Friday, November 27, 2009

Ba-da Bing but no Boom

Bing made a big splash but left little ripple effect. Microsoft's attempt to edge into Google's hegemony of the search engine market has not made much of a dent, at least not among visitors to my sites.

I wrote back in June about the challenge ahead for Microsoft. To say that Bill Gates & Co. still have an uphill climb understates the Everest that lies ahead.

So far in November, 85% of visitors to this blog who arrived using a search engine got here through Google. Six percent used Yahoo; four percent bing. For, it's 90% for google vs. 8% for bing, with Yahoo mopping up the remaining 2%.

Google is only slightly less dominant among searchers who land at Seventy-nine percent use Google, six percent Yahoo and 2 percent bing, tying it with Google Puerto Rico.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

TV News is Dead

So says a guy trying to sell it a resuscitator. "Burn down the buildings," says Michael Rosenblum on the Mark Joyella's LocalNewser blog. Rosenblum is a consultant who claims that his VJ newsroom model, in which traditional two-person reporter/cameraman crews become one-person do-it-all video journalists, will cut costs and increase content.

I have nothing to fear if the buildings burn down. Though I've spent most of my career on camera, I own cameras and am happy to do freelance jobs as a one-man-band, especially since it means I don't have to share my fee!

However, I'm struggling to understand Mr. Rosenblum's math when he claims that local stations have two-hundred newsroom employees yet put only eight cameras on the street. First, where are these local newsrooms with 200 people? Second, where are these newsrooms that have only eight cameras?

But if you market yourself as a media messiah, you need the faithful to feel the doom. Before you sell the cure, you have to sell the disease.

Not that TV news doesn't have its ills. But it's interesting that the lynch pin of Michael's solution is to get rid of the photographers — half of the people who are generating video content — when it's not too many people on the street we have but too many special projects producers, executive producers and anchors who only anchor that bloat newsroom staffs.

Michael would be cheered to learn that stations have gotten rid of sound men.

Unfortunately for Michael — and for the increasing number of TV stations that have decided that two-person crews are a luxury — operating a video camera is not equivalent to using a pencil. That is evident in the video on this page, in which Michael is nearly in silhouette thanks to a distractingly bright computer monitor in the frame and no light on the subject.

If no camera light was available, it would have taken approximately ten seconds to find a darker web page to display on the monitor and another ten to put the camera's iris on manual and open it up to brighten the subject's face so it wouldn't look like we were trying to hide his identity.

This matters because video quality affects how viewers judge the product's credibility. If you don't have 20 seconds to get the camera shot right, how can I think that you took the time to get the facts right? If your video looks amateurish, the reporting will too.

Competent camera work doesn't require a PhD but it does take more than two days of training and a week of practice to master. In a business based on video, I'd look for other fat to trim before I started cutting the source of my best pictures.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Forget Hiring "Proofreader's" -- Just Read Some Guy's Blog

Update on CNN's "Obama's (sic) celebrate first Halloween at the White House" story: CNN has corrected the error in the headline. Perhaps not coincidentally, my web counter shows a visitor from the CNN Political Ticker blog admin account this afternoon.

Click image for larger version.

I'm happy to help. But disappointed that they needed it.

Maybe They Need to Hire More "Proofreader's"

It looks like misplace'd apostrophe's have become a national epidemic.

Click on image for larger version.

CNN story:

Obama's (sic) celebrate first Halloween at the White House

Apparently even headline writers at CNN don't realize that plural words don't use apostrophes before the S. Or as they might have written, "plural's don't use apostrophe's before the S."

Update: CNN has corrected the error. Perhaps not coincidentally, my web stats counter shows a visitor from the CNN Political Ticker blog admin account this afternoon.