Saturday, February 25, 2006

Not Much Local News

Is WKYC Channel 3 the Only Real News Station?

Why was WKYC TV the only television station to play the full State of the City Address by the Mayor? This seems like it is an important enough event that other stations should have broadcast the entire speech. I was not home, but did watch it on their website. I am not sure if it was only on their webcast or if they showed it on TV as well, but it was good that they felt it was important enough to have the entire speech broadcast. Thank you, but next time how about leaving the three partisans at home. We don't need to hear from Patmon, Weingard, and Eckhart. Three former politicians are the wrong people to comment on the state of the city. If anything they are part of the past that helped get us in the state we are in. How about hearing from a few teachers, or a janitor, laborer, and a temp. worker on their reflections on the Mayor's speech? Next time, maybe. I still think Tom Beres is the best of the television reporters.


Sunday, February 19, 2006

Plain Dealer Congrats

Plain Dealer Gives Space to a Homeless Individual...

There was a real fine piece in today's Plain Dealer. Of course, I am biased, but it refreshing to hear from citizen journalists (the basis for the Homeless Grapevine). Richard Swartz, one of the men who was sleeping at the airport, talked about his experiences. He wrote about how rough it was in the shelters. He talked about the reasons for sleeping at the airport. It was a very good piece--check it out in today's Forum section of the Plain Dealer. You should even spend the buck fifty to see the picture that goes with the story. It is a pic. by Scott Shaw that seems to represent how society has grown to ignore homelessness with a blur of three men in front of a white brick wall with a homeless individual sleeping on the sidewalk.

I hope that Mr. Swartz is rewarded with a good paying job for bearing his soul on the pages of the PD. He brings up a few issues that are constantly ignored by the mainstream social service providers. The need for pay to stay places with some degree of privacy, and the need for places that homeless people can store clothing and important documents. After 9/11 it became harder to afford storage. Greyhound stations became off limits and the other places with lockers raised their prices or closed all together. We had a homeless guy working on this issue in the past, but nothing ever materialized. I hope that Mr. Swartz keeps talking about these issues. Most homeless people are so traumatized by the experience that they never reflect on them after they find housing. Good luck Mr. Swartz, and thanks for the words.


Saturday, February 18, 2006

Rating the Television Websites

News Stations Websites:

Since we try to comment on local media, and it is very difficult to watch the local television stations with all the commercials, I rely on their websites for updates. So I am going to rank the three television news stations websites:

WKYC-TV Channel 3 Grade C+
They have a pretty clear and easy to use website. It seems as though there is a great deal of content missing, or it is quickly removed to avoid clutter. It would be better if they were archived by date. Their news section is available after only two clicks from their main site, which is good. They have both written content as well as some video content. There is not a great deal of clutter on the site. One problem is that the video is denied by Norton software so those have to be disabled to view the videos. This is not an issue for other video content on the web. They also do not have the commercials before viewing the video which is good. We get to see both the investigative stories and the best tv political reporter Tom Beres. Overall fair with room for improvement.

WEWS-TV Channel 5 Grade C
Their website is pretty clean and easy to use. There are very few videos available. Most stories are written content only. There are very few videos on the site. I like the news archives so you can view stories by the day they happened. The site seems to have all the news and investigative stories available. The big problem is that you have to disable Norton to get the videos to work. They have the commercials before the video, which is very, very bad. The other issue is that I could not get it to work using Mozilla. The videos only seem to work using Internet Explorer. They are very small with video distortion even when small. Leon Bibb looks like an alien from another planet with their video player. Needs work and they need more video content since they are a television station.

WJW-TV Fox Channel 8 Grade D-
Almost not a website. They have very little content, and no videos. They actually use AP stories for their news summaries. They do provide a portal for Fox TV national news, which lowers their score by one entire grade. Easy to access, but the layout is not very impressive. They do have the annoying ad in the same space as the content. When clicking on the archive the first thing that you see is some survey. The archive is below this form, which is easily missed. No chance to see any local Fox news reports or investigative reports. Very useless website. It is very hard to make fun of Fox 8 if they do not provide us the content.

Pretend News Station Review:
Channel 19/43 Tabloid Website Grade B-

Setting aside the poor content that is a sorry excuse for news they actually have a pretty good website. In fact, they have the best compared to the three real news stations. It is a little cluttered, and it would be better if they archived the story by date. The videos run without turning off Norton and they are clear. They lose points for having an advertisement before the video starts. When I click on a video, I am asking for that content, not an ad then that content. It is deceptive to put the advertising first. They seem to have all their stories on your website including those that are made up or exaggerations. They have a good feature that a viewer can click which videos they want to watch so that they run one after the other. Start doing real news and they would get to compete with the other television websites.


Saturday, February 11, 2006

Coordination of Fundraising??

How about an ideastream Reservoir?

In the past before the flood of good will that created the ideastream, there was no coordination of fundraising. So, when WCPN spent way too many hours asking for money one could switch to WKSU for relief. The same was true when the more sedate WKSU did their fund raising. No longer. For some reason, they are coordinating their fundraising and they seem to fall on the same days. This week we were treated with the valentine's day fund raiser. There are large numbers of single people, a great deal of divorced people, and those unhappily married who find Valentine's Day the worst day of the year. In fact, that group may be a majority. Do we have to tie fund raising to such a depressing day for so many?


Thursday, February 09, 2006

A Solution to NPR's Panhandling

Kevin E. Cleary

Clearly, NPR’s fund raising strategies need to be improved. Apparently, public airwaves were one of the few places Cleveland’s horrible Aggressive Solicitation Law didn’t cover in its prohibitions. As the Operations Manager for a program of a small non-profit, I understand that raising money is hard. But I would like to offer my humble suggestions here to relieve other listeners and to assist NPR’s fund raising efforts.

Much like the technology already exists for the United States to become more energy-independent (ethanol or bio-diesel hybrids, you hear me Detroit?), there already exists a technological solution to NPR’s seemingly rapidly recurring financial doldrums: the V-chip. If you were to effectively implement this tool of censorship, NPR’s pledge drives could disappear, in more ways than one.

Along with the other fabulous gifts NPR provides to donors, like coffee mugs and Driveway Moments anthologies, you should offer a specially modified V-chip. The V-chip will have a timer on it which equates roughly to the amount of money someone has donated. The V-chip will then block donation solicitation programming on NPR for a specified amount of time. Listeners who pony up with some funding get to skip the pledge drives. Free-riders have to endure the guilt-a-thons.

For instance, at the $30.00 level, a loyal listener could be rewarded with a month’s worth of nag-free programming. At the $500.00 level, a loyal listener could be given the gift of a year without pledge drives and their choice of a year without Prairie Home Companion or Tales from Lake Wobegone. If you’d like to reach conservative pockets, you could offer a “Red”-chip for $1000.00 or so that blocks all criticism, constructive or otherwise, of the Bush administration and its policies.

I think this solution works to everyone’s benefit. NPR will gain significantly as more donations flood member stations like WCPN, loyal listeners will get a pass on the pledge drives, and I will have the satisfaction of helping to keep NPR’s engaging and informative programming on the air. All I ask in return is another fantastic coffee mug and a free lifetime pledge drive pass; or failing that, some free air time to solicit money for The Homeless Grapevine.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

When is a Blog Not a Blog...

Is the Plain Dealer political blog really a Blog??

I just got back from Washington D.C. and checked in on the site. If you start a blog and do not allow comments is that really a blog? Are they afraid that it will damage their ego if some jerk calls the "almost-bloggers" a jerk? I do not understand why some of the notes are not covered as stories in the real paper? Do they not have enough sources to be considered legitimate journalism? There are all these different voices covering politics in the almost-blog, but there are only a couple of stories in the actual Plain Dealer about politics. What are the rest of these guys doing at the paper? Are some of these almost-bloggers janitors or mechanics at the paper? I like the insight, but I do not understand any of it. There is no explanation of the standards used for these "almost-blogs."


Are They Sending Us Secret Codes....?

Lots of Sexual harassment on WCPN

I could be wrong, but I do not remember any stories about sexual harassment on WCPN in the last few years. Now, in the last three weeks we have had at least two maybe three hours dedicated to the subject. Are the women at the station sending us a secret coded message? Is there some bad behavior going on at the station and these shows are a call for help? Should we call the police?


Sunday, February 05, 2006

Let the Sweeps Weeks Begin

The Tabloid TV Station Opens with a Body Check

Sweeps weeks opens with Channel 19 out for blood and it does not matter if an intern gets hurt. They had the nerve to do a live feed from in front of Fox 8 headquarters off East 55th to bring us the hot story that months ago an intern was sexually assaulted. This is a horrible crime that should not be cheapened for ratings during sweeps weeks. Would this have made the news if this intern at any other company in the city, and would the story have been held until February sweeps weeks? The "report" allowed some cheap shots at the competition under the guise of caring about a young intern.

Again, we have the issue of creating news where it does not really exist, which seems to be an epidemic at Channel 19. The worst was the soap opera style re-enactment of the events. [By the way, we are not watching these painful assaults on television news, but downloading them online.] If William Randolph Hearst were alive and involved in television, he would own a Action 19 News in every city in America. If the attack on Fox 8 is the first of sweeps week, what do we have to look forward to with future broadcasts? A human sacrifice or maybe just a re-enactment of an execution?