This is a difficult time to be a journalist in the United States. The level of trust in American institutions has declined significantly in recent years, and that includes journalism. So, is it a good time to let people see how the news business actually works? How the process is chaotic, messy and difficult? How sometimes there are fundamental disagreements on the way to cover a story, not because of partisan bias but because of differing perspectives? The New York Times obviously feels it is, and allowed documentary filmmakers unprecedented access to their operation: 150 days of access, to be precise. The result is premiering later this month on the American Pay-TV channel Showtime, in a series called The Fourth Estate.
“You see how much we sweat getting it right, how imperfect it is, too,” media columnist Jim Rutenberg said in an interview with Politico. “I don’t see how you could come away from watching it and not see how much we worry about things people think the media in general is cavalier about.”
You may or may not have heard of Cheddar. It is a business news video service aimed at younger viewers. (With the exception of faculty and administrators who read these NYFA Broadcast Journalism updates, that means you…) It has a very different tone and approach than conventional business news channels like CNBC and Bloomberg. Now, Cheddar is setting up a new distribution platform on Snapchat. (Yes, the same Snapchat I referred to last week.) It’s another example of a programming service affiliating with a popular, well-known app, instead of depending solely on one they developed themselves.
Last week I attended a conference on streaming and other OTT (Over The Top) distribution strategies. As always, these meetings amaze me.
One case in point was a presentation by Google on how it is possible for anyone to to create his/her own personal streaming network — and the ways program suppliers can monetize them. (If you can’t figure out a business model, you can’t stay in business.) One of the biggest challenges is “latency,” the lag time between you clicking an on-screen icon and something actually happening.