Category Archives: Events

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.

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Google Glass — Can I Get A Witness?

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Don’t get me wrong, I can’t stand gardening. But the first thing that came to mind when I put on Google Glass was my mother’s organic garden.

You won’t catch me outside in broiling 98-degree southern humidity struggling to hack through a dense, painfully stinging row of okra, or pulling nasty, squirming wormy things off dozens of tomato bushes. No siree! But you will catch my mother doing that crazy stuff. For hours on end, day after day, week after week, throughout the south’s high summer months.

That said, if you can get past the oppressive heat and humidity there really is no more verdant and glorious vision of bounty, robust health and natural beauty than a southern organic garden at its summer harvesting peak.

Thus the thought of me strolling, beatifically wired, through rows of an organic garden in full, wearing a pair of Glass with my mother narrating the purvey and provenance of every lush plant and vegetable, set my pan-media-tuned mind into high and sunny gear.

Who wouldn’t want to document and share that kind of rich media in our connected world? To be fresh content-enabled, breezily so, by merely putting on glasses, something I’ve done every day since I was 7-years old anyway.

One of the great things about living near the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech, of course) is participating in some of the innovations and events churned from there. Whether beta testing products in development, networking, attending concerts or lectures, there’s a wealth of experience and knowledge available to the university’s surrounding community, so last night (July 11) I hopped over to nearby startup nurturer, Flashpoint on West Peachtree Street.

There, Randy J. Mitchell, the founder and CEO of Plisten, along with Google and Hypepotamus, hosted a meetup for Google Glass developers and designers. My friend/mentor and sometime colleague, veteran political reporter Tom Baxter, who’s always up for some new media-creation adventures, tagged along too.

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Facebook – Cox Media Farm Slayer

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I figure the Cox Media Farm’s AJC will eventually be folded, gradually or maybe not, into WSB. Here’s a great example of the process at work today.

Right now we’re seeing a stage of patronizing redundancy, with two Cox Media Farm products producing like-minded content… on the same page/URL. That too will pass. As the AJC passes into WSB broadcasting, Internet-minded properties.

Why? Cox needs a Bo Emerson (byline on the copy/text stuff) the way I need another Clinique giveaway lipstick. I’ve got six New Shade of Grape in the basket as it is.

Why have a Bo Emerson only banging-out redundant, old-school style text… in a high-speed Internet media kinda world?

Anything he’s alerted us to, in this piece, is readily available on Facebook. Which has 800 million users now. And growing. If you desperately need to ask a question about who got there first (to the park protest tonight, for example) you’d just Tweet ’em.

Even way up in the air in his Gulfstream James Cox Kennedy (JCK) can see those kinda numbers. He’d better make hay with mommy’s money for his family while he can, as soon even WSB properties will be redundant and superfluous. We simply will not need them. Already, plenty of us do not.

But back to the present tense. Can you take a Bo Emerson and make him, say, a video journalist? Hand him a SLR and a tripod? Probably. Especially if he was straight outta J-school. He is not. Bo Emerson is a well-seasoned journalist.

One who’d better start banging out some other kinda media product, e-books maybe in his case, if he hasn’t already. (Trust me, as a seasoned multimedia-ist, it ain’t brain surgery, but I diverge.)

So thus Emerson’s wages are, presumably, already way too high, even though I seriously doubt JCK is overpaying anyone on staff with his mommy’s money.

And with J-schools cranking-out even more eager beaver kids with journalism degrees than ever before, cheap content-churning monkeys are merely… a job board away.

Anyway, James Cox Kennedy (JCK) isn’t the least bit interested in journalism and piddly, cumbersome product such as the AJC. He says as much in this 2002 interview.

Nope, JCK’s a cable/broadcast kinda guy. Although I bet he’s trying to be the best Internet content kinda guy he can be by now. To go with all those Internet supply chains he already owns. But Facebook’s pre-emptied so much of the grand plan of any good old-school media tycoon.

And that makes a Bo Emerson, and even Gal With The Pink Faux Chanel Jacket, well, superfluous. Cox Media Farm too, come to think about it.

As should we need to tune-in fresh media from the Occupy Atlanta movement tonight at 6pm we need only click, once, to its Facebook page… or those of its 4K-plus followers.

And we’ll do so with our Apple product and some (free if we can find it) wi-fi, not some big fat TV that comes complete with a whopping cable bill.

Old Field Producer’s Hurricane Coverage Survival Tips

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1.) Bring a large bag of quarters with you when heading out to the hurricane. Upon arrival, immediately use it to empty out the hotel hallway vending machine before all the other journos get there.

2.) Never leave the hotel. If you must leave, then never leave the crew van. Satellite trucks are preferred vehicles. They don’t blow over too easily.

3.) Satellite truck operators always stash extra rain gear in truck. Steal it when they’re not looking.

4.) If you can’t bring yourself to steal stuff, barter for extra rain gear with booty from vending machines. You’ll need it. Snickers bars are most valuable.

5.) Bring extra AA batteries and extra dry tube socks (men’s). Use for currency to get first feed priviledges from sat. truck operator if only one truck is operational for entire country’s network news providers.

6.) Don’t look in other journos’ hotel rooms. You want to be able to say you know nothing when all of you are returned to civilian life.

7.) Make friends with the fattest first-responder in charge first. They won’t want to have to walk anywhere either, and they may offer you a ride in their super-duper motorized whatever.

8.) Bring drugs, beer and ice. Share only with those who’s hotel rooms have all four walls left.

9.) Law-enforcement will lie their butts off to journalists. For sport. Never trust them for start/end presser times. Or for directions.

10.) Everyone around you will wig-out from stress and sleep-dep long before you do because they all think they’re too important to the disaster recovery effort for sleep. Get your 8-hours and they’ll make you president by Week 2.

11.) Stay on-scene post-hurricane as long as you possibly can. Milk the post-disaster scene for all the dopey, cliched features you can. Your paycheck, once you load all your OT onto your time sheet, will do the happy dance when you do get back.

12.) Never drink until you’ve fed everything to NY. And the sat. truck has powered down. If NY desk calls you to feed something after you’ve started drinking tell them the sat. truck has to save gas for the morning shows.

13.) Buy the hotel bar a round by first or second night on scene. During a hurricane it’ll just be full of other media. They’ll get you back when you’re all still there 10 days later.

14.) Don’t forget to get your mean, grouchy, sleep-deprived cameraperson to get the final shot when all is said and done.

  • EXAMPLE: When Dr. Bob Sheets finally left the broadcast desk at the National Hurricane Center after two solid weeks of around-the-clock coverage before, during and after Hurricane Andrew (in which his own home had been destroyed) one veteran network news producer had the great cinematic sense to order his cameraman to get the shot of Sheets laying down the lav mic and walking away.

15.) Try not to swagger in front of the desk jockeys when you get back to the newsroom.

Upcoming State of Media Forum In Atlanta

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On Sept. 15, 2011 I will be speaking on a panel hosted by the marketing division of the Technology Association of Georgia (TAG). This is titled: The State of the Media: Traditional, New Media, and Analyst Panel.

Registration for that panel discussion/breakfast is here. More deets are not yet available. Hope to see  you there!

And I’ll add more deets about the rest of the panel when TAG adds more to their page on this particular panel. They crank through about 5 panels a day, so it seems, at TAG, so updating each one could take a little time. Be patient.

The Tooting of the Atlanta and Georgia Journalism Horns

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Many heartfelt congrats to my Faceboook friends who won awards for their reporting last night at the The Atlanta Press Club’s annual Awards in Excellence.

Including: Dale Russell for being Dale Russell and just so gosh darn Dale Russell-y. (And other things, of course.) Jim Burress for Best Radio Reporter/Eagle bar raid reporting. Alan Judd and his AJC colleague, Heather Vogell, won Journos ‘O Year (2010) for their (ongoing, eh?) reporting on the APS cheating scandal.

Thomas Wheatley was nominated in Best Online/Multimedia reporting, and should have won for his constant gardening over at the terrific Fresh Loaf blog, but whatever. He was far more gracious about some other person winning than I was, on his behalf.

I was delighted to meet newer FB and Twitter pals face-to-face for the first time too, such as Mr. Burress and Mr. Charles Edwards, both of WABE radio here in the ATL. And the innovative and interesting Ms. Orit Sklar.

Journalism is alive and well in the ATL. But there is no Men’s Warehouse kinda guarantee that it will stay that way forever. Or even through next week.

A bad editor could pull a great reporter off of a key beat. The elderly people in the biz might continue to ignore innovations in journalism-related technology. The recession could continue for decades. The AJC could add more layers of dopey bureaucracy, with their finger on the pulse of, for example, just Walton County.

We must support the troops out there in the fields. Lordy knows there’s enough muck to rake through in this town to keep the journalism industry here flourishing… with our support. Do what you can.

That is all. Back to work. Complete list of winners on Facebook here.

Georgia New Media Notes March 31, 2011

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Several new media things jump out today… Facebook is such an amazing tool for tracking legislation going through the legislative process. The Sunday Sales/Senate Bill 10 may or may not be before the Rules Committee today.  Advocates such as Rich Sullivan and co. are at the Georgia State Capitol now Tweeting and posting Facebook updates about this one bill’s progress.

Lobbyista, media, advocates and ordinary folk, take note! Could save tons on tasseled loafer polishing costs by not having to hoof it along the hallways of the Gold Dome. Watch and learn from the comfort of your connection.

Then again, just being at the Capitol on a busy day is exciting in itself. Go live and in person whenever you can. Just report back for us what is going on… as it happens. Social media tools make it very easy to do. (They’ve got great wi-fi at the Dome.)

Other quick note… when giving interviews to text-only outlets avoid passive language, such as Michael Bond’s here. While it’s earnest, and might work in a broadcast environment, it always prints bad.

Councilman Michael Julian Bond pointed out that Sandy Springs and DeKalb County have full government participation and the continual council snubs are “almost getting to the point where it is beginning to be offensive.”

Elsewhere, Bob Barr believes in the intended effects of mass media propaganda. The best money can buy. Cute, huh?

One more… from what I hear, bloggers are already revolting on donating free content to @11AliveNews/@gannett‘s Where U Live project. Must give back, news farms! Must. Think of better ways to give back to the blogger (on-air time comes to mind), and you might get more better content from ’em.

Today is the deadline to nominate your fave Georgia journo/blogger now for The Atlanta Press Club 2010 awards. It’s easy to do.

That’s it for the morning. Make it a great use of new media day!