Wednesday, December 31, 2008

TWC Clock is Ticking Toward Midnight


As we tick closer to midnight this New Year's Eve, it's looking more and more like there will be no more Viacom-produced programs on Time Warner Cable here or anywhere. As usual, with TWC it's all about money.

Viacom issued a statement this afternoon:

Statement From Viacom Regarding Renewal Negotiations With
Time Warner
NEW YORK, Dec. 31 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Time
Warner Cable's continued rhetoric and posturing is disappointing and
unproductive. We have made it clear that we welcome a credible and
meaningful discussion that respects our viewers and the value our
programming brings to Time Warner Cable. We remain
ready and willing to engage. It's time for serious talk - before the viewers
become the victims.

"Viewers become the victims." Hmmmm. They must be reading "NewsMcNabb". Of course, TWC says this empasse isn't their fault. Here's their official statement:

Statement from Glenn Britt, President & CEO, Time Warner Cable Re: Viacom’s threats to pull MTV Networks from Time Warner Cable customers, December 31, 2008

Christmas is over, but Viacom is still playing Scrooge, threatening to pull its MTV Networks off of Time Warner Cable at midnight tonight unless we ask our customers to pay exorbitant price increases. Viacom claims their demands equate to “pennies,” but that is misleading and insulting to our customers, from whom Viacom is trying to extort another $39 million annually – on top of the hundreds of millions of dollars our customers already pay to Viacom each year. That doesn’t sound like pennies to us.
Demanding that our customers pay so much more for these few networks would be
unreasonable in any economy, but it is particularly outrageous given the current
economic conditions.

We sympathize with the fact that Viacom’s advertising business is suffering and that their networks’ ratings have largely been declining. However, we can’t abide their attempt to make up their lost revenue on the backs of Time Warner Cable customers. We’ve negotiated in good faith and made several concessions to help reach a fair and reasonable deal. We’ve asked for an extension of the current contract while we continue to negotiate. But Viacom doesn’t appear to be interested in what’s fair and reasonable for American consumers – they’re only interested in propping up their sagging bottom
line, and they are poised to pull their networks from Time Warner Cable
customers tonight.

Huge price increases like what Viacom is demanding threaten the ultimate value of cable TV. Time Warner Cable is a retail distributor of products we purchase wholesale. Wholesale programming costs are rising dramatically every year, and, like all multichannel distributors, we have to pass on at least a portion of the increases to our customers. Viacom’s MTV Networks are just a few of the hundreds of channels we carry. If every channel demanded huge, double-digit increases like what Viacom is trying to force our customers to pay, it would be impossible to keep the price of cable reasonable for our customers.

Time Warner Cable has reached hundreds of distribution agreements with other networks. In fact, we currently have deals with every other cable programmer. The negotiations aren’t always easy, but we work hard to reach agreements that are fair to our customers and to both businesses.

We hope Viacom won’t pull the MTV Networks from Time Warner Cable customers, and we’ll negotiate up to the last possible minute and beyond. But ultimately, it is
Viacom’s decision. We implore them to join with us to reach a fair resolution or
grant an extension, and we hope they won’t carry through with their threat to
take their networks away from our customers tonight.

Some of the cable Networks affected: Comedy Central, MTV, MTV2, MTV, Nickelodeon, Nick Too, Nicktoons, Noggin, Palladia HD, Spike, TV Land, VH1, VH1 Classic, Comedy Central, and BET.

(Suddenly, Blogger won't let me change formats. Sorry)

The Austin American-Statesman headlined the story in their afternoon
update, and there is a host of angry posts below it. Feel free to compose one here and copy it on the newspaper's page. To borrow the famous line from that great TV movie "Network", "I'm mad as hell, I'm not going to take it any more!" So, go to your windows, doors, and computers and start shouting your disdain for these robber barrons.

(C) Jim McNabb


Won't Get Fooled Again

The Continuing Saga of Time Warner Cable

Time Warner Cable is at it again. As usual, it is someone else’s fault, not theirs. If TWC can’t make a deal with media giant Viacom by midnight tonight, Viacom may pull its programming from the Time Warner, the nation’s second-largest cable provider. Is it right to call them a “provider” when they don’t or won’t “provide”?

Haven’t we heard this somewhere before? It seems like the third verse starting with LIN TV stations (KXAN and KNVA locally), continuing with the NFL network (Oh, there is a bowl game on NFL Network tonight which is unavailable to Time Warner subscribers.) Now, it is Viacom.

Negotiations are stalled. New Years Day, viewers looking for Nickelodeon, MTV, VH-1, Comedy Central, Spike, TV Land and BET will be out of luck, like those who would watch tonight’s bowl game. TWC wants it their way or no way. And, what do they want? More money, of course.

Again, who loses? The viewers/users/consumers of TWC. Unfortunately, there are few, if any viable alternatives for those of us who subscribe. Many of the subscribers, this writer included, opted for the “bundle” getting TV, Internet, and telephone service at a set-in-stone rate for two years. It is difficult to pull the plug when the wires are tangled. So, we accept the fact that we being screwed.

The viewers/users/consumers of TWC cable are getting less and less of what they paid for. When we signed up, we assumed (please see the earlier post on “Never Assume”) that we would get what we saw on their web site. I should have known better. When our two-year bundling contract concludes, I only hope that there are other good options like Grande or AT&T U-verse (despite its bad press). What is that old song by The Who? “Won’t Get Fooled Again.”

Oh yeah. Unless something happens in the negotiations, unless public opinion or something sways all of these greedy guys, Viacom included, the plug may be pulled at midnight tonight. Happy New Year!

© Jim McNabb

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Merry ... Happy ...

Do Local Journalists Believe in Christmas?

Despite the best (or perhaps the worst) efforts of Bill O’Reilly, the Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays debate has not bubbled over this year. Maybe it is a result of the times: The wars, the economy, personal issues. It just has not been an issue. According to Rasmussen Reports (, “… [W]hen consumers do their shopping, 69% prefer to be greeted with "Merry Christmas" rather than "Happy Holidays.”

The O’Reillys of this world might refer to the United States as a “Christian Nation”. It is true that many of the protestant founders of this country fled here to escape religious persecution. Nowadays, according to Rasmussen Reports, “Forty-four percent (44%) of America's adults attend Christian church services at least twice a month, and 92% of these regular churchgoers believe the God of the Bible is the one true God.”

Research and experience tells me that media mirrors society. Certainly, Ike, Katrina, Rita, the Jarrell tornado, and the Memorial Day floods may shake a journalists’ faith. I should say here that my beliefs are well documented, thanks to Eileen Flynn at the Austin American-Statesman. She asked me to contribute to their “faith page” February 24, 2007. If you want to know more, go to and click “Faith” on the menu.

In that essay, I cited the ancient prophet Elijah standing on a mountain, witnessing the destructive winds, earthquakes, and fires of life, but Elijah knew that God was not in them. Elijah was witnessing news. He did encounter a force beyond himself, the “Other.” Elijah left the cave where he had been hiding with a plan. That plan had to do with his world. Perhaps Elijah gained perspective and knowledge beyond himself.

Many others, more than 2,000 years ago encountered the “Good News” or gospel of grace and justice through a man, called God’s son, Jesus. These followers of Jesus also gained perspective and knowledge beyond themselves. They were changed people. They were still dealers in purple cloth, tent makers, and even writers, but they had grasped something else that could make them whole. In this fragmented age, we all need to be whole too. So, Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Jesus, the Christ (or the anointed which roughly means chosen, set apart and made holy).

Looking online at Austin media sites, readers can find the word “Christmas” although “holidays” seem to be written more often. Does this mean anything? Probably not. Are Austin web writers making an effort to be politically correct where possible? Possibly. Does this say anything about the news writers’ own personal believes or lack of beliefs? Probably not.

Knowing newsrooms over the decades, contrary to the preconceived notions of many in the audience, I can report that journalists do mirror society. Newsrooms here in Austin, one of the more pluralistic cities in the nation, are filled with believers. And, yes, their close-to-the-heart beliefs may provide an ethical and moral compass in their decision-making process. Does faith color the news? Does faith “slant”, “skew”, or “spin” the local news? I do not think so.

Every journalist may have formed an opinion about a political issue or candidate, but professionalism and dedication to truth-telling will win out. The same can be said of a journalist’s faith. Further, as I’ve noted in other blogs, the news goes through a thorough vetting process, and any possible prejudices are weeded out.

And in Austin, just as in society as a whole, there is a respect for another’s faith. It makes me joyous when I hear colleagues, regardless of their personal faiths, express with sincerity, “Happy Holidays” or “Merry Christmas.” It is more than just a throw-away phrase said this time of the year. They really mean it. It comes from the heart.

My wish for you: Merry Christmas and highest hopes for 2009!

© Jim McNabb

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Halcyon Days Remembered

Halcyon Days Remembered

Once Upon a Time …

For a little while, a long time ago—about 25 years, actually—there were halcyon days, salad days at one of Austin’s TV stations. With great vision, courage, and no a small amount of money invested, KVUE TV enjoyed huge ratings and happy people in the 1980s. The news department led by Russ Stockton, who died within the past year, was largely unfettered, free to pursue any story almost anywhere, so long as it was about Central Texas. And, we flourished. Further, we became family.

As in all families, some people move on. But the amazing thing about this special group is that while some notables such as anchors Margie Reedy and Kate Kelly moved on, most of us are still here in Austin 25 years later. Many are still in “the business” like Robert Hadlock at KXAN and Judy Maggio Ron Oliveira at KEYE. Several other photojournalists are still here too. They are freelancers in business for themselves. Others of us stay connected because we are public information officers, like Dick Ellis with Leander ISD and Geoff Wool with the state, educators or public relations people. Michelle Cheney (Michelle Martin when she anchored) is an account manager for KLBJ Radio.

December 15th, more than 30 of us gathered for lunch. The stated reason was that one of the “family members”, photojournalist Kenny Kaplan, was coming to town after shooting the Cowboys/Giants game Sunday. Kaplan lives in New York now. But, the larger purpose may have been to catch up, spent time. Similar gatherings have happened a few other times over the years. But it came home to me how special this time was and, yes, how special Austin is.

First of all, although Austin is the 49th market, it has been and is a destination. It is not a way station where people spend time before jumping to a bigger market. Austin is always on various lists for being one of the best cities in the nation. So, it is a small wonder why people come here, and they stay here. I didn’t know these things when I came here in 1970 planning to spend five years and leave. I’m a quick study.

So, while I’m talking about KVUE in the 1980s, the same could be said of other stations, I am sure. I know the people who were with me at KXAN in the 1990s feel the same. It’s about being in the same place at the same time and together doing worthwhile and even extraordinary things together. The accomplishment of these goals (In the case of television news, being #1) drew the group even closer together. Current KVUE news director Frank Volpecilla also joined us for lunch, and thus, joined the family Monday celebrating “… the people; the place; the times hung in memory.”

It also came home to me how the business is changing. These relationships may not happen again. Why? Mass communications is changing, fragmenting, and reinventing. Across the nation, experienced anchors, are walking away from the desk. Some, baby boomers, are retiring. Others are gone when their contracts are not renewed. This shared history is vanishing from the newsrooms. It is not just the highly-paid anchors who are being supplanted by younger and lower-paid people. It is happening at all levels as owners seek ways to cut costs. Entire photography staffs are being shown the door as stations choose to use freelancers. Freelancers don’t get benefits, you know.

While this old model is broken, a new model may rise up to take its place, creating a new ethos. But for a couple of hours, about 30 of us laughed and hugged and talked about “the good old days.” They were good.

[1] John Holmes, Part VII, “Map of My Country”.
Here’s a link:

Saturday, December 13, 2008

"Citizen Journalism" Reax


Morse Code was big when I was a kid, so I learned it. No, I wasn’t around when Samuel Morse created it. It would have been “new media” at the turn of the 20th Century. By the middle of the century, if not before, kids discovered it to tap out messages during class to other kids who knew the code. It wasn’t “new media” but was it “social media”? Arguably, yes—right up there with the Twitter of today.

If the citizens of Illinois knew it, they might have been tapping S-O-S this past week. (That’s all that I remember in Morse Code now.) But, does that tapping, Twittering, and texting make those who spread the word of the arrest of Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich journalists, so-called “citizen journalists”? So said several web sites this week again as journalism think-tanks touted the new media and encouraged traditional journalists to try it.

Try it. You’ll like it, they say. The previous post on “citizen journalism” generated immediate response from several news managers in Central Texas.

“There is no such thing as citizen journalism. It’s an oxymoron,” declared Frank Volpicella, KVUE-TV news director. “Maybe ‘citizen eyewitness’ is more like it. Shooting video of a spot news event does not make a citizen a journalist, anymore than me putting a band aid on my cut finger makes me a surgeon.”

Volpicella’s comments were echoed by others.

“I am reluctant to call these contributors, ‘Journalists’.” Says Bruce Whiteaker, former news director of KXAN TV. “I, too am more than a little snobbish about the BIG ‘J’ [Journalism],” Whiteaker continued.” “I enjoyed a 33-year career as a Broadcast Journalist. I EARNED that title, not by snapping pictures of the latest police chase, hotel fire or hail storm, but by devoting years to formal training in school and on the job.”

Suzanne Black, news director at KEYE TV sees potential for citizen participation in the process, but not the final product. “I love the idea of having viewers participate in the news process. In a time when television news numbers are slumping, it gives viewers ownership over the content and therefore a reason to watch,” Black says. “The danger, though, is citizen journalists are not trained in or bound to the code of ethics we follow. And while there is a vetting process in newsrooms to verify whether content is truthful and without bias, certain dangers exist.”

“Truthiness” is the term applied by Whiteaker. “We have to go with what we know to be accurate,” He says. “And that's where the vetting of the daily iPhone contributors is important. Who is to say that some of that footage of the Kevin Brown incident wasn't somehow ‘staged’ for dramatic purposes? I seem to recall video from Austin PD of a ‘re-enactment’ of an officer scuffling with a suspect who was shot during the melee. [The City of Austin settled a civil suit broad by the family of Daniel Rocha this past week.] And the legitimate news organizations labeled it as ‘re-enactment’ or ‘dramatization’. But the daily contribution of the average Joe on the street with a cell phone might not get that important treatment.

“I've concluded a better moniker is ‘citizen media’," says Ray Niekamp, assistant professor in journalism at Texas State University in San Marcos. “They don't do journalism, at least in terms of fact-checking, sourcing, transparency. In this Internet age, people are comfortable with oddball user names online. But when I see video from FunkyVideoMan5, I'm not going to blindly trust the information I'm getting there.”

So, how will the future handle this content contributed by ordinary citizens (or perhaps extraordinary citizens)? “Some commentators say the future of mainstream media will be as ‘organizers,’ taking all the stuff citizen journalists submit and putting it together in such a way that it makes sense,” Niekamp says. “But organizing has always been one function of the media. Now, they just have much more stuff to sort through.”

“Citizen journalism seems to be at its best when tackling a community issue that is missed or ignored by the mainstream media. That's when they gather information, check facts, and cite sources--and contribute something of value,” Niekamp continued. “But in cases of breaking news, citizen journalists are woefully unprepared to provide credible information.”

Morse Code gave way to voice transmissions on radio, but it didn’t die away. Morse Code still has usefulness. Users/consumers of information have always found ways to adapt to new media, while holding on to the good parts of “old media”. The traditional media models may not fit with the tastes of today’s consumers/users. No doubt the traditional media must modify their models or die away. Tuesday, the Detroit Free Press may announce that it is cutting back its daily home distribution, encouraging its readers to go online. I don’t think that is adapting. I think that is throwing in the traditional towel because of the economy.

“Bottom line, our business is changing and the burden is on us to find a way to use the content appropriately, without compromising the ideals of this profession.” concludes Suzanne Black. Black is acutely aware of the economic pressures if for no other reason, KEYE TV is owned by Cerberus, the same Cerberus that owns Chrysler.
So, we’re back to tapping S-O-S on the table top or reading the latest news in Jim’s life from Plaxo: “Jim is working on musical Christmas gifts."

© Jim McNabb, 2008

Saturday, December 6, 2008

They Wear White Hats

One of the Good Guys

Hays County Sheriff Allen Bridges was one of the good guys. Sheriff Allen Bridges collapsed and died at his home in the early morning hours of December 6th. He died quietly, suddenly alone. He was 62. With him died a philosophy of openness and honesty. He’d just come from a Brown Santa event. He was a good guy.

I first knew Allen Bridges when he was an Austin Police Officer. He was a good guy then too. He while enforcing the law, he had had evenness and equality. He reached out to the community. Surely, that is why he gravitated to community policing before it was a catch-phrase. He was a South Austinite. Perhaps that contributed to my high opinion of him. But, he also treated the media well, speaking calmly and accurately as the circumstances permitted. He was a good guy. He did a career with the Austin Police Department, but public service didn’t end there. Soon, he hooked up with the Hays County Sheriff’s Office when Don Montague was Sheriff. He’s a good guy too. These kinds of people seem to gravitate.

Sheriff Don Montague would talk to the media once you earned his trust. Once he trusted you, you might be allowed to go along on a drug bust—something that doesn’t happen much nowadays. I always knew that I was OK when I showed up at a crime scene and Sheriff Montague was there.

As PIO Allen Bridges did infuriate a few journalists, because he didn’t respond well to routine “beat checks”, but when the situations warranted, PIO and later Sheriff Bridges was always available.

I used to teach a continuing education seminar for the Texas Sheriffs’ Association on law enforcement/media relations. I believe that most of those present tolerated me, because it was a required part of their continuing education. Most of them, I am confident, went back home and handled things they way things had always been handled. Media was viewed with contempt and kept at arm’s length. I always told them that if a big story happened in their county, we would show up, and we wouldn’t go away until we’d told the story. Harruph! Most of them said. No one sat at my table at lunch on purpose.

These sheriffs—and there are many, many of them—need to take a look at Sheriff Bridges, one of the good guys. At the very least, they ought to do what Hays County did with Bridges’ appointment as PIO. In all fairness, John Foster fills that role well in Williamson County. What is almost amazing about John Foster, like Allen Bridges did, is that he returns phone calls!

Most sheriffs, however, hold on to information,saying only they will dispense it to the media, if at all. Information is power, after all. Their minions follow their orders beyond what is required. A reporter calls and asks about the brush fire, homicide, whatever, and the person on the phone says that only the sheriff will talk to the media, and where is the sheriff? He or she is at the scene. Where is the scene? “I can’t tell you that,” they say.

Curtis Weeks was one of the first Central Texas sheriff’s PIOs as far as I know. He volunteered, just started answering phones, for former Travis County Sheriff Doyne Bailey. Weeks had been a cinematographer for CBS and a free lance photographer for Austin TV stations in the 1970s. It may be that Curtis told the media too much at times, but it didn’t hurt anything. Besides, he was a loveable guy. He was one of the good guys.

The Travis County Sheriff’s Office does have an official public information officer. The successor to Curtis Weeks is Roger Wade. Further, Sheriff Greg Hamilton also encourages his supervisors to speak freely to the media.

Public Affairs Officer Eric Poteet of the Round Rock Police Department also is a good example. Officer Poteet may not provide information “on demand”, but he does say why if he can’t. Saying why is important. It’s being accessible, but it isn’t slamming the door on information like so many county sheriffs offices tend to do. Eric Poteet is one of the good guys.

There are lots of good guys in law enforcement. I haven’t scratched the surface. Over the years and even now there are genuine good guys and girls at the Austin Police Department, the Department of Public Safety and beyond. A reporter may have to earn their trust, but that is expected.

It is, however, important to notice when we lose a good guy. Sheriff Allen Bridges was a good guy.

© Jim McNabb, 2008

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

November Sweeps 2008

Something for Everyone

The November Nielsen TV Sweeps ended right before Thanksgiving, and the results give all of the stations some reasons to be grateful. Nielsen and station researchers are still sorting out the demographics, but the basic results are somewhat surprising, but perhaps expected.

One might have thought that KXAN TV’s absence from Time-Warner Cable would have hurt their ratings—out of sight and out of mind for Central Texas news viewers. One might have thought that KVUE TV might be at a disadvantage with only one anchor on the set. One might have thought that KEYE TV would have taken a leap forward with news viewers supposedly sampling them while KXAN was off the cable and KVUE was in flux. What is true apparently is that Austin news viewers still want one thing, and it doesn’t matter who delivers it—The viewers/users/consumers of TV news want content.

Here is how the November, 2008 ratings are sorting out:

Morning—Fox wins early and KXAN wins late. KVUE comes in third both hours.
Midday—KVUE wins.
5 p.m.—KVUE wins.
6 p.m.—It is a virtual tie between KXAN and KVUE. If you round up the ratings to a 6 rating and 11 share. KXAN comes out on top in raw numbers including KXAM viewers in the Hill Country. KXAM TV is a full-power station operated by KXAN broadcasting from a tower near Llano. Nielsen adds those viewers to the ratings and calls them KXAN+. Naturally, Michael Fabac, KXAN news director, says his station is #1 at 6. “At 6 p.m. we split with KXAN,” says Frank Volpicella, KVUE news director. KEYE was a distant third.
10 p.m.—No splitting hairs here. KVUE is still #1. KEYE comes in a strong second. “It was no 3-way tie. There was definitely more of a spread,” says Suzanne Black, KEYE news director. KEYE considers the late news their newscast of record.

Over all, KVUE is still the #1 station even with only one prime time anchor on the set, although it was "very competitive," quoting Volpicella. Tyler Sieswerda will be joined by his new co-anchor Terri Gruca next Monday, Volpicella says. KXAN fared well winning 6 a.m. and 6 p.m (technically). KEYE can celebrate a clean #2 at 10 p.m.

The station researchers will sift the data determining their strong points and the all-important desired demographics. The ability of a station to reach a target audience is what sales reps want. In this economy those demographics become more important than ever.

One way to look at depressed advertising is the possibility that viewers may be seeing more content, but “Doing More With Less” was the topic of an earlier post.

© Jim McNabb, 2008

Monday, December 1, 2008

Is It the Truth?

Citizen Journalism?

For months, I have been contemplating a post about what people are calling “Citizen Journalism.” I held off, wanting to chew on it a little longer. The criminal carnage in Mumbai, India this past week created a new surge in posts, comments, stories, columns, and opinions about “citizen journalism” facilitated by “social media” such as Twitter.

I cannot deny the role of ordinary citizens who gave the world the first reports of what was happening at the Taj Hotel. There were pictures and video too. While all networks, save CNN and, eventually Fox of all media, seemed to have their heads somewhere else on the United States’ holiday weekend, the murderers were having their way on the other side of the world with possible international consequences. No Thanksgiving there.

So called “citizen journalism” is being hailed as a major component of the future of televised/telecast/broadcast/streamed news. The old media, of course, wants to incorporate the new media. It has always been that way. Further, the citizen users/consumers/viewers are constantly adopting and adapting, seeing usefulness in the new tools at their disposal. Shoot. One of the reasons I acquired the cell phone that I carry is that it has a real camera and it will shoot and send pictures and video. I admit it. Newsrooms always wish for pictures—any pictures, particularly if they are of startling events half of the way around the world or of the mob scene moments before the death of Kevin Brown after his confrontation with Austin Police officers.

In the Internet-enabled age, people have camera phones and digital video cameras everywhere. News media cannot be everywhere. But, are we ready to invite citizens into the newsroom? Are those pictures always worth a thousand words? Are we seeing and hearing what we think we are seeing and hearing? Do these images and sounds represent the “truth”. Sometimes. Maybe often.

The consuming flames at the Texas Governors’ Mansion on You Tube are most likely shots of the actual event. If professional media were not there with cameras, (and some were not when the mansion was ablaze) the media may gladly take the next best thing. Yes, pictures of hail stones sitting next to golf balls may well be hail stones the size of golf balls.

The media, however, must be circumspect and, perhaps, a little cynical. Journalists are taught to “qualify” their sources, making sure they really know what they are talking about. That need to verify also extends to the so-called citizen journalists and the content they may offer.

OK. I’ll say it. I’ll stop beating around the bush: Citizen journalism is not really journalism. Call me a snob, but I think it takes education, experience, and ethics to do this job right. Citizens may make a valuable content contribution. However, it is the legal and ethical use of information, images, and sound that requires seasoned, experienced professionals.

Yes, almost anything goes on the Internet, but it is not necessarily journalism. You Tube has independently-produced and home-produced pictures readily available, but is this journalism? I know people who take what they see on You Tube and call it “gospel”, but is it journalism. No. No, I don’t think so. On You Tube, and you can find a powerful two-part documentary on police violence in Austin. Producers relied on police cruiser video and their own crowd shots. It may be a documentary, but it is not day-to-day journalism.

So, what is a professional journalist to do when someone sends in email with video or pictures? (This has always bothered me.) Should these images be slapped online, on the air, or on a printed page? All commercial media want to be first. All media should stop, take a breath, ask whether we’ve become You Tube, and then qualify the source. Then, maybe, media may decide to use the content. There should be protocol in place for instances such as this applicable even in the cases of “breaking news”. Will some other medium or station be the first with the story? Maybe. Will that story be the truth? Maybe. Maybe not.

© Jim McNabb, 2008