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Posts Tagged ‘broadcast news’

In Praise of New Media: Let Tabloid TV Off the Hook

Watching the back and forth of media critics turning on CNN is better than a tennis match. The cable network got in trouble last week for covering the Zimmerman trial and relegating the events in Egypt to a sidebar. Media critic Jay Rosen was taken to task by Jack Shafer in Reuters who praised CNN’s tabloid television, noting that we shouldn’t blame CNN for finally having a strategy, that tabloid television serves the networks ratings, and also stands in for civics lessons:

 To be fair, the best tabloid TV contains more nourishment than any burger and fries platter, even if it will always be déclassé… Most of what a layman needs to know about police investigations, police interrogations, witness rights, evidentiary standards, jury selection, and courtroom strategy can be found in Grace’s shriekings and those of her commentators. A week’s worth of her Zimmerman coverage probably contains as much civic education as any half-dozen Frontline documentaries on PBS.


I usually stand in Rosen’s corner when he takes journalists to task, but in the case of CNN, I’m leaning the other way. But not because I think tabloid television in any way serves the public. It’s more because I’m excited to watch cable news networks hang themselves. They don’t do breaking news very well anymore — watching the manhunt after the Boston Marathon bombings was painful — so let them play with ‘if it bleeds, it leads.” Yes, CNN used to be something better, maybe, but now it’s not. Read more

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TV News Search and Borrow: Knight Foundation Funds Expansion of Internet Archive Service

The Internet Archive announced this week that it received a $1 million donation from the Knight Foundation to expand it’s TV News Search and Borrow archive of television news clips. As of now, the archive has just over 400,000 clips that the public can access, link to, or borrow a hard copy for a fee.

“We want to make all knowedge available to everyone, forever, and for free. So it’s an ambituous mission,” laughs Roger Macdonald, the archive’s television news project director. 

And it all comes down to closed captioning.

The San Francisco based non-profit records broadcasts, and teases out the news using closed captioning tags and other meta-data. Twenty-four hours after the first airing, the clip is available in the archive. It’s an invaluable resource for journalists, researchers, and documentarians to study what was said, when, where, and in what context. Want to play John Stewart? Go ahead and search clips of ‘Benghazi’ on Fox last week. It can also be used for more noble causes, like tracking political speech. Read more

Guide Hits Uncanny Valley in Search of Personalized News

Do you find yourself reading a lot of news? So much that it seems impossible to get through in a timely manner? Or perhaps you’re interested in getting your news while on the go, in the gym or on a commute. Whatever your ire, it’s difficult to read all of the news you want every day, and it’s difficult to find a news broadcast that has every story you want. That’s the problem that Knight Foundation-backed Miami startup Guide is trying to solve  by providing personalized news broadcasts on demand.

Guide, which will debut on iOS this year, is able to do this by ingesting selected articles on websites and feeding them through a text-to-speech reader. The output is then presented via an “avatar” who anchors a broadcast that seamlessly transitions from one news story to the next. The system also incorporates video and pictures to put together an uncanny news show, and cleverly scrolls comments below in a news-ticker style.

The product is still in stealth mode, but check out an alpha demo of the blog PSFK below.

It’s far from perfect, and the avatar can use plenty of work — while it appears to be human and smoothly transitions not only from sentence to sentence but also from story to story, the lips move unnaturally in a way that makes watching the video uncomfortable. Still, it’s an impressive presentation for a startup that’s yet to even launch in beta, so it will be interesting to see how the software will grow.

What do you think of Guide’s product? Is it something you would use in your news-reading experience? Let us know in the comments.

Tool of the Day: Encyclo


Among the bevy of online news sites, mobile applications, and hyperlocal mashup aggregators, it can be pretty confusing to determine the context of all these tools. Nieman Journalism Lab’s exciting new project seeks to pull these tools together into a resource they call Encyclo.

Think of Encyclo as a wiki-style compilation of the publications and businesses which are driving the evolution of journalism. There are newspapers, magazines, broadcast news organizations, wire services, tech companies, and much more. There are currently over 200 sources in Encyclo, and each entry page includes key links to the organization’s website or social media presences, a few paragraphs describing the organization, and an aggregation of coverage from Nieman Lab and from around the web via Mediagazer.

Users can share entry pages via Facebook or Twitter, and mark them for later consumption using Instapaper. Since this is a new project from Nieman Journalism Lab, users are welcome to contribute to the site and add new entries for their organizations, and give up dates on current entries. Aside from being a great tool for discovering what news organizations are making waves online. While the service has only been online for a few weeks, some are seeing it as a great resource to use for journalism classes.

Visit Encyclo today at