Monday, October 13, 2008

There is SO Much--NewsMcNabb's First Blog

There is SO Much

So, what is a semi-retired journalist (There are no retired journalists.) to do where there is no medium and no deadline. No problem in this day and age. Blog. And, for a journalist, there is so much to blog about:

What passes for radio news is said in one sentence, maybe two, punctuated
by some local “pundit”. Television broadcasts that present the same, tired stuff
generated by news releases and the police. Daily newspapers that daily have a
“corrections” column? (What’s up with that?)

But, those are the ordinary, easy targets. Nowadays before the national election, there is so much more, not to mention the credit crunch or whatever it is. Or, at least there could be so much more. There could be stories that would grip attention, eyes, and ears, if reporters and their editors would look beyond the obvious.

I’ll be the first to say that there are certainly some stories that scream, “Cover me!” And, well, “spot news” is one of them. The reporters and photographers arrive at the scene and everyone gets the same stuff. It is, indeed, harder now to find a different angle on a spot news story, just as it is equally has hard for a journalist to get a jump on a story from a “stump speech” campaign event. It is harder, but it is NOT impossible.

I see jewels found among the weeds now and then. A reporter or a photographer who is just a little more observant, a little more curious, a little more persistent than his or her peers. And, you know what? The readers, viewers, and listeners do notice the difference, especially when they’re standing around the water cooler later in the day. One says, “Guess what I saw? Blah, blah, blah…”

The colleague says, “Really, where’d you see that."

“On such-and-such media’s web site,” They might say. Or it could have been on the noon news. The point is that one news outlet had it, and the others didn’t. After the water cooler, the computer is the next stop. And, it was a TV station’s site, and people may make an appointment for 5, 6 and 10 o’clock. It can happen.

As media revenues tank, the competition is more feverish than ever. (Oh yeah, there’s that KXAN TV. Time-Warner stand-off. There’s SO much more. A later blog.) Some TV stations are forced to compete, trying to do more with less (A later blog.). Other stations don’t seem to know how to make the most of what they have (A later blog). We’re headed into the fall sweeps period, and it’s going to get worse. Believe me. There is SO much. Am I becoming redundant?

I’m serious about this blog examining Austin news media and the state of journalism in general. I welcome your support, your comments directly to me at, and I encourage your posts to the site. Tell your friends. I hope in many ways, this becomes your site, a place where you can air out what’s on the air, or should be on the air, or shouldn’t be on the air. I think I have it set up for an RSS feed.

This is the first blast. We’ll see where it goes from here. Anyway, I feel better now.
(c) Jim McNabb


Flyjax said...


Congratulations on your latest venture!

My, my, you DO get around. I'm exhausted just thinking about all you do.

Although I'm nowhere near Austin, I still think I'm plugged in enough to understand in general terms what's going on.

I'm looking forward to your "bloggage," as it were. Besides, SOMEBODY's gotta tell'em not to sit next to the bear.

Jannie Funster said...

Do you think the Internet has largely cut into t.v. ratings?

Susan said...

Congratulation on your latest adventure, McNabb! Great to see it--and hear you!

Tricia said...

Cool idea. Look forward to reading your views.