Surprising Detonation: Jeff Jarvis Explodes At Keynote

Everything seemed to be going along well Dec. 16 during Jeff Jarvis’ keynote at TVNewsCheck‘s NewsTECHForum in New York City.

Jeff Jarvis

Jeff Jarvis, CUNY journalism professor, says local TV news now has a chance to remake itself.

Jarvis, the director of the Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism at the City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism, challenged those in attendance to rethink what TV news can do.

There’s an opportunity right now to change TV news, Jarvis said, because the Internet is beginning to pose a threat as more young people choose to go online to get informed.

Those responsible for the business side of TV news are more likely now to be open to new ideas and experimentation in an effort to engage younger viewers and preserve audience, he said.

Far from a detriment, the Internet can offer TV news a new appeal by giving a voice to the voiceless, he said. Savvy broadcasters have the chance to tap into the presence of “many eyes and many ears on the world” via the Internet, he said.

In so doing, they can give a voice to those who otherwise would have no way to report what they are witnessing on TV.

While Jarvis is an engaging speaker, things got weird during the Q&A that followed the keynote.

Someone in the audience asked Jarvis if his suggestion of giving voice to the public via the Internet doesn’t in effect elevate people who “stand on a soapbox with no checks, no balances, no second sourcing, no what we would call block-and-tackle news reporting, no credibility and no — quite honestly — accountability” to the same level as journalists working for the organizations represented in the room, and how could he justify doing so.

(Note: This question starts at about 43:09 into this audio recording of the keynote.)

Simply put, Jarvis exploded, launching into a diatribe but not really answering the question.

I frankly was a little embarrassed and nonplussed by how he chose to react to what I believe was a legitimate question.

Listen for yourself and let me know what you think. Aside from that cringeworthy episode, I thought Jarvis made some insightful observations. The keynote is worth a listen.


Localism Recap For Dec. 19

Despite Christmas bearing down upon all of us, TV stations continue to submit examples of their commitment to localism.

Even though the holidays begin next week, please keep your submissions coming about what your station is doing to better serve the needs of your viewers through campaigns, special on-air projects, fundraising drives, PSAs, local documentaries, etc.

If this is the first time you’ve come up my localism campaign, get the background on why this began and details on how to submit by reading “Help Shine A Light On TV Localism.”

This week, there was even a submission from a broadcaster in Canada about its efforts to help viewers in the Toronto area. Congratulations to our good neighbors to the north!

If you are like some people who approached me at this week’s NewsTECHForum in New York City to commend this localism effort but wonder why it’s in a blog about technology, check out this blog post.

Thanks to everyone and keep up the great work — and the submissions. I will be highlighting these every Friday till the 2015 NAB Show in April.

KTVO Feed The Heartland

KTVO has raised $22,000 for two area food banks this year with special events.

Kirksville, Mo., & Ottumwa, Iowa
Fundraising for pair of food banks
Continuing effort beginning in 2012
News coverage to help raise funds for the two food banks in our DMA, aggressive PSA schedule, special Web section went live in September.

In Kirksville alone, the campaign grossed $22,000 this year through special events. Donations are accepted online at the station’s Feed the Heartland campaign Web page.

Palm Beach County, Florida
CBS12’s Project Thanksgiving
Provide meals to the 200,000 families who are food insecure in Palm Beach County during the holiday season. This is done through asking for donations, used in their entirety to buy gift cards for those families in need.

Through a heavy digital push and a special Tweet-up from the food bank, WPEC not only received extra help from companies (100 turkeys delivered and dessert donations), but the station was able to shatter all previous fundraising records with an extraordinary $90,000.

WWJ and WKBD Autism Walk

The CW50 Street Team was on-site at Ford Field in Detroit to talk with viewers and capture the Walk Now For Autism Speaks event.

Oct. 12
Autism Walk
WWJ-TV and WKBD-TV served as the official television partners of the annual Walk Now For Autism Speaks. 2014 marked the event’s first year at Ford Field. The stations’ chief meteorologist Jim Madaus co-emceed the event.

The effort is chronicled in a short story and Web video.

KSBW and Central Coast ABC
Santa Cruz, Salinas and Monterey, Calif.
Dec. 12
Broadcast fundraiser
The 28th annual KSBW Share Your Holiday one-day broadcast-fundraiser took in a record-breaking $161,781 in cash donations to help local area residents in need.

WRAL Coast for the Children

WRAL’s Coats for the Children telethon collected more than $87,000 this year during a one-day telethon.

Raleigh-Durham-Fayetteville, N.C.
Dec 12
WRAL’s 26th Annual Coats for the Children Telethon
Coats for the Children is a six-week community service project in partnership with the Salvation Army, collecting coats, money and toys for families in need. 

Since 1989, WRAL has collected more than 150,000 coats and raised $1.5 million to provide winter clothing for Salvation Army families.

The one-day telethon raised $87,600. A total of 100,000 households watched the two half-hour specials. Donations continue through Dec. 31.

The station has posted more online about the effort.

CIII – Global News, Toronto
Greater Toronto, Canada, area
Dec. 4
Love toy drive
In partnership with the Toronto Fire Fighters, Global News invited the public to its fifth annual Toy Drive Live event at the Shops at Don Mills in Toronto.

Thousands turned up with a toy for the toy drive, enjoyed a variety of family-friendly activities and were a part of the live broadcast.

Cash donations were up 30% from the previous year. Additionally, from five central coast locations, 10,704 pounds of food were collected and 9,928 new toys were donated for less-fortunate children.

Localism & Technology — What’s The Connection?

This week I was in New York City conducting panel sessions at the TVNewsCheck and SVG NewsTECHForum, tweeting about the event and writing recaps of some of the panels.

I was approached by a few people at the event who generally commended the effort I launched at the beginning of the month to shine a spotlight on TV localism.

But they shared a common question: What is the connection to technology? After all, this blog is supposed to give me a forum to comment on technology-related developments.

Some thought that maybe the connection had to do with the production gear being used to shoot station localism endeavors. Others could see no apparent technology connection at all.

Let me be very clear about the connection. The wireless industry, its trade associations and a few others want the UHF spectrum broadcasters use today to end up in the hands of companies like Verizon Wireless, AT&T and others.

Unlike TV broadcasters who have a license to transmit television over the air — this is the technology connection — on the public’s airwaves as long as they serve the public interest, convenience and necessity, the wireless providers want to charge the public to offer their services on those same airwaves.

No one could have stated it more clearly than Sinclair Broadcast Group’s Mark Aitken this fall at the SMPTE conference in Hollywood, Calif. Aitken noted that TV broadcasters are at war — whether they realize it or not — with the wireless industry and over-the-top content providers.

As Dennis Wharton, EVP of communications at NAB, reported in his blog that prompted me to launch my effort to document TV broadcast localism, there is a perception — or perhaps a talking point — among some in Washington, D.C., that television localism is “a myth.”

You and I both, know better than that. My effort to shine a light on localism is simply a way to document how TV stations consistently serve the interests of their communities and at the same time take a single arrow out of the quiver of those who are dismissive of a core strength of over-the-air TV broadcasters, namely service to their communities.


Rich Hajdu Joins Bannister Lake Software

Rich Hajdu has joined Bannister Lake Software as vice president, key accounts, the company said Friday.

Hajdu will be responsible for promoting Bannister Lake graphics content management solutions to broadcast groups, networks, channels and other major accounts.

Prior to joining Bannister Lake Software, Hajdu held positions in sales, operations and marketing management with a number of companies, including Tektronix/Grass Valley, Chyron, Harris, Utah Scientific and Beck TV.

Rodney Hampton Joins Wohler

Rodney Hampton has joined Wohler Technologies as senior sales executive, time technology, for the company’s RadiantGrid line of file-based media transformation products.

Rodney Hampton

Rodney Hampton comes to Wohler Technologies with more than 25 years of experience in technology.

Hampton has more than 25 years of high-tech experience. For more than 15 of those years he managed sales of time technology to broadcast and cable networks, including Discovery, NBC, ABC and CNN.

Prior to joining Wohler, Hampton was director of sales and manufacturing at Prime Image.

Friday Localism Recap For Dec. 12

Once again, I have been blown away by all of the response from stations that are helping to shine a light on the commitment broadcasters around the country are making to take their localism obligation seriously.

This is the second weekly recap of TV localism submissions from readers about what their stations are up to. I will be doing the same type of recap every Friday between now and the 2015 NAB Show in April.

Be sure to keep those submissions coming. To learn about the origin of this campaign and how best to participate, see Help Shine A Light on TV Localism. Since I wrote that piece, I’ve also begun asking for screenshots or images of localism efforts as well as links to video if available.

One last observation, over the past two weeks I have received entries from many different types of stations. If your station is part of big broadcast group, why not forward a link to this blog to your peers at sister stations and ask them to participate?

Thanks for the help and for all of the service you regularly undertake to make your communities better places to live.

KTVW Univision
Dec. 3, 2014
Local free concert to raise canned goods for homeless
Univision Arizona partnered with Los Altos Ranch Market and Phoenix Rescue Mission to bring a free concert to the Valley at Celebrity Theatre. The concert featured regional Mexican superstars La Arrolladora Banda El Limón and El Dasa.

The concert benefited Phoenix Rescue Mission, a faith-based nonprofit organization providing assistance to persons facing hunger and homelessness. Those attending were asked to donate at least one can of food. More than 2,000 canned goods with donaed before prior to the concert.

Beaumont-Port Arthur-Orange, Texas
Dec. 5, 2014
Local toy drive
ToyFeast is a drive through and drop off annual event, hosted by the Morning Show team. The stations collect new toys, non-perishable food items and cash donations at multiple locations throughout the DMA. 2014 marked KFDM’s 20th anniversary of ToyFeast.

This year during the live broadcast, the stations collected $21,500 in cash donations, about 3,000 toys and bikes and $12,000 worth of non-perishable food items to be distributed in Southeast Texas through the Salvation Army.

Sept. 14, 2014
Run/walk-a-thon for prostate cancer
The Eighth Annual ZERO Prostate Cancer Challenge generated $400,000 from the more than 1,200 participants and their sponsors in the 10K, 5K and one-mile run/walk. WJZ’s weekend news anchor Marcus Washington was the emcee. WJZ was one of the inaugural sponsors and has helped to grow the event that has since gone nationwide. Similar events were held in 41 cities this year.

Leading up to the event, numerous free screenings are held in conjunction with prominent African American churches in the Baltimore metro area. WJZ produces a PSA featuring the men of WJZ encouraging other men to get tested.

Memphis and the Mid-South (including west Tennessee, north Mississippi and eastern Arkansas)
Dec. 3, 2014
Food drive
WMC conducted a food drive to stock the Mid-South Food Bank. Monetary donations were also encouraged.

The drive was responsible for collections resulting in 245,000 meals for Mid-Southerners.

Charlotte, N.C., and 22 counties
Nov. 27, 2014
Broadcasting of Novant Health Thanksgiving Day Parade
The Novant Health Thanksgiving Day Parade takes place every year on Thanksgiving Day. This Charlotte tradition has entertained and inspired audiences since 1947.

WBTV has broadcast the parade every year since the 1960s. The parade features dance and choral performances, marching bands from around the region, larger-than-life floats, balloons and favorite characters, including an appearance from Santa Claus!

Medford-Klamath Falls (Southern Oregon and Northern California)
Nov. 24 through Dec. 18, 2014
Community toy drive
Every year, KTVL teams up with local businesses to collect toys to insure every child has a present to unwrap during the holiday season.

Over the past seven years, more than 25,000 new toys have been distributed to families and children in need in the communities the station serves.

Austin and Rochester Minn., Mason City Iowa
Late November through mid-December
Sponsors Toys for Tots campaign with Marine Corps Reserves
KAAL begins the day after Thanksgiving with news and weather team pitches for toy donations in every newscast and on social media and via a PSA campaign on both primary and digital channels. The effort lasts through mid-December.

Sponsorship includes the station’s own initiative to get local schools involved via ABC 6 News Students’ Care Competition. Toys for Tots reaches all of the Minnesota counties served by the station.

Lincoln, Neb.
Dec. 8-14, 2014
Airing free spots for charities
KLKN has aired 38 spots at no charge for the Matt Talbot Kitchen & Outreach and 11 spots at no charge for the Salvation Army during the week of 12/8.

The station is spreading awareness about these non-profits and helping to raise money for those less fortunate during the holiday season.

The Ark-La-Tex (northwestern Louisiana including Shreveport; southwestern Arkansas, including Texarkana; and eastern Texas, including Marshal)
Dec. 3, 2014
Local food drive
The station organized, promoted and ran an 18-hour food drive, simultaneously in five different cities in its DMA, including Shreveport, Bossier City, Texarkana and Natchitoches in La., and Marshall, Texas.

KSLA promoted the drive on all platforms leading up to the event and did extensive live coverage from all locations in every newscast over the course of the day.

More than four tons of food were collected and donated to the food banks serving the areas from which the food was collected.




Rethinking Power In The Field

The time is coming when news directors and station managers may be calling on multimedia journalists, video journalists — or whatever you want to call them — to take their game to the next level.

These one-man-band newsgathering “crews” already do everything from write, report, compose shots and shoot stories to ride audio, edit stories and establish contribution links to the station.

Illan Kramer

University of Toronto Engineering Department post-doctoral fellow Illan Kramer has found a way to coat irregularly shaped objects with minuscule solar cells.

But thanks to a researcher at the University of Toronto Engineering Department, they may one day be able to generate their own electrical power, too.

Electrical and computer engineering researcher Illan Kramer has found an inexpensive way to coat flexible surfaces with a special solar-cell concoction that uses light-sensitive colloidal quantum dots, CQDs.

In theory, a film coated using the process will make affordable solar power generation possible from objects like car roofs, laptop cases or newsgathering accoutrements wrapped with the wonder material.

SPVJs — that’s solar-powered video journalist, which by the way is not to be confused with the SPJ, or the Society of Professional Journalists — could power up their stories — even partially — with the help of Kramer’s process and CQDs.

Kramer, a post-doctoral fellow in The Edward S. Rogers Sr. Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering at the university, demonstrated it is possible to use his coating technique as a way to turn weirdly shaped surfaces into solar powerhouses without breaking the bank.

Solar sensitive CQD could one day be applied to film wrapped onto the roof of a car. That sort of application could produce enough power to light three 100-Watt light bulbs or 24 compact fluorescent lights, the announcement said.

While it appears the material could be coated onto reporters’ rain gear and jackets, it’s unlikely to be helpful while reporting live from blizzards, driving rainstorms and hurricanes.

No word yet from the university on any breakthroughs in personal wind power generators that might help in those conditions.

MTVG To Launch 4K Mobile Unit In 2015

Mobile TV Group, a privately owned company with 20 years of experience providing mobile TV production facilities, will launch what it’s calling “the first 4K/UHD mobile production unit in North America” next year.

The company will demo the new truck at the 2015 NAB Show in Las Vegas, April 11-16.

The new mobile 4K facility is a 52-foot expando and is designed for sports and entertainment production. It will carry up to 14 4K cameras.

A critical component making a 4K truck possible at this time is the 4K/UHD 2/3-inch camera previewed at IBC 2014 in Amsterdam by Grass Valley, the company said.

Among the camera’s characteristics that make it appropriate for mobile 4K production are its ability to accept B4-mount long zoom lenses with no converters, excellent light sensitivity and depth of field needed to keep players in focus while shooting close-ups of game action.

Work began on the vehicle in May 2014. Plans call for it to be ready in mid or late 2015, the company said.

Game Creek To Buy Eight Kayenne K-Frame Switchers

Mobile production truck services provider Game Creek Video has agreed to buy eight new Grass Valley 1080p 3G-capable Kayenne K-Frame production switchers over the next four years.

Grass Valley Switchers can be configured to 192 inputs, 96 outputs and up nine M/Es with six keyers apiece.

The Grass Valley Kayenne K-Frame production switcher can be configured with 192 inputs and 96 outputs.

As part of the deal, Grass Valley also will provide Game Creek Video with training and five years of technical support. Some of the switchers will be installed in existing trucks, while others will become the centerpieces of new mobile production facilities.

Grass Valley’s K-Frame video processing engine delivers multiformat support, including 1080p and 4K video formats. The Kayenne K-Frame can be configured with 192 inputs, 96 outputs and up nine M/Es with six keyers apiece.

SMPTE Documentary To Examine Motion-Imaging Technology

What better way is there for a society devoted to motion picture and TV engineering to raise awareness than to produce a documentary on the history of motion-imaging technology?Moving Images-small

Probably none – so that is exactly what the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers will do in time to celebrate its centennial anniversary in 2016.

SMPTE announced today the film, with the working title of “Moving Images,” will be produced by Randall Dark, with Howard Lukk, former VP production technology at The Walt Disney Studios serving as director on the initial project.

Chris Kenneally, who wrote and directed the documentary “Side by Side,” has completed an initial treatment for the SMPTE documentary.

According to SMPTE, the documentary will begin with the motion picture technology from the turn of the 20th Century and progress through imaging technology developments to modern times. The film will dive into the human element behind the engineering and technological breakthroughs that have propelled motion imaging.