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Alex Weprin

Alex Weprin is a senior editor at Mediabistro. He has written about television for Broadcasting & Cable magazine, Cynopsis: Weekender and other outlets, and is a big New York Mets fan. You can follow him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/alexweprin

How ‘Dateline’ Correspondent Andrea Canning Scored WNBC A Shooting Suspect Exclusive

CanningVideoOn Thursday, WNBC’s 5 PM newscast aired exclusive video of Brett Knight, who is accused of shooting and killing a man that he was staying with in Long Island. The video was of Knight in handcuffs boarding an airplane in Atlanta, and then of him sitting in his seat on the plane, answering (or more accurately not answering) questions.

You can watch the video in question here.

As it happens, the “scoop” was secured by some good luck. NBC News “Dateline” correspondent Andrea Canning was in Atlanta working on a story for the newsmagazine, and was at the airport to return to New York. She noticed a man with a sweatshirt over his hands, and three other men in dark suits walking with him. After asking around, she confirmed that he was the man suspected in the Long Island killing, and pulled out her iPhone to take some video.

Canning was on the same flight, and was coincidentally assigned to sit right in front of Knight, where she tried to get him to answer some questions. Once the plane landed in New York, she sent the video to WNBC in time for the 5 PM newscast.

Spike Lee: My First Big Break

In the latest episode of mediabistroTV’s “My First Big Break,” we talk to legendary filmmaker Spike Lee.

While Lee is well-known for his movies, did you know that if it wasn’t for NBA superstar Michael Jordan and a pair of Nike Air Jordan sneakers, Lee–and Nike–might not be the icons they have become today? It all came down to a risky commercial shoot.

“So Michael Jordan could easily have said, ‘I can’t take a chance on this young gun, this young boy, just give me the reels of the top guys on Madison Avenue.’ But Michael Jordan didn’t do that,” the Red Hook Summer director recalls. “For some reason, he decided to give me a shot. And the commercial I did with Michael Jordan ended up being some of the greatest campaigns ever in the history of advertising and Nike took off.”

For more videos, check out our YouTube channel and follow us on Twitter: @mediabistroTV

London 2012: For NBC Affiliates, Olympics Coverage Means Life In The ‘Hollywood Squares’ Set

Just next door to the set of NBC’s “Today,” in the northeastern part of Olympic Park in East London, an unusual building rises up four stories over reclaimed marshland. It is the home of the NBC affiliates for the duration of the Olympic games.

NBC affiliates from across the country, as well as shows like The Weather Channel’s “Wake Up With Al” originate from the temporary structure, which Al Roker jokingly refers to as a “tower of babble.”

“[It's]what I call ‘The Hollywood Squares,’ it is like nine broadcast booths,” Roker said from the NBC morning show’s set a few dozen yards away. “There is another six [booths] that are really nice, air conditioned, with windows, toilets and all that, ours are basically, well, it is a tent camp,” he added jokingly.

The structure (see the photo below) gives the affiliates a stellar view of the Olympic stadium behind them, and the boxed structure allows for multiple stations to be on the air at the same time.

The colorful affiliates "Hollywood Squares" box, center. The 'Today' Set Can be seen in the left side of the photo Credit: Alex Weprin

Of course, the tight quarters aren’t always conducive to multiple live shots, even if everyone has their own “square”:

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Glenn Beck: My First Big Break


In the latest episode of mediabistroTV’s “My First Big Break,” we hear from radio personality, author, former Fox News host and GBTV founder Glenn Beck. While he has found tremendous success across many different forms of media, did you know that he almost left the business to go to cooking school? If it wasn’t for a heart-to-heart conversation with his father, he may never have found his professional voice.

For more videos, check out our YouTube channel and follow us on Twitter: @mediabistroTV

Bonnie Fuller: My First Big Break


In the latest episode of mediabistroTV’s “My First Big Break,” we hear from HollywoodLife.com editor Bonnie Fuller. Fuller gained international acclaim as the editor of magazines such as Marie Claire, US Weekly and Cosmopolitan, but did you know that she started out as a beat reporter writing about sports clothes? Or that a friendship with an upcoming fashion designer named Tommy Hilfiger led to a meeting that would change her professional career? Watch below, as Fuller explains how she went from a young cub reporter, to one of the most powerful women in publishing.

For more videos, check out our YouTube channel and follow us on Twitter: @mediabistroTV

Deborah Norville: My First Big Break


In the latest episode of mediabistroTV’s “My First Big Break,” we talk to “Inside Edition” anchor Deborah Norville. Now everyone knows her as the face of the syndicated CBS news program, but before she got her shot nationally, she started in Georgia, working at CBS affiliate WAGA. As for her break, it came before she even graduated from college, and involved a little bit of luck, and former President Jimmy Carter.

For more videos, check out our YouTube channel and follow us on Twitter: @mediabistroTV

BuzzFeed’s Jonah Peretti On What It Means To Go Viral, And How BuzzFeed Taps Into The Zeitgeist

BuzzFeed is all about the social web, and taking advantage of the viral nature of news. In part two of our “Media Beat” interview with Jonah Peretti, the BuzzFeed co-founder talks about how his company looks at “viral” content.

“If you get a million views by buying the homepage of YouTube, and you paid a million dollars for a million views, that is very different than if you are a kid who made some funny video in your basement and shared it with a few friends, and that spread through word of mouth to millions of people,” Peretti says.

Part 1: BuzzFeed’s Jonah Peretti: ‘Our Reporters Are Doing the Kind of Work Reporters Love to Do’

For more videos, check out our YouTube channel and follow us on Twitter: @mediabistroTV

Dan Rather: My First Big Break


In the latest episode of mediabistroTV’s “My First Big Break,” former “CBS Evening News” anchor Dan Rather recalls the break he got at Houston CBS-affiliate KHOU.

In 1961, while covering Hurricane Carla, Rather basically invented the way stations cover severe weather.  The only reporter stationed on Galveston Island during the hurricane, Rather avoided poisonous snakes to bring breaking news coverage of the storm, which caught the attention of CBS execs in New York.

For more videos, check out our YouTube channel and follow us on Twitter: @mediabistroTV

Attention L.A. Stations: Ping LA is coming, and They Want To Be Your Friend

A new online only (for now) local newscast is launching in the Los Angeles market, and the founders have plans to take it to the local stations. Ping LA, spearheaded by Scott Sternberg of Scott Sternberg Productions, will launch this year to cover local news with an eye toward attracting younger viewers. Sternberg discussed the venture at the NATPE conference in Miami.

“Our thought was in looking at this, let’s do something else, how do we go ahead and reach out and find a new way to present local news in a local market, and attract 18-24s, and 25-54s, whereas most of these local newscasts are bringing in 55, 65 plus,” Sternberg said.

Ping LA will launch online, but Sternberg says that they will be looking to partner with a local station in the Fall.

What can viewers expect?

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