We heard it all the time: “You radio guys don’t know what news is.” “You radio guys don’t give any depth and perspective.” “You TV guys are all flash and hairdos.”
The first time we hired a newspaper guy to work in radio, a nice fella named Paul, he taped an interview that went on for what seemed like hours. He asked good questions. But far too many. In the end, he had a huge reel of tape (yes, tape!) and didn’t know where to start editing.
Today, the demands of the internet are knocking old time print guys to the canvas. Many of them just don’t have the speed.
Wire service people do. Radio guys do. Television guys do.
Newspapers are fast dying. The mechanics of print just can’t keep up with those electrons.
Radio also is dying. That leaves a lot of fast fingers and mouths ringing registers instead of bulletin bells.
But it also leaves a huge but aging pool of people who know how to push out a story. And they can teach it. Not in J-School, but on the job. And this is where newspapers which eventually have to rely completely on the internet as their presses turn to rust have to turn for the expertise they lack.
Oh, sure… the big players have come a long way in the speed departments. But for every Boston Globe there are a hundred smaller papers that need help.
Think of it! The depth of a newspaper report with the speed of radio!
But attention editors and publishers: you’d better act fast. As noted, the talent pool is aging as old timers become older timers and get comfortable selling cars, houses or burial plots, or learn to say “Hello, My name is Walter and I’ll be serving you tonight.”
The speed we’re talking about took years to take root. It took years to grow. And if you let it fade with the current generation… it’ll be gone.
Gotta visit cities with real all news radio: New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Washington, Los Angeles, Seattle, Detroit.
Instead of watching CNN to learn what’s happening “now,” watch to see how they do it. Tour their newsrooms. You may then see how to put out a 500 word story and add to it later -- if you need to add to it at all.
Meantime, we broadcast dinosaurs will sit on the sidelines, remember the good old days when we were second class citizens and you were all smugness and superiority.
--Let’s look at the “radio is dead” picture from another angle. It appears not to be true of our northern most state, Canada. This time of year late at night you can tune to 740 a.m. anywhere in the northeast and get to hear what I mean.
--Speaking of allegedly antiquated business models, have you heard the reports that Amazon.com plans to open a retail store on 34th St. in Manhattan? We’ve been awaiting that news since devising the Wessays™ Amazon Theory. It proposes that they’re going to try to do to Wal-mart what Wal-mart has done to everyone else.
I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
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© WJR 2014