Saturday, August 23, 2008

Sen. Obama announces VP on Twitter!

It is absolutely amazing that Twitter has now been catapulted into the
international psyche. I have been telling other people about Twitter
for years. Mind you, that was before I understood it's utility. This
underscores the current relationship some people have with new media.
They know it's there but have no idea what to do with it. It is
fun. It is new. It is unpredictable. This is great!

Sent from my iPhone

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Problem Based Learning Seminar at Belmont University

Al Tompkins Poynter Institute

Here's a fun how-to video about creating video content for online purposes from one of my mentors, Al Tompkins at the Poynter Institute.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Reporter Montage

This is a montage of stand-ups when I was a full time general assignment reporter at CBS here in Nashville. The address and phone number are not accurate. 

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Websites Galore

Alright, I know I'm posting later than usual but there are just so many sites to explore and so little time. My girlfriend, Monique an IT specialist just introduced me to Playlist and Class Creator .

Both sites are very helpful to me as I help to plan a reunion for our church youth group. I am truly excited because now I have so much more to share with group when I speak. So few people really know what tools exist on the web. Heck, a lot of people have no idea what tools are available on their mobile devices.


Alright, I have finally decided to be more vigilant about Twitter thanks to my good friend Professor Rick Hancock Rick's RSS . I am now following about 30 people and about a dozen are following me. It is clear that Twitter is more than relevant in terms of reporting breaking news. It can also be useful in campus emergencies. I explored the possibilities with faculty at Northwestern University during a presentation in February.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Social Media Map

As so many around the world attempt to understand the social media phenomenon, hopefully this map can help. Sorry for whatever reason, I'm having a time with the hyperlink button. Social Media Map

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Bernie Mac Passes at age 50

To the family and friends of Bernie Mac, you are in our prayers. I had the pleasure of meeting Bernie Mac years ago when I was working for the Stellar Gospel Awards. I told him that I was from the Chicago area and he was excited. Bernie needed a steamer and in his voice and in his way, he said, "Baby Girl, Baby Girl, I need a steamer." He was so kindhearted and sincere, I made sure that he got his steamer. I loved his comedy. I loved his passion. And, I loved that he LIVED his dream.

Check out Chicago Sun Times, BET and MSNBC for more information about the best comedian in my opinion since Robin Harris.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Day 3 Disney/IRTS Digital Media Summit

Needless to say, we've been really busy today. We've had a tour of studio 6 and 7 where a couple of shows including Brothers and Sisters are taped. We participated in a new age 3D demonstration. We've met the President of ABC studios and numerous other executives. I'll have to post notes later. We are heading into our final session.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Day 2 Disney/IRTS Digital Summit Updated Notes

Whew, this has truly been an intensive mental moment in time. I will try to summarize the day's events. We had 4 panel/roundtable sessions and short tour through the New Technology Strategy Group. It was a whirlwind and worth every minute.

So here goes....

In terms of emerging Internet sites to check out, it sounds like ABC's will be work a look. They provide as many tools as they can for the audience to fully enjoy not only their soaps, but celebrities, gossip and even fashion. They treat the site as a partner in the larger multimedia landscape. I don't watch soaps anymore but I will check out the site when I get the chance. Erin Weir, Director, Marketing, ABC Daytime and SoapNet was very impressive discussing the strategy.

The next session was Where Entertainment and Technology Collide:

David Beebe, Director, Video Production, explained that his area started out as two people in the basement. Within three years the operation grew into more than 20 employees. They provide video content for their digital platforms. Short form video is king online. This was an entrepreneurial endeavor fully supported by the corporation. This is what it will take for more traditional companies to integrate and manage disruptive technologies. Read Clayton Christensen's book, The Innovator's Dilemma for more insight. He has several other books including the Innovator's Solution and a new one about Disruptions in the classroom. I'll read that one next.

Disney is working hard on BD Live which will allow kids to interact with the movies they watch. They'll be able to chat with friends, get a video message from their parents and play trivia games for points redeemable for rewards. This formula makes sense for Disney. I guess the younger generation won't mind their shows being interrupted in that way. The BD player will also adjust to reflect the climate of the user in the movie scene.

They are also using a double lens camera to simulate the left and right eye. 3D glasses will be necessary to view those films.

Students need to able to adapt and work across platforms and departments. They need technical as well as social skills.

George Gerba, VP Strategic Initiatives, The Walt Disney Company said that students need to go and do it. They have to get professional experience.

Jeff Miller, President, World-Wide Post Production, Walt Disney, added that who students work for matters a great deal. Getting the right experience he said is a matter of hitching your caboose to the right train.

Alright, I learned so much about the ABC TV show LOST. However, I was lost because I never watched an episode. I'll have to do a separate post on the show because the marketing was AMAZING. I did have a chance to meet one of the shows producers, Damon Lindelof. He was very down to Earth and honest. I asked him why so few African Americans were on the show. He didn't dodge the question. Part of it was story line dictated. He didn't get to finish the answer because time ran out but I gave him the benefit of the doubt. They made certain choices and sacrificed different audiences at different times.

The new technology conversation was the BOMB! With the place shifting Slingbox technology becoming more available and a device being created to link the box to a mobile device. Apple TV has a $199 device to link the Mac to the TV so you can view shows from your computer.

They talked about game consoles really being more than just for games. Sony's Playstation 3 is already a Blue Ray Player allowing physical and media and digital download media. The console is Internet enabled and can be updated. This isn't new information but it's information that needs to be considered in the larger media landscape. What does this mean?

In terms of projecting movies on a wall or screen from your mobile device, keep an eye on PICO projectors from Texas Instruments. The tech team at Disney estimates they are about a year away.

I also saw a very cool Organic LED screen for about $2500, it will be mass marketed within the next 3-5 years. Sony is currently making them.

I've got more but I'm exhausted. Somebody leave a post to encourage me to share more tomorrow.


More IRTS/Disney Notes

I've heard this before but Mark Jocson, Director, Online Content, Disney ABC Television Group said it again. Young people do NOT use e-mail. They text instead. A study that Disney did showed that young people said that e-mail was for old people, 30 and above. Yes, that hurt but it's basically true. Jennifer Sizemore of MSNBC/NBC made a similar point in her talk for Belmont's New Century Journalism Program.

Here's a continuation on an earlier point. The panelists were asked What's next in terms of marketing? What would you do with an unlimited budget? I shared Amanda Grant's response already. Here are several others.

Gloria Lee-Send the tailored, customized message to the appropriate person. She wouldn't want to bother the wrong person with the wrong message.

Jay Victor would love unlimited information on all of their viewers. He would customize the content and marketing messages. He would invest in understanding as much about households. (For the record selling marketing data is a notable revenue stream for many companies.) He would encourage people to tell as much as they were willing to share with respect for their privacy. He advocates non-intrusive ways.

Patrick Ellis, Director, Marketing
He would pay for more precise measurement. Right now, there are different ways of measuring different things but there isn't any connection or synergy between the different audiences. For example, if you watch a show on the web, are you are member of the audience that watched on TV also? Nielsen is experimenting with different measurement collection methods, however, they may take until 2011 to have results. In this virtual age, that is unacceptable and unrealistic. The data will probably be outdated by then.

David Beebe talked about his role as an Internet video provider. The content has to be shorter for the web. A 30 second clip can hook someone and they may watch a one minute and thirty second piece. However, the longer the video is the more difficult it is to sustain an audience. My two cents is that the traditional length of a television news reporter's package is one minute and thirty seconds so now the audience has been trained to only tolerate video clips of that length.

Needless to say, my mind is in overdrive right now. We are eating lunch and then we'll see a video and work on a case study. I just hope my brain doesn't explode. Now I know how my students feel.

Digital Marketing and Branding Continued

Alright, where was I? Gloria Lee, VP, Affiliate Marketing and Promotions, ABC Television Networks said her job is trying to get the audience to understand the ABC brand. Her job focuses on co-branding the network with the affiliates. In days of old, the network used to pay the affiliates to air their programming. Now that arrangement has shifted so some affiliates are paying the network and the network pays some affiliates. It's yet another way that local affiliates are losing revenue.

For me, some of the most poignant comments came from Amanda Grant, Director, Digital Strategy ABC Entertainment. She talked about tailoring content for particular platforms and that brands are not created equal. She also talked about vision. Her team looks at what doesn't exist and then tries to figure out if it did exist what could they do with it. I called this a sort of visionary vigilante mode. If she had an unlimited budget, she would create true interactivity. For example, she said if you are watching an ABC show and see a great pair of shoes, you can pause the programming, order the shoes through your mobile device and then they would be waiting for you at the counter at your store of choice. Of course, they could be shipped to your door. The point is that she is saying that the circular communication pattern would be content becomes marketing which then becomes advertising which would yield a purchase.

More in a moment.

Digital Media Marketing and Branding

Well, just finished a session on marketing and branding so I'm going to try to summarize my notes quickly because one of the panelists, Jay Victor (Sr. Manager, Corporate Brand Management, The Walt Disney Company has been assigned to our table for a roundtable discussion.

Alright, the moderator for the morning session was Mike Mellon who runs the research department I'll introduce the panelists by their comments.

Patrick Ellis, Director, Marketing, ABC. com noted that part of his job is to make a destination for consumers. Immediately, my internal question was Is it realistic to make any website a destination? It may be a stop on my journey but I really don't plan to necessarily set up a virtual camp anywhere. I also thought back to a point that Jennifer Sizemore, an executive at MSNBC/NBC said when she visited Belmont. Most people will not visit your website through the home page. So that means branding which was a major part of the panel discussion needs to happen on every web page.

Jay is leading a really good discussion about the notion of a brand. He said that Disney, ESPN and ABC are the brands. Disney is the strongest brand makes the most money. ESPN is second economically and in strength. ABC is more of a name than a brand because there isn't a consistent promise attached to it. It is the third in generating revenue.

Ok, I'm multitasking. I'm going to focus on this roundtable and post more in a minute.

Day 2 Disney/IRTS Digital Summit

We are debriefing about day one of the Summit and my colleague at Tennessee State University in Nashville, Joe Richie just made a salient (relevant) point. He noted how important it is to teach students about the business of news. Ironically, I teach this course in the spring semester of the academic year. My first broadcast job was with the Hearst Corporation at WISN in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. At the time, I had no idea that Hearst owned so many other media properties and that I could possibly work at a sister property some day. No one explained to me that news operations were literally beholden to shareholders. There used to be a greater separation between Church and state, or in this case news and sales. The lines are being erased and the public is suffering as a result.

At any rate, Joe's comment is noteworthy for every working American. Know your industry. Know the key players. Pay attention to the workflow and company's bottom line. Stop operating like a deer in headlights and do the necessary research to know if your company is preparing to move, offshoring or to send work to employees abroad, outsourcing.

Reflecting on Day One of the IRTS/Disney Digital Summit

So many people wonder how university professors spend their summers. Many, like myself, spend them reading and attending professional conferences, workshops and/or summits. Some teach, some rest, some just disappear. It is their right and choice to do what they choose. With that said, here are some notes from the first day at ABC/Disney in Burbank, CA.

We heard from more than a dozen Disney executives. They all are focused on the digital space. Analog is officially dead in their minds, literally and figuratively. In terms of training students, they noted that we are now training them for jobs that do not exist. The key then becomes helping the students to be flexible. This is no small feat when some students in this generation want to be told what to do instead of figuring out what to do.

In terms of marketing, digital allows people to watch more television (through the Internet, cable, satellite, mobile, etc.) and that allows for greater brand extension. In other words, wherever you watch a show or a program, there is an opportunity for the content creator to make you aware of their brand, products and/or programming.

My apologies, I did not write down where they found this piece of research. However, the stat is worth noting. 7% of people who watch shows online don't own a TV. I'l just let that sink in for a minute.... So many people are investing so much money in HD, LCD, plasma. etc. when the tide will change once again. Soon, you will be able to project a movie that is on your cell phone onto a wall. For business people, that will mean that your powerpoint or keynote presentation will be on your mobile device and then you can just pull it out and project it on the wall.

Mike Mellon, SVP, Research, ABC Television Network likened the transition to the Disney blockbuster the Lion King. He said that the change is reminiscent of the Circle of Life. Of course, I had to really accept that Mufasa represents old, traditional media and that some traditions and unfortunately standards have seemed to die and not be passed on to Simba in the new media age. The new still needs the wisdom of the old. Again, this should not be an "either" "or", it has to be an and. Both old AND new must come together. The old has the sound journalistic practices, the new just has new tools and technologies through which to deliver the message. I know this is pollyanna idealism but to preserve the democracy ethics, substance and credibility count.

Part of the problem for the movie industry is the same problem the music industry faced, pirating. People downloading or gaining access to movies outside of the theater which costs studios millions of dollars. Maybe studios should just make movies available immediately for a fee similar to iTunes. People who want them are going to get them anyway. People who want to go to the movies are going to go anyway. Give everybody an option to choose what they want and stop losing so much money. I know I'm just thinking aloud. But sometimes unfettered brainstorming is good. Actually, it's the only way to progress is this virtual age. Read The Contrarian Leader by Stephen B. Sample.

ABC has a FEP, Full Episode Player online. The most watched night is Friday night. That means the audience is still looking for something to do on Friday night. They are exploring ways to maximize the FEP's reach.

The notion of cannibalism was raised which basically means is one medium devouring the audience of the other. So if I drive people online, am I in turn driving them away from television? Probably not. People use the distribution tool they want when they want it. You drive the audience away when you don't respect their right to choose. As soon as content providers realize that five generations of people are living and that yes, there is still a miniscule need for cassette tapes, VHS, DVD etc. They will learn how to market to the different groups and provide the appropriate tools. There is money in the niche, thanks Chris Anderson, The Long Tail.

It is clear that Mobile is the next frontier. Most people have no idea what their phones can do. Many just use them to make calls and to text people. The Asian culture uses their mobile phones as their DNA and as a credit card.

Change and innovation are inevitable. One of the presenters, MK Haley, Director, Product Development, Digital Media, Disney ABC Television Group shared several examples that I use in my consulting seminars to help people think about the impact and magnitude of change. For example, she asked people to write their name and then to use the opposite hand to do the same. She talked about expanding your mind by changing your habits. So many people are being forced to change because of downsizing and layoffs. The stubborn ones are holding their guns and literally going down with ship. My goal is to help as many people as possible embrace change.

I am currently reading Napoleon Hill's book, Think and Grow Rich, it was around longer than the Secret but not as long as the Bible of course. Faith and action are the key in this new media landscape. I'll have more to report. Stay tuned. I'll also be discussing this post with Professor Rick Hancock, University of Connecticut on his blog at

Sorry so long, hopefully, it was worth it.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

2008 Digital Media Summit IRTS/Disney

Once again, I find myself in the midst of an exceptional opportunity. I am participating in the International Radio Television Society's Faculty Fellowship to attend a Digital Summit sponsored by Disney. I'm one of nearly 60 professors from across the country. Walt Disney clearly recognizes that two critical areas that will greatly impact the future are technology and diversity. As a matter of fact, Robert Mendez, Senior Vice President for the Disney ABC Television Group noted that there is a approximately 300 million people in the US and one-third, 100 million are people of color. For any corporation, community, college or civic entity to ignore this glaring reality is beyond ignorant. We can't take any pictures, so text will be our mode of communication for now. I'll try to keep you posted.