Tag Archives: NY1

Months in the Making and Now We Know: WNBC’s Vision of the Hyperlocal News of the Future: Swishpans and Look-lives.

WNBC/NYC Prepares to Go Nonstop

WNBC/NYC Prepares to Go "Nonstop"

I don’t know why I’m surprised, but I am. The New York Observer has obtained an internal memo on the “imminent” launch of WNBC/NY’s long-awaited (or should I say long-delayed…) 24-hour hyperlocal channel, which we now know will be dubbed (ready for it?)…

“New York Nonstop.”  (Ooooooh! Shivers.)

Sure, the name’s a showstopper. (..sigh..) But the content oozing “nonstop” out of the “Content Center” at 30 Rock may seem a bit more tired, especially given the buildup and buzz:  “NBC executives first announced their plans to launch the digital, cable channel back in May of 2008. Initially, the plan was to roll out the channel (which, at the time, various news reports described as a potential challenger to Time Warner’s NY1) by the fall of 2008. But the channel’s debut has since been delayed a number of times.  What exactly the channel will look like has been a hot topic of speculation in recent months among local TV newshounds in New York. Now the wait is almost over,” writes the NYO.

observer_man

And what have the hyperlocal visionaries been cooking up all this time?  Well, to me, it sounds a lot like a local news consulting reporting circa 1994:  “Think ‘look live,’  (“I’m standing on line with some people buying lottery tix,” and then walk down the line talking to people all in one take. Simple. Easy.) Think swish pans, dutch angles- but try to make it look different,” according to an internal email written by WNBC’s Michael Horowicz and printed in the Observer.  And yes, “look live” was in quotation marks, as if it was some kind of emerging News 2.0 concept reporters might not be familiar with.  Oh my.  

To add to the stale smell of “been there, done that,” the memo leads off with an 80’s reference.  I kid you not: “The debut of New York Nonstop is imminent. It is, as Magic Johnson called it in the late 1980’s, “Showtime.” [excessively snarky comment redacted]  

Having just watched “Final Edition,” the video produced by multimedia journalists at the late Rocky Mountain News, the in-house description of “New York Nonstop” sounds so jarringly lame.  “Sometimes, your contribution will just be a series of soundbites butted together,” the memo reads.  It urges reporters (or are they content producers over there now?) to make sure their pieces don’t look like traditional newscasts, for fear people will “click away.”  Well, I could be wrong, but I think the objective might be trying to be MORE creative and unexpected than traditional local newscasts–to take ADVANTAGE of new media to do something DIFFERENT, like “Final Edition.”  Instead, it sounds like New York Nonstop will be nonstop filler, walk and talk look-lives and butted sound bites and “oh, crap, did you remember to feed something to “Nonstop?”

What Kind of Nonstop Content from the Content Center?

What Kind of Nonstop Content from the Content Center?

I hope I’m wrong.  I hope it looks fresh and I hope it’s inventive and interesting.  But aside from the musty scent of decades-old newsroom “do walking standups” memos, there’s also a sharp smell of panic in that memo.  The stakes are high, and local tv news isn’t fighting from a strong position these days, especially at WNBC, where most of the strength in their deep bench is now laid off and looking for work.  “If you can’t feed your piece in early, I need to know why. You can feed on your laptop while your shooter is covering the news conference. If everyone were to feed in their contribution at the end of the day, then our mission wil have failed. They’ll turn it into a lifestyle channel and we’ll have one less platform in which to showcase our work, and you know what will happen next. I cannot overemphasize this point,” Horowicz writes.  “If it looks like a newscast, we’re dead. It will also look out of place compared to all the other content on the channel. It is within our power to make this channel the talk of the town… in a good way.”

It certainly is within their power to do it different and to showcase creative talent and become an example of how local tv news will stay relevant by embracing new media, new ways to tell stories, and new audiences.  Or, it could be the talk of the town… in a bad way.

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“NY Nightly News” May Move to WNBC’s Cable Channel

Chuck Scarborough/Daily News Photo

Chuck Scarborough/Daily News Photo

The revamped news lineup at WNBC/NY may be getting revampier, according to a report in today’s NY Daily News. Richard Huff reports the Chuck Scarborough-helmed 7 p.m. “New York Nightly News” could be cable-bound in the next month, moving onto the yet-to-be-formally-named-or-described-but-definitely-24-hour-channel that WNBC has been planning as a key part of its evolution into a “content center.”

Huff reports: “As part of programming the new network, expected to launch next month, Ch. 4’s 7 p.m. newscast may slide over to the so-far-called NY Channel and become a “signature” show, the Daily News has learned.”

Sources also tell the News the 7 p.m. show will expand to an hour, and Scarborough will continue in his role as main anchor of Channel 4’s 6 and 11 p.m. newscasts.

What the remaining 23 hours will look like on the tentatively-titled “NY” channel remains unclear, though it won’t be an all-news competitor to Time-Warner’s NY1.

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WNBC Set to Unveil “Hyperlocal” 24 Hour (News?) Channel… One of These Days

NBC New York

WNBC/NY’s “Content Center” debuted to splashy graphics, low ceilings and low ratings, and the NBC 2.0 plans still call for some kind of 24 hour cable channel to be dubbed “NBC NY.”  What the “content” of that channel will be–well that, like the launch date, seems to be a closely guarded secret.  Or something.

The New York Post’s intrepid “Starr” Reporter Michael Starr tried to get someone at WNBC to agree to an interview, but had no luck.  In a story in the Post today, Starr quotes NYC news insiders who say what many believe:  “They’re doing it as cheaply as possible.” 

And the folks at Chelsea Market continue to sleep well at night:  “I don’t think they’re going to give NY1 a run for its money,” Starr quotes a local tv newser, talking about New York’s original 24 hour local cable news operation.  Many–including execs at Time Warner’s NY1–expect NBC’s effort will focus a lot less on news, and a lot more on entertainment:  “It makes sense for WNBC to focus on lifestyles rather than to compete with us,” said NY1 regional VP/GM Steve Paulus.  “We feel that NY1 has become the place New Yorkers turn to for hard news.”

As New York’s O&O’s cut costs, offload experienced talent and focus on fluff, NY1’s motto “the only local news worth watching,” seems a lot less like a marketing concept than it did years ago.

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