns and all the talk about Choose Your News has definately helped the votes.

Kristin loves to shoot and edit.

She gave up the shooting and editing to take on the demands of all the tweeting, webcaming, and other interactivity.

Moderator to John...what have you gotten out of this....

John - Newspaper columns need buzz and this has given him buzz.

Kristin - Your google alerts are off the charts huh?

John - He has become more aware of the threats to our industry.

John - Still thinks the web cam is creepy and hopes it's full time use is cut.

That's all.


Lenslinger said...

Excellent work, Chris. I didn't get a chance to watch it live but certainly will. Sounds like John acquitted himself somewhat. Kudos to him for taking part in the exchange.

Amanda said...

KATV has finally posted the whole debate on their site for those who missed it.