Category Archives: Cox Media Plantation

Tip Your Huge Media Market Giant

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A team of reporters from WSB-TV Channel 2 television news was there; someone apparently tipped them off to the arrest beforehand. The station has had exclusive access to the court proceedings since then.

Handcuffs01_2003-06-02

Now I can’t speak to the matter of terrorism-related charges brought on anyone, let alone a Clayton County, Georgia woman who wanted to kill all the whities via YouTube. (Although this particular burden never stops Matthew Charles Cardinale, the editor of Atlanta Progressive News. But he’s in law school now, so off he goes. Go Matthew go.)

I can, however, speak to the stinky little underhanded and exploitative way in which virtually all federal and state-related arrest media straight out of Atlanta (that good ‘n juicy perp-walk stuff) gets handed to market-dominating WSB-TV (Cox Enterprises) alone, on a silver platter, by someone at WSB-TV’s brother who happens to work in federal (or state) law enforcement.

So let’s recap: someone who works in government serves up exploitative tidbits to a single, for-profit entity, Cox Enterprises. Over and over and over again.

This sleight-of-media-hand trick has been going on in the Atlanta media market for decades: exclusive access to media/news-gathering opportunities (those folk in big trouble with the law) which no doubt many other players in this same media market would also love to exploit for their organization’s financial gain.

May be legal, but it ain’t right.

Delta Bashing Makes Editorial Data Fly High

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Delta Bashing Makes Editorial Data Fly High

Here’s a fun, Atlanta-specific, advertising/sales v. editorial modern media dilemma!

Clearly, anything related to Delta-bashing, particularly Delta‘s frequent flyer program SkyMiles, makes data go hog wild. As it did with some impressive CTR numbers I sent to the Atlanta Business Chronicle from my Facebook alone. (See graphic below. If you don’t know what CTR means by now, you shouldn’t be in the ad/sales side of the media biz. However, old fogey journos, I will give you a pass on it.)

DeltaFF

I’ve yet to notice the AJC cranking out any of this trendy SkyMiles-bashing editorial product as did, rather gleefully, the Biz Chron. WABE also seems to have caught an editorial-minded whiff of blood in angry Delta customers’ waters.

(I can only dream of one day running a company whose profit margin and stock price chronically deflect the hatred of its own customer base! But let’s move on.)

And why would the AJC jump on the I Really Hate Delta! bandwagon? Delta’s a fine, legacy, ad-buying customer for the AJC and all of Cox Enterprises. I expect what Delta wants by now, editorially speaking, at the AJC or WBS, Delta’s going to get. Or have quietly overlooked. Barring plane-related disaster media, of course.

But there’s your data-driven media rub right there. As what the people want, editorially and as displayed by the numbers, is hardly what your dearest ad buyer would like to have lying around the house.

Torn loyalties. ATL style.

The Historical Legacy of WSB-TV Production

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WSBTVVoterF

After pondering the despicable act by despicable people of attempting to suppress the black vote in the year 2014, in Georgia of all places, take a media moment with me as I say something nice about a Cox product: WSB-TV.

The above (click the pic of Junior Farmer to get to the video) is excellent news reporting and packaging of a complex issue breaking that day (yesterday 9/17/14). As it gets immediately to the heart of a complex and historical matter, the key players, the SOTs, and the visuals.

This type of deft political production work, by WSB-TV’s political reporter Lori Geary and her production team, could not have been done without a longstanding, working knowledge of the issues on deck for the day’s news coming down – to be able to turn around this kind of comprehensive media that fast. In other words, sit back and watch professionals do their thing, cub reporting wannabees.

Knowing exactly who to get to, in a precise and time-thrifty way, and who to focus on and zoom to in the contemporary Georgia/Atlanta political arena, is editorial and production tandem work sourced from a unique and historic talent base that exists almost exclusively in WSB-TV’s deep-benched, legacy production crew. It’s hard to duplicate that level of precision political packaging elsewhere, in other words.

And it’s something we see often with WSB-TV’s political reporting. Not just yesterday’s. They know their civil rights history and legends behind the scenes there, as their production crews have lived, worked and played around Atlanta for a very long time. If one loses a career cameraman or director of 40-years at a place like WSB-TV, they take a lifetime of some mighty historical production expertise with them. And that’s simply not replaceable with an iPhone and an intern.

Tip of the hat indeed, as TV political reporting tends to take a back seat to the more easily social-shared written word. And folk who take politics and media seriously are dismissive of Cox-derived TV news, so tainted they are by a self-directed reputation founded from featuring senseless violence, self-promotion, and roadkill carnage over more civic-minded news.

It’s important to remember that visuals and sound working together, as opposed to radio/print/static screens, are also important to a highly nuanced political story, particularly a voter fraud/voter suppression story from the south. Especially in a state with a mighty history of dubious political legacies, ghosts and legends.

Don’t miss it.

The Craptastic Digital Life Of The AJC

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ComingSundayAJC

Don’t vote? Then don’t complain about politicians.

No doubt you’ve heard that one before. Exactly why I never miss a voting opportunity, as I sure don’t like missing out on a good political whine.

But the matter of digital at the AJC.com (and other Cox digital products too, but I’ll worry about the others later) has gone beyond whining to just embarrassment at and for our flagship, hometown, news delivery outlet. (I’d call it a paper, but I’m not referencing any print product here. Just the digital stuff.)

I think of gorgeous pictures from the Atlanta Beltline lantern parade last night that could have enticingly filled out a compelling homepage this morning, 9-7-14, shifting to exciting sports-related photos later in the day to enhance the Falcons’ season opener, alongside the numerous political stories from the week in some kind of overview wrap-up. And, yes, even that craptastic Ross Harris (the dad accused of murder-by-hot-car) story somewhere in an appealing homepage-in-my-head Sunday edition presentation… and well, I just wanna cry for what could be AJC.com. And WSB-TV.com too. (They should be one e-product really, but that’s another rant altogether.)

When you don’t give a shit about digital, guess what? It shows! “Coming Sunday” on Sunday, plus all the cliched copy and grade school headlining imaginable? Gawd, today’s AJC digital product is so pitiful I wouldn’t dream of sharing it with my social network; I’d rather bury it out behind the woodshed.

My head is reeling, because the hard-working journalists, the few left around there, the proud, have done plenty of heavy journalistic lifting all through the past week, especially regarding the nasty level of corruption all through Georgia state and local politics. There’s been great work from numerous Cox employees reporting a massive amount of hanky panky straight out of DeKalb County, our bustling courtrooms, the AG’s and the governor’s offices, etc.

Only to piss it away on digi-crap you see a sample of in the above picture/screen grab. And on a Sunday too, the prime news reading and media consuming day for a serious journalism audience. And I’m not even highlighting their hideous homepage, whatever’s there, or not, now. Nor the online AJC’s rampant level of daily copyediting (or lack thereof) boo-boos. I’m scared to go back to their weekend-neglected homepage.

Since I gave-up on the AJC’s digital presentation with my croissant, second cup, and screens this morning, I thought about buying the paper product with which to properly absorb the Georgia political and otherwise news of a busy past week.

Not now. I’ll just put my $2.50 towards a NYT and call it a Sunday.

Atlanta, We Have A Media Problem

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I am deeply concerned about the dire condition of metro Atlanta online news outlets owned by the Cox Plantation (CP). Specifically the AJC and WSB-TV. Their homepaged car wreck carnage-media obsession is off the rails. Kinda literally, eh? I won’t bother to steal their freak show media and post it, or link to it, here though.

Headlining, banners, Tweets, Facebook posts, photos, alerts, whatever, on both sites (I don’t dare check on the broadcast product) are mostly scenes and shoutouts to ragingly gruesome car wrecks where people are mangled. To death. On our many metro Atlanta roadways. A never-ending supply of human roadkill. The more people killed in a single car, the more twisted and maimed the scene, so much the better for the Cox Plantation clickbait keyboard monkeys. And management too. More on that later.

But the CP will fall behind the times if they don’t soon turn their sicko and ghoulish headlining into that related to — suicide! The NYT (CDC) reports today that suicide rates in America have now surpassed death by car wreck. And this being Georgia, surely we’re way up on the top of that particular mortality listing, too.

Thus, the CP should have a good supply of suicide scene media for their homepages. Slide shows galore. The more hideous and bloody a suicide scene, the better for the CP. Suicide by gun can get top billing. Maybe even an award-winning (sure, tell the clueless intern that) shot of a family member discovering the scene of a relative hanging, dead of course, in a closet, if they’re lucky?

And if they’re really enterprising at the AJC or WSB-TV, their camera-burdened reporter bot/intern can sneak in some place and grab video of, hopefully for the management and data-watching team, some shotgun-blast-to-the-head video!

Hope it goes viral for them. Someone will get a pat on the head for their good-dog suicide scene multimedia efforting. Go for it, kiddies. And management too.

After all, it’s CP management that has allowed their deplorable, clickbaited editorial condition to deteriorate into mostly digital online news content that reeks of disgust and carnage.

SEO, Exclusives, And The Atlanta School Gunman

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Suffering from a case of what we in Atlanta call “Coxitis”, WSB-TV has been crowing, in their balls-to-the-wall coverage of the August 20, 2013 Ronald E. McNair Discovery Learning Academy incident, of how the gunman asked that WSB-TV be called.

This is not exactly how WSB-TV came by a call to their assignment desk from the person who turned out to be an excellent hostage negotiator – McNair Academy’s bookkeeper, Antoinette Tuff, who’s compassionate ability to talk the gunman out of his harmful intentions at the elementary school likely saved lives in Atlanta.

In her subsequent interview with WSB-TV’s Jovita Moore, Ms. Tuff recounts what the obviously troubled man ordered her to do when she was with him yesterday.

Seems WSB-TV’s assignment desk got the call because of SEO (Search Engine Optimization), and not because the gunman specifically asked for WSB-TV.

From the Tuff interview, 4:30 to 5:11 on the tape: 

Jovita Moore, WSB-TV: “That was another part of this. He [the gunman] told you to call Channel 2. He said, ‘Call Channel 2!'”

Antoinette Tuffs, McNair Academy bookkeeper: “He told me to call one of the news stations. But I asked him which one, it was so many. And he said, ‘I don’t care. Just call one!’ And so I said, ‘I don’t have a number.’ He said, ‘I have a number.’

And so I was like ok, and I was just sitting there and this time just praying. And he said, ‘Well, call somebody!’

And so I start looking on the Internet, and I said ‘Well, Channel 2 is here. And Channel 5 is here.’ And I was like, ok, I got to the first number and it was Channel 2, and so I called Channel 2. And he says, ‘Tell them this: Tell them to get out here.'”

Crowing about an exclusive media event is fine. We all do it. But it’s best to get one’s crow-able story straight before launching into hyper promotional warp speed mode.

Loose DeKalb Lips Make Waves (Of Oppression) For AJC

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Ahoy! Botched metaphor. I know.

Loose lips might sink ships, circa 1942, but they never torpedoed any ships of journalism. To the contrary. Lip flappers, whistleblowers, gossips and media whores power and embolden entire journalism empires, causing ships to rise off of copy tides. Just look at the numbers for the Guardian empire lately. Off the charts!

Over in less high profile seas, say here down South, in today’s 1-minute news cycle there really is no such thing as a genuine “scoop” brought about by wildly exclusive information. Except when there (rarely) is, of course.

But don’t tell that to the powers-that-be at the AJC, as they’re lashing any remaining, hardworking reporter-bees left on their deck to the mast and thrashing them mightily, as punishment for having failed to sight enough scoops in their cruddy little scopes.

Two independent sources have now told me how Atlanta Journal & Constitution reporters, good ones, are being “written up” (or threatened with some type of disciplinary action) for failing to bring home the bacon fast enough. Failing to reel in genuine news “scoops.”

(“Scoops” being 100% exclusive 411 about specific, non-public events – but before the event occurs, allowing for a news organization to be first out of the gate on disseminating word of that particular news situation; to “own the story” in other words, something that’s increasingly hard to do in our hyper-connected world unless Edward Snowden or Julian Assange just happens to waltz by your office and dump raw intel on your desk. And “written up” being a documented threat by one’s superior to take away one’s job, rank, authority, paycheck and/or general livelihood should you, the super’s underling, not perform in some sort of, subjectively, better manner.)

Mark Winne at WSB-TV, for example, often gets genuine scoops about soon-to-be-made arrests by various Georgia law enforcement, and is thus frequently the first and only reporter in place for that classic, high-value video, law enforcement-enhancing moment – ye olde perp walk.

Of course it’s one of those open secrets in Atlanta old media circles that Winne’s brother is an FBI or GBI agent (I forget which agency) who tips his family member, Mark, off to lots of special events soon to happen. If that’s the case, they’ve had a lock on a good-visuals franchise for years now, and will continue at that game for as long as the gig works, I suppose.

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