This just in…..
Television did not appear as a gift from God.
The Lord did not appear before Sarnoff, Paley and Goldensohn in the form of a burning bush and select them to carry His word forth.
No one descended from Sinai with tablets inscribed with the instructions on what television was to be
-Thou shalt have an anchor, preferrably white, male and boring
-Thou shalt have reporters in the fields…
-Thou shalt do sports and weather…
This did not happen. But we act as though it did.
At its invention, television was so complicated, so expensive and so difficult to push through the ether into people’s homes, that truly, it seemed that God Almightly had indeed elected NBC, CBS and ABC to be the deliverers of ‘truth’ to the masses, and hence, their way was the only Way.
This has been going on for so long (since the Creation – the creation of television, that is) that it seems that the way it looks and who gets to make it are indeed indellibly cast in stone.
If you don’t believe it, just turn on your TV set and watch the news. Network or local, cable or broadcast, it does not matter. They all look exactly the same. An anchor at a desk with a box over their shoulder. The pieces all look the same – police tape, stand up, wide shot, talking head, droning narration. Mix em up and reassemble them. All the same. Take a piece from NBC and stick it on CBS. Who could tell?
For nearly 70 years it has been the same boring crap, day after day, year after year with only the most marginal of changes.
And why? Because there was no one else who could or would do this. It was just too expensive to get into the business.
Now, suddenly, all this is changing.
As my old friend Mike Sechrist said when he saw video online, ‘it’s over’. What he meant was that the nice technological stranglehold that broadcasters and cable had was over. And it was… and it is. Now, anyone can make TV.
But who can make TV news? For that, you would need an army of journalists and a group both committed to gathering and reporting the news and passionate about it. You don’t find them in the college dorm room. And you probably don’t find them at your local TV news station – not an army, that’s for sure.
You DO find them at your local newspaper.
And now they can do video. The cameras are cheap, the edits simple. And now they can put their video into every home in the world. For nothing.
As Mike Sechrist would say, ‘it’s over’. At least it’s over for broadcasters. But it’s just the beginning for newspapers who take up the challenge. There’s a rich market out there to be had and the competition is lazy and fat and old and tired and stuck in their ways.
What does video news look like?
No one knows.
But we’re gonna find out.
We’re gonna find out because newspapers like the Star Ledger and others are going to try and try and try again as they fine tune it and really invent it on the fly.
It’s an exciting time for news.
For those who have the courage to take up the challenge and try new things.
For those who suddenly find their ox is being gored… well, they’re going to be unhappy. annoyed. angry. and threatened. (Terry Heaton has a good take on this today).They will throw everything they can at the interlopers. “Get off my territory. Go back where you belong!”
It won’t do them any good.
They already violated the second Commandment – Thou Shalt Make No Graven Images. In light of this, they’re all fired up to violate the seventh ‘Thou Shalt Not Covet Thy Neighbor’s Wife’ (or in this case, his advertisers).