Radio & Television News Association

Monday, August 28, 2006

News and Terrorism: Communicating in a Crisis

News and Terrorism:
Communicating in a Crisis
Tuesday, October 3 in Seattle
9:00 AM to 3:00 PM

(Registration and breakfast begin at 8:00 a.m.)
Hotel 1000 - 1000 First Avenue
Seattle Ohio 98104

This workshop is sponsored by the RTNDA: Radio & Television News DIRECTORS Association.

This workshop brings together the media, government officials, science and technical experts, and representatives from local organizations to foster a better understanding of how each group responds to a crisis and to share information about potential terrorist threats.

Moderator: John McWethy, ABC News Special Correspondent
Participation is by invitation only. Please register online.

Produced by the Radio and Television News Directors Foundation in association with the National Academies and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Workshop highlights:A terrorism scenario exercise involving key participants that vividly highlights the issues.Materials on specific terrorist threats and the medical, scientific, public health, and safety issues that could result from an attack.Open discussion of the challenges involved in providing timely and accurate information to the public in case of a terrorist incident.

With the exception of the terrorism scenario exercise, the workshop will be on the record.
Questions: Ricki Green at RTNDF (202) 467-5201 or

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Radio:Time to start thinking about mobile multimedia

Radio and Mobile MultiMedia
by Tom Vernon
Radio World Online

As radio broadcasters become content providers for mobile devices, the need to think in terms of multimedia, rather than just audio, becomes increasingly important.

While the tiny display on most mobile phones might discourage long-duration viewing, wireless operators are anticipating a demand for material about breaking news and sports, as well as music videos. This demand is expected to escalate as more video-enabled handsets become available. Some analysts expect mobile to be the seventh mass medium after print, recordings, cinema, a radio, TV and the Internet.

The rollout of mobile video is expected to take place in two phases, Gerry Purdy, principal analyst for MobileTrax, said.

"First-generation video technology will entail narrowcasting, where a subscriber downloads content from the carrier's server. The fee structure is pay-per-download. Users are not able to store material for later playback." Verizon's V-Cast network uses this model.

Purdy said the second-generation video will be streaming in a one-to-many model, much like today's broadcasting. Initial offerings will be streaming only, after digital rights management issues are worked out, users will be able to record streams.

(Read the rest of the article here.)

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Early marks are high for cameras in courtrooms

Early marks are high for cameras in courtrooms
So far, observers say, change has not been disruptive and attorneys haven't been playing to the lens
By Richard D. Walton
August 21, 2006

From the Indianapolis Star

An experiment to allow cameras in Indiana courtrooms for the first time in decades is getting early high marks and just a few complaints.

Among the results thus far, according to observers:

Attorneys seem to be getting along better and are better prepared.

Fears of lawyers showboating or witnesses being intimidated have proved unfounded.

The cameras generally don't disrupt proceedings.

Yet a few problems have cropped up since Indiana Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard announced the program, which on July 1 began allowing video and still cameras in courts in Indianapolis, Evansville and Fort Wayne.

At least one attorney has complained about the difficulty of entering a courtroom because of the assembled media.

Another concern involves the clicking noise that still cameras make. They have caused a few distractions, said Dan Byron, general counsel for the Indiana Broadcasters Association and the chief architect of the terms of the camera project, but the problem can be fixed by using a digital camera with an attachment that muffles sound.

One of the biggest problems, Byron said, is that only about 15 percent of the suspects approached about allowing cameras have consented.

Kenya K. Wright, 27, accused of shooting Indianapolis Police Officer Michael Antonelli in the face last November, had agreed to allow cameras but changed his mind at the last minute. And Desmond Turner, 28, scheduled for trial next year in the June slayings of an Indianapolis family of seven, has rejected cameras.

One defendant who consented was John R. Dean, 40, facing trial in Evansville in the 2004 death of 74-year-old Lloyd Goad.

Dean, who pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter, allowed the cameras for his July hearing partly because he wanted to demonstrate to the community his remorse, said his attorney, Kurt Schnepper.

He said the cameras weren't disruptive. In fact, he forgot about them once the hearing began.
Schnepper said he thinks cameras can help play a watchdog role.

Thanks to the cameras, people can "see what their prosecutor is doing on a day-to-day basis and how their judge performs in court," he said.

Read the rest of the story here.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Reporters Are Increasingly Being Used as Bargaining Chips

How to Survive a Kidnapping
Reporters Are Increasingly Being Used as Bargaining Chips by Rebel Groups
By Laura Marquez

The two Fox journalists recently kidnapped in Gaza are just the latest in a growing campaign targeting journalists, according to the International News Safety Institute.

Since 2004, 41 journalists have been kidnapped. The institute is in the midst of a global inquiry to explain the upward spiral. But the organization's director, Rodney Pinder, said several reasons have already become clear. Chief among them, the world "has become increasingly polarized," said Pinder.

"Reporters are no longer seen as detached elements. It's a 'you're either with us or against us' mentality," Pinder said.

The seemingly random kidnappings of journalists have left many reporters wondering whether they could be next. Journalists are trained in how to avoid becoming targets of kidnappers. Almost all reporters attend some sort of safety training before heading to a war zone.

Among the tips the institute teaches in its intensive training seminars to foreign journalists and in the long list of tips it has published on its Web site are: Do not move alone in a conflict zone; use a safe and reliable driver; meet unfamiliar contacts in public places; tell your office or trusted colleagues your plans; and dress as an average citizen.

But even taking these cautionary steps is no guarantee.

When Christian Science Monitor reporter Jill Carroll went to a scheduled interview with a Sunni police officer, she wore a black hijab that hid her hair and Western clothes. She set up the meeting in an office in a neighborhood that was not on the "no go" list in Baghdad. She had even been to the office before. And she relied on both a translator and a longtime driver with the Monitor.

But when they left the office, they were blocked very quickly by a truck full of men pointing guns at them who then took Carroll. But it's what she did after the kidnapping that may have saved her life.

In a first person story for the Monitor, she talked about her attempt to connect with her captor.

"I was eager to make him like me and feel I was sympathetic to him, so much so that I began using more of my Arabic," she wrote. "He and the others marveled at how much of their language I seemed to have picked up in one day & I showed interest in learning.

Friday, August 11, 2006

McKinney Staffer Grabs 11Alive Photographer

from wxiaTV

Outgoing Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney returned to her campaign headquarters to address her supporters after midnight Tuesday, soon after some of her staffers scuffled with news photographers.

During her concession speech, McKinney said her mother was hurt and one of her staffers required stitches after members of the media hurt them during the night. Police were eventually called to the scene by 11Alive News.

As McKinney walked outside her campaign headquarters after losing her reelection bid to Hank Johnson, a boom microphone carried by a photographer struck members of McKinney's entourage. In the confusion, McKinney staffers struck an 11Alive photographer and knocked his camera equipment to the ground.

A short time later, the 11Alive news desk called 9-1-1 after some people followed an 11Alive staff member into the station's satellite truck outside the McKinney headquarters.

Earlier Tuesday, a McKinney staffer scuffled with another 11Alive photojournalist, who videotaped as McKinney supporters waved some signs while the Congresswoman remained in her vehicle.McKinney's staffers asked photographers to keep their distance -- which they did -- until McKinney rolled down her window and motioned to a reporter. The photographers approached, thinking she was about to give an on-camera interview.

At that point, a staffer again got between the vehicle and blocked the 11Alive photographer."That's right, and I'll touch you again, if you do it again," the staffer told 11Alive.

McKinney campaign chief John Evans vowed to investigate the earlier incident.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Local TV Cameras Banned from NFL Games

RTNA Members: This is an issue that the Board of Directors has been dealing with. We'll be discussing this at our September meeting; Thursday, September 7, 2006. All RTNA members are encouraged to attend and get involved.

NFL flags local TV cameras
New rule banning affiliates' game footage elicits protests
By Tim Tucker
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 08/06/06

The cameras of local television stations will be banned from NFL sidelines during games this season under a new league policy that has some Atlanta sportscasters fuming.

In the past, local stations have been allowed to shoot ground-level video during games for use on newscasts and highlight shows. But the 32 NFL owners unanimously voted earlier this year to ban local stations' cameras and crews from the sidelines during all games.

Under the new policy, local stations will have to get their game footage from the national network telecasts or from NFL Films or from pool cameras. Individual stations lose the ability to shoot footage during games for specific story angles.

Read the full story here.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Electronic Newsgathering Equipt to Change in Next Two Years

From Broadcasting & Cable Magazine.

The ENG Bonanza
By Glen Dickson

One vital link in the news-production chain is due for dramatic change over the next two years: the electronic newsgathering (ENG) equipment used to relay video from the field back to the studio.It's all going to be replaced, and paid for by wireless-phone giant Sprint Nextel.

That big change is happening because ENG is shifting from analog to digital microwave gear as part of an unusual $4.8 billion spectrum agreement the FCC brokered with Sprint Nextel in February 2005.

The deal moves some of Sprint Nextel's operations out of the 800 megahertz (MHz) frequency band, where its signals were interfering with public-safety communications. Sprint's frequency will become part of the 2 gigahertz (GHz) band. That's the part of the spectrum broadcasters currently use for ENG links.

To compensate broadcasters for moving off their ENG channels and converting to digital microwave gear on a smaller swath of spectrum, Sprint Nextel will pony up roughly $500 million for the equipment those stations will need. Digital ENG systems for standard news vans run $35,000-$50,000, plus the cost of multiple receive sites scattered around large cities; large-market stations may have 10 or more receive sites. Although Sprint Nextel is picking up the tab, broadcasters face an initial challenge in learning how to use the new digital ENG equipment.

Read the full story here.

Journalism Graduates Get Good News on Jobs Beat

From the LA Times:

Journalism Graduates Get Good News on Jobs Beat
By James Rainey,
Times Staff Writer
August 5, 2006

Newsrooms across the country may echo with gloom and doom, but journalism school graduates report better job prospects and a more positive outlook than at any time since the 2000 peak of the dot-com boom, according to a study released Friday.

More than 62% of those receiving bachelor's degrees in journalism in 2005 said they had found a job by late last year, up from 56% in 2003, according to the survey by the James M. Cox Jr. Center for International Mass Communication Training and Research. The center is based at the University of Georgia's Grady College.

"These students see web development, they see podcasting, they see all these technological developments as the way to the future," said Lee Becker, a journalism professor who oversees the survey. "They are not obsessed with worrying about the fate of one segment of the media."In fact, just less than 56% of the 2,754 graduates who responded to the Cox Center survey said they had read a newspaper "yesterday," compared with 82% in 1994.

Read the rest of the story here:

Friday, August 04, 2006

Radio News Consumption Down

from Radio World:

The number of people who say they “listened to radio news yesterday” fell from 47% in 1994 to 36% this year.That’s one of the statistics about media consumption in a report from the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press.

“The percentage getting news from any source is significantly lower than it was in the mid-1990s, before Internet news became popular,” the report continued. “Roughly eight-in-ten (81%) say they got news yesterday either from TV, newspapers, radio or by going online. That represents a slight decline from 2004 (85%), but a more substantial drop since 1994 (90%).”

Looking at the radio statistics by age: in the 18-29 demo, 26 percent said they listened to radio news yesterday, while 43% of those 30-49 said so. The percentage was 39% for those 50-64 and only 27% for those 65+.The average time spent “yesterday” with news on radio has been relatively stable, at 16 minutes in 2006 compared to 17 minutes 12 years ago.

Read the full story here.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Viewers Say TV News Lacks Credibility


Study: Viewers Say TV News Lacks Credibility

Anthony Crupi AUGUST 01, 2006 -

While American news audiences remain polarized by ideology, a new study finds that regardless of their individual political leanings, Americans are unilateral in their increasing skepticism about the credibility of all major TV news outlets.

According to the latest study from the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, fewer than a quarter of the 3,204 adults surveyed believe all or most of what they see on NBC News (23 percent), ABC News (22 percent) or CBS News (22 percent), continuing a downward trend in credibility that stretches back to the mid-1980s. For the sake of comparison, the Pew study conducted in 1998 found NBC and ABC tied as the most trusted broadcast news organizations, with 30 percent of those surveyed saying that believed what was reported on both networks. CBS News had a 28 percent approval rate eight years ago.

Cable has fared no better. Back in 1998, CNN boasted a stellar 42 percent approval rate, only to drop to 28 percent this year. Rival Fox News Channel has remained steady since it was first added to the Pew study in 2000; that year, 26 percent of respondents said they trusted FNC, a figure that is more or less consistent with the 25 percent approval rate in 2006.

(Read the entire story by clicking here:
Study: Viewers Say TV News Lacks Credibility)

Sportscasters at KFWB Laid Off


KFWB Sports Guys Benched.

Three veteran sports guys at KFWB were let go yesterday. Geoff Witcher has been in L.A. sports radio since 1969 and has been involved with every major L.A. sports team. Joe Cala has been at KFWB for decades. Bob Harvey spent 20 years in the Inland Empire, mostly at KCKC. He joined KFWB in 1984.

The guys are actually on the Metro Traffic payroll and this move apparently comes on the heels of a massive company-wide lay-off at Metro. When Metro was pitching to get the KFWB traffic business a decade+ ago, they agreed to take on their payroll the sports guys. The condition being that they would be paid no less than what they would have made with KFWB.This move prompts a number of question as to who will do the sports. They still have Bret Lewis in morning drive, Ted Sobel in middays and Bill Seward in afternoons, but that leaves evenings and weekends to be covered.

Metro is under contract to provide those services, according to Andy Ludlum, news director at KFWB. "A guy named Dave Joseph did the sports last night," emailed Andy. "I have not received samples of the people who are offered for the weekend. As is common in Metro/Station relationships, I approve the talent [can't be unreasonably withheld]. Bob Harvey will continue to do 'Covering the Bases' and weekend Dodger Talk as that was freelance work with KFWB."