Category Archives: From The Editor
The Byrds through songwriter Pete Seeger quoted the ancient writings of King Solomon when they sang in 1965, “To every thing there is a season.”
The season for Press and Tower is changing.
Although there is plenty of local media news out there, I just don’t have the capacity to cover it. My work load has increased by about one-third in the past six months sapping my energy for extra stuff. Add it some projects that are coming up that could put me in an bit of a weird place and I think it’s time to reconfigure this project.
When we asked P&T readers about their favorite Super Bowl ads, a plurality said they liked the M&M’s spot introducing Ms. Brown. Over a quarter voted for the winner of the USA Today ad survey, the Doritos ad about the bribing of the dog owner.
If you were to do a “man-on-the-street” 50 years ago, asking Erieites of 1962 what they were willing to spend on media on a daily basis, they might pull out the change from their pocket and flip you a nickel or dime, enough to pick up a copy of the Morning News or Erie Daily Times. TV, all two channels of it, was free, along with the half-dozen local radio stations.
They could not fathom a cable TV bill the size of their heating oil or gas bill, or paying for tunes on the radio. But you do.
Have you ever counted it up; how much you spend on media every month? I’m not including the utility portion, such as the internet service, the smart phone data package, or the DVR box rental. But I have a series of four polls below, asking about what you spend, if any, on content from various media sources. Of course it’s all anonymous and no dollar figures are given, but answering the questions will give you a solid realization about your media investment, and the poll answers in the aggregate will show where our readers are when it comes to paid media.
I’d love to get your comments on this one, in the box below the polls.
When we last polled our P&T readers, we asked about your online video usage. A plurality said that they never watch local news video online, while over a third would occasionally do so. Just under a third would watch full newscasts or live video streams if offered.
There is much talk in the trade press about the looming spectrum crisis, with wireless broadband operators such as AT&T and Verizon screaming for more bandwidth, especially in the UHF “beachfront property” bands where signals can penetrate buildings better and have less dropout. That just happens to be where for the past 60 years your local television stations operate, and they are not giving up their “seed corn” without a fight.
The National Broadband Plan has called for an additional 500 MHz to be allocated to the wireless operators, a big chunk of which would come out of broadcasters’ spectrum “behind.” This proposal is coming after the spectrum that TV stations abandoned with the digital TV conversion.
So which side are you on; does the need for spectrum to operate smartphones and tablets and whatever next-generation technology is out there trump the outdated free TV model? Or is the highly-efficient, locally-responsive, and free one-to-many model of TV stations an inherent right of citizens in a representative democracy?
Where do you fall in the spectrum war?
- With the TV stations: keep free TV available in all markets (72%, 21 Votes)
- With the wireless operators: we need more spectrum to keep up with consumer demand (14%, 4 Votes)
- I don't have a horse in this race (14%, 4 Votes)
Total Voters: 29
All this week, media channels in Erie and around the globe have been filled with stories and special programming marking the 10 years since the devastating events of September 11, 2001 in New York City, Washington, DC and Shanksville, PA.
For me it is very easy to jump back a decade to that profound sense of horror, pain, and loss; not only in the immediate wake of the attack, but of the accumulated loss over ten years of wars, decimated economy, and internal national strife.
Those of us who were media producers on 9/11/01 instantly recall our efforts of getting the news out to the community, the hours on end radio and television news broadcasts, the extra edition of the Times-News, back-office staff filling roles where needed so that the organizations would meet the challenges of that horrible day.
Perhaps the most rewarding culmination of those extra efforts was United We Stand, the historical combined remote of all the Erie radio and television stations, well covered by the newspaper to raise funds for the American Red Cross and the victims of the attacks on September 20, 2001 at the Millcreek Mall. That sense of unity of purpose was unfortunately soon lost, and so our sense of loss in remembering is multiplied.
There has been some excellent reporting this week, with specials still planned on Sunday. Don’t miss this local content:
- GoErie.com’s 9/11 page
- WJET/WFXP stories on YourErie.com start with this interview of former DHS Secretary and PA Governor Tom Ridge.
- WICU/WSEE covers the Sunday remembrance in Perry Square
- MSNBC.com shows a picture of the beam from the World Trade Center that will become a part of the Erie 9/11 memorial along with a post by Mark Aleksandrowicz
In our poll last week about the media navel-gazing over their Hurricane Irene coverage, the majority of readers of P&T participating in our poll thought that the level of coverage was appropriate. Of course, that whole conversation died down when people saw the video of the real inland flooding damage in places like Middlebury, VT and Patterson, NJ.
Here’s a quote I recently read on my Facebook news feed:
I can’t believe that in the 21st Century I can’t watch the news (I) choose.
Well, actually, you can; kinda. Both WJET/WFXP and WICU/WSEE offer online video versions of certain stories. WICU/WSEE will also produce an online news headlines cast a couple times a day. GoErie will offer Web Extra video packages with big newspaper stories. Right now, no one locally is live streaming their news casts, nor offers an online archive of their casts.
How do you use local news video online (you can choose up to three answers)?