Archives for May 2005
Somebody’s making a buck off of the Tennessee Waltz and it’s not Patty Page.
Greetings from Birmingham, Alabama. No, I haven’t had a Bo Bice sighting although the Magic City is enthralled with the American Idol runner-up. I did run into Garry Kelly, the news director from ABC 33/40 last night. Asked how the May book went he told me pretty good considering the FOX station, channel 6, wound up with a 60 share for the American Idol finale.
Bo’s 2nd place finish was better for the FOX station here than Reuben Studdard’s win two years ago when the FOX station had a 50 share for the finale. Bet ABC and NBC hope they’ve seen the last of Birmingham’s strong showing in Idol.
I’m not blogging about tv news tonight though. But on newspapers.
And I’ll make this as simple as I can. The “Birmingham News” newspaper is light years better than Memphis’ Commercial Appeal.
I will preface the rest of this blog by saying I grew up near Birmingham and have read the B’ham News much of my life. I still read it daily online at www.al.com
That said, here’s why I feel B’ham’s newspaper is so much better than Memphis’ morning paper: there’s more to it.
Sunday mornings in Memphis I generally can read through the C.A. in less than 45 minutes, and that includes probably 15 minutes going through the Sunday sales fliers. This morning, I skipped the fliers all together and read for a good 1 1/2 hours before church. After church and lunch I picked up the paper again and finished in about an another hour.
The Sports section, which I usually read first included everything the C.A. has (less some coverage of the NBA) plus 3 pages or more of Major League Baseball coverage. One full page for the National League, one full page of the American League and another page of columns, articles and fantasy baseball. Two full pages of NASCAR, plus coverage of the Indy 500, golf, softball, SEC baseball (tournament was this weekend in Birmingham) and some coverage of SEC football.
The Business section was a full section, unlike the C.A’s cursory business section on Sundays. 8 pages of business news including articles and columns for small business owners.
The regional section was also filled with news from around the southeast (including fair coverage of the “Tennessee Waltz”.
The much larger section on entertainment included the B’ham News version of the C.A’s Friday special pull-out section on clubs, movies etc. There were also articles and columns about local television and radio stations.
Weekday editions are also filled with more stories and features. Two full-pages of comic strips including several (Drabble, Snuffy Smith) that are no longer carried by the C.A.
Metro sections are much more in-depth than even the C.A’s community editions (I get the DeSoto Appeal every day). “The Birmingham News” seemed to include a lot more news from Shelby County, Northwest Birmingham and Northeast Metro in every Sunday edition.
I should also mention here that Birmingham is currently a city with two daily newspapers, the “News” and the Scripps’ owned “Post-Herald”. Saturdays the two papers combine their coverage into one newspaper. The Post-Herald does not publish on Sundays and is an afternoon paper during the week. (The two papers switched delivery times several years ago).
I don’t have circulation numbers to compare Birmingham and Memphis.
Mike Holihan followed the breaking news throughout the day with incredible links and insight into “Tennessee Waltz”.
I missed all of the news early in the day (busy with life’s other stuff) and didn’t catch any of it until the evening newscasts at 5. But Mike, wow. He covered this like no one else.
see for yourself at halfbakered
So, the biggest story of the past few months or even a year happens and when it does….it’s on the first day after the end of the May book.
Don’t think some news managers didn’t say a few bad words about the FBI’s timing today. The May book came and went without any severe weather. I can’t remember the last time that’s happened. And don’t think for a second that it hasn’t crossed the minds of some news folks.
Day-to-day coverage of normal run-of-the-mill news doesn’t bring eyeballs to the tv sets. May means severe weather but I don’t think the mid-south had one tornado warning all month.
And then, the day several big name legislators from west Tennessee are indicted and hauled to jail (one is sleeping there tonight) and it’s 24 hours too late.
Who gets the prize for breaking this story? Not a tv reporter, radio host or newspaper…nope as far as I can see the first to break this story was state Representative Stacey Campfield of Knoxville. Rep. Campfield is (drumroll please) A BLOGGER!
His first account of the bust was at 6:57am
“NEWS FLASH!!!! 1 senator and 1 rep were supposedly taken away in cuffs. It is not who you think. more later”
later he goes on to name names, and then early afternoon comes this post,
“many legislators are still walking around like it is 9/11”
So a blogger breaks the story.
Wonder how much better this story will be in a few years when the legislator is posting video to the blog?
Editor and Publisher reports the New York Times company has axed 190 workers including journalists at the Times and the Globe. The reductions come after the company evaluated the efficiency of newsrooms in order to lower costs.
Check out the latest post from Lenslinger, the television video journalist in Greensboro, NC. This week as he shot the implosion of a building he noticed several “citizen journalists” armed with tiny video cameras. Says he sort of felt like a dinosaur. “It’s enough to make those of us in the media scrum to talk of the End Times.”
“The next ten years promise to feature a rapid breakdown of my chosen craft. Whatever new paradigm takes hold, it’s a safe bet the two-person news crew is an endangered species, driven to oblivion by technology and methods that are faster and cheaper, but not necessarily better. Hopefully by the time, I’ll have found more fulfilling ways to make a difference and a paycheck.”
The way this guy writes, I’m surprised that he hasn’t already made a jump to a more fulfilling career.
here’s the whole post.