Blogs and TV Don't Mix

I guess this story continues our on-going documentation of the lazyness of professional journalists. You have to wonder about NBC 17 when they decided to do a story about blogs without talking to anyone but Todd Melet and Henry Copeland. They must have picked up on Todd's spokesperson status from his WCHL editorial calling 2004 "The year of the Blog" a few weeks ago.

Here is how NBC 17 introduced their story: "If you are so inclined, you can snoop inside someone's online diary... It's also an opportunity for local businesses to make more money." That pretty much sums up their story. Yep, voyeurism and capitalism, that's blogging.

Watch the video (there's an ad first), or just read the story.
For future reference, here are two lists of local bloggers who can interviewed: North State Bloggers and Tarheel Bloggers, and I'm sure there are many more.



Thanks Duncan. I think I'll keep hearing "you're too young" even when I retire. Quite a haunting refrain, especially when you are trying to be taken seriously by people with less experience than yourself.

(I don't mean you, Melanie. I'm thinking of my 1999 Council campign, just for example.)

Great discussion here, and I'm glad to see that a number of you in on the dialogue will participate in the Weblogs and Journalism seminar at the School of Journalism and Mass Communication on Tuesday. (See Hope we can continue this topic there.

When I first got into the journalism business around here I did a little stringing for WRAL. The news director invited me to the station for a tour and to be one of those people sitting in the newsroom during the broadcast. I was introduced to Charlie Gaddy, who was eating a barbecue sandwhich. He wrote down his direct line and said if a 747 goes down at Jordan Lake to call him first. Later, after introducing me to someone as a print reporter and, thus, part of "the real world," the news director told me to "always remember—this is showbiz."

Televison news is hit and miss—rising and falling on budgets and sweeps weeks, relentless self-promotion and tie-ins with network shows. They do some good stuff from time to time but the pictures always drive the story and the reporting is, by nature, thin. The best thing it can do is take us there, but it's still showbiz.


avg. tv hours per week: 2

avg. during basketball season: 6

Walter Cronkite retired in 1981. How young do you think Ruby is, Melanie? And if she's young enough not to remember Uncle Walter, she's the most gifted and talented kid on this board!

(Shhh -- some of us whippersnappers remember the Watergate hearings _and_ the evacuation of Saigon _and_ the first episode of Sesame Street.)

I'm obviously biased because I got to my 15 seconds of fame... but I thought the spot was OK, in fact, covered a lot of ground, especially given the fact that it was pulled together in half a day (I think.) In 2.5 years of blogging, I've read lots of inane articles on blogging. (Usually delivered as though a scoop, BTW.) I'm a former journalist and am appalled by most of what I read. Ck out if you want to read my rantings about stupid reporting about blogs, before I gave up complaining. There was the time the LATimes did a long take-down on blogging and ignored the vibrant LA blogging community. Or the Boston Globe article that derided blogging as "meaningless chatter." Anyway, NBC17 could have done LOTS worse.


I did not get to set the story line. If I did, it would have been about politics and blogging.

They interviewed us for an hour. During which time, we looked over this site on camera and talked about it, checked out RantingProfs (my favorite local blog), and many others. I showed them Tarheel Bloggers, and North State Blogs.

They want back and wrote a story about snooping into peoples diaries.

I still think it's all good for blogging to get people educated about what the word means.


Are you upset that NC17 contacted Todd Melet and Henry Copeland? Or are you upset that they didn't do a more thorough job on the news story?


PS--In defense of NBC, I think they covered blogs other than this one because I showed them the site. All other blogs shown in the story where discovered without my prompting.

I'm not upset they contacted Todd, why shouldn't they? With all the information available about blogs (both online and and in person) they couldn't really figure out what they were, but did a story on them anyway. Isn't journalism supposed to involve research? Aren't news programs supposed to be providing their viewers with useful and factual information and not just fluff between the commercials? Oops.

I don't blame Todd for talking to them, I would have done the same.

I thought reporting was when you had an attractive person read a script and interview a few people on a program called the 6 o'clock news, while a couple of other attractive people tell jokes about the weather.

(author's disclaimer: sarcasm)

Ruby--I think you are confusing television reporting with JOURNALISM--I'm afraid those days disappeared Cronkite and Huntley Brinkley....whom you are TOO YOUNG to remember!



What promoted the story was that the Today Show had just done a thing on blogging, so they wanted to do a local angle. I had been interviewed by them the day prior about RLC's. They found me for that story via my blog using Google. They did not know what a blog was the day before until I told them, and they then ran a Today Show segment the next morning. Wow--this Todd the Blog guy must know something...

Blogging is very new to all of us. Recent research from the PEW center showed that fewer than 10% of online Americans read political blogs. The press is facinated by it. Go to Google News and search on blog and you will find a new story every day. It's been featured in USA Today on the cover a few weeks back, and many more huge newspapers and TV shows.

To me blogging becomes legit when the main stream press takes interest...which is now. Advertisers are too, and that's an interesting angle for a local TV network to include in a 1 minute 30 second spot.


"Blogging" reminds me a lot of the old days (before the internet) when hundreds of thousands of computer BBS's (Bulletin Board Systems) were around. Anyone with a computer, a modem, and a telephone line could set one up. I ran one for 10 years before closing it down. Anyway, many BBS'es had extensive message bases where folks exchanged ideas and information (political, technical, personal, or otherwise). There were even nationwide message exchange nextworks such as FidoNet.

"Blogging", to me, is a modern day reincarnation of the old BBSes message bases which I really enjoyed. I am glad to see it is catching on.



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