"Future Shock"

I am encouraged by the news of advances in technology. Technology that promises to pull broadcast, and print media out of a slump. At this time good news about the media is welcomed because of layoffs, and budget cuts in our industry. We have focused on what doesn't work especially with local TV news, now lets look at a few experiments that may point to the future.

Nightline, the ABC news program is launching a half-hour web show, NightTline. According to the ABC promotions people, the show expands the program's relationship with Twitter. It allows the NightTline anchor to pull up Tweets from viewers in real-time using touch screen technology. At the same time the anchor can solicit the show's more than 400,000 viewers for help with questions. ABC says that while Twitter is still a nascent technology, "many are experimenting with new ways to use the service for marketing purposes or to encourage user feedback as Nightline is doing." NightTline wil debut Today Wednesday, May 13 at 12:30pm eastern time, and will be anchored by Terry Moran. The show's topic: "Is torture ever acceptable?" ABCnews.com/nightline

Over at CNN, Jonathan Klien president of CNN/US says the network needs to interact more with its viewers. Klien said audience particpation in last year's debates, and this year's coverage of Obama's 100 days in office are examples. In those instances CNN invited comments from focus groups, and the general audience. Kline summed it up by saying, "We're really a marketplace." Kline added "As we are sharing more data, we invited the audience to share with us." Klein said this interaction and inclusiveness will be essential as news networks, newspapers, magazines, and other media sources battle to survive the global recession.

Speaking of Change, PBS is revamping it's nightly news format. Producers are working to return to a two-anchor format, which it had until 1995, when Robert MacNeil left. Linda Winslow, the executive producer of “NewsHour,” said the changes will be made for a simple reason: “What we were trying to accomplish was a more engaging program.” September the program will be retitled “PBS NewsHour.” "Engagement," it seems to be a common thread among networks, and the people they serve.

Finally, Billionaire media mogul Rupert Murdoch has indicated that he will begin charging for access to News Corporation's newspaper websites within the next 12 months. This includes The New York Post, and the Wall Street Journal, and many other international papers. This marks something of a turnaround in Mr Murdoch's thinking on how newspapers should approach the internet. Two years ago he predicted that advertising could sustain free news websites. NewsCorp is drowning in red ink, and Murdoch is leading the way to a pay service for using his content. He added: "Someone has got to get this started or newspapers will go away." Whether its broadcast media, print, or online journalism, this business is changing forever.

Someone commented to one of my past blogs that journalism schools should focus on recruiting software developers. Northwestern University is offering free scholorships to these coders. The hope is these developers could hone their journalism skills while developing a new business model. More newspapers are shifiting their focus from print to the web. Management increasingly feels pressure to invest in talented coders. Send in your ideas, we want to act as a clearinghouse for any, and all ideas related to the media especially local news.

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