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Category Archives: From The Editor

Signing off

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.

Poll: What are you paying for media?

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.

How much money do you spend on newspapers each month?

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How much money do you spend on television each month?

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How much money do you spend on radio each month?

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How much money do you spend on online subcriptions each month?

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Poll: Favorite Super Bowl ad

Just a few voters shared their interactions with Erie media via social networks when we asked the question. The most common use indicated that people are willing to post a link to an Erie online story on their personal Facebook wall, as well as “Like” local Erie media Facebook pages.

It time for our annual local Super Bowl ad poll. We’ve listed the top ten ads as picked by the USA Today panel. Their favorite this year was from Doritos:

What was your favorite?

Favorite Super Bowl ads for 2012?

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Poll: How do you socialize with Erie media?

We haven’t asked your opinion in a while, but when we did ask about how you came down on the looming spectrum war between over-the-air broadcasters and the wireless community, an overwhelming majority sided with the TV stations to keep as much spectrum as needed to maintain free service.

The education reporter at the Erie Times-News, Sean McCracken told us this morning how the newspaper is deepening their commitment to social media, with nearly every reporter on staff now on Twitter. Of course, the paper itself, along with the TV newsrooms and early-adopter reporters have been tweeting for a while now (we’ve been tweeting since April 2009), and most have accompanying Facebook pages that roll stories and ask for input from readers and viewers (and some listeners of radio stations).

The question today is, how are you interacting with old-school media’s leveraging of social media? You can choose as many answers as you like, and weigh in on the comments.

How have you used Erie media's social media tools in the past year?

  • I have posted a link to an Erie media online story on my Facebook wall (83%, 5 Votes)
  • I have liked one or more Erie media Facebook pages (83%, 5 Votes)
  • I have retweeted a tweet from an Erie reporter or replyed to one (67%, 4 Votes)
  • I have left comments on a Erie media website or Facebook page (67%, 4 Votes)
  • I am following one or more Erie reporters on Twitter (67%, 4 Votes)
  • I have added Erie reporters as connections on LinkedIn (50%, 3 Votes)
  • I have added an Erie media reporter or page to a circle in Google Plus (33%, 2 Votes)
  • I have participated in live chats on an Erie media website (17%, 1 Votes)
  • I have embedded video from an Erie media website on my own blog or website (17%, 1 Votes)

Total Voters: 6

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Poll: where do you fall in the spectrum war?

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

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9/11: media remembrances moving

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.

MSNBC: Men secure a flag over a World Trade Center beam prior to transportation to Erie, Pa., for construction of a memorial to remember the events of Sept. 11, 2001.

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:

Poll: your online news video usage

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)?

What is your online news video usage?

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