Saturday, June 20, 2009

The Future of TV News

The future of TV news might not be on TV. Well, duh. Here's the new part: It might not be on TV station websites, either. Go to any TV station website and it's obvious that they haven't figured out what they want their sites to be so they've made it a little bit of everything.

Are they promoting their network programming? Trying to promote their newscasts? Trying to present news on their sites? Trying to monetize them with ads?

They're trying to do all of them. And the results are a mess.

I've long thought that if a TV station was serious about becoming a must-see destination for news and information, it would cut all the clutter and focus on the one thing that's already their specialty: video.

I've done that with my personal and business sites. My niche is telling stories with video. So it makes sense that on most of the pages feature a large video window. You don't have to search to find it, you don't have to scroll to reach it. Go to the site and, right on the homepage, there's a video.

Same with Half the main content space of every page on the site is a video player.

If showing's what your selling, show them, don't tell them.

One media outlet has beaten TV stations to the punch. And it's a newspaper! The publisher of the Las Vegas Sun, Greenspun Media, has built a video news site called

Notice that the first thing you notice is the video window. It's not buried somewhere down the page. Where are the ads? Why they're embedded in the videos.

A half-hour version of the webcast will air on a local TV station co-owned by the publisher. "The television version of 702.TV is reverse engineered from our Web site," Greenspun Media President and Executive Editor Rob Curley told TV Newsday.

The show may run so-called advertorials or commercial tie-ins but the station expects most of its revenue to come from traditional 30-second commercials, according to the article.

While this is not a hard-news site, it's clearly a model that someone either already in the business of producing video news reports or even one that some enterprising reporters (in more than one sense) with the right equipment and know-how could use to launch a real news site to rival those of local TV stations.

Hmm. As someone once said, stay tuned.

Credit to Mark Joyella's blog, where I first learned of

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