Sunday, August 28, 2005

Best, Best Wishes...

...To everyone assigned to stick around and report and shoot and edit on this Hurricane Katrina about to hit land in Louisiana. TV, radio and print.

I got an email tonight about Jeff Baskin, KOIN's new weatherman, who was leaving the Fox station in New Orleans to come to Portland. Tonight was supposed to be his final night on the air at WVUE. For obvious reasons, his old station needs every meteorologist it can get its hands on, so his start in Portland is delayed.


Friday, August 26, 2005

Bits and Pieces

  • Portland is now the 23rd largest TV market in the country, according to Nielsen. That's big news, considering how many national advertisers make a top 25 market buy. If Portland had slipped behind, say Baltimore and Indy, it would have cost some sales people a car.

  • Someone is advertising on Craig's List for newspaper advertising sales people. "Northwest Meridian Media is bringing to market Oregon’s only mass market newspaper targeted at readers who are tired of the media being monopolized by liberal and socialist ideologues that laud any misguided plan by government as progressive and apologize on their behalf for their miserable failures." I wonder what that really means and who is behind it.

  • PAX's 10pm news will be no more. KGW will start producing a 10pm newscast for Portland's WB starting October 3. KGW talent, WB's air signal. While no one can predict that it will bump the juggernaut that is Fox12 Oregon, it is likely to get better ratings than when it ran on PAX. In the May book, PAX delivered a .1 rating for its 9pm program and the news did a 1.4/2. WB's 9pm shows averaged 3.1.

  • And KOIN had its 3rd union vote since May. KOIN's management challenged the fact that this time, producers and assignment editors were among those voting to unionize. Would someone let us know the vote total and what's behind the challenge?

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Seattle Monthly?

Thought you'd want to see this from the Seattle Times.

Seems Ms. Vogel (not Mr. Vogel, I stand corrected) has her eye on a bigger prize.

Considering all the posts we got from folks about how much they pay writers (or don't), do you think that market is duly warned?

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

A Snack

A couple of things to chew on while I reconfigure:

Please join in with b!X, my friend Betsy at Metroblogging Portland and Blue Oregon to think about the O's September makeover. Is it for OregonLive? The paper itself (think Tuesday's Metro)?

Also, KOIN's parent company Emmis got rid of most of its TV stations this week, just not KOIN or the two stations it owns in Honolulu or the stations in Orlando, New Orleans, Wichita and Topeka. KOIN employees see three options - sold to Gannett (which is very interested), sold to the man who runs the TV ops now (who they believe is the architect of their demise), or kept in the Emmis fold.

Sunday, August 21, 2005


Monday, August 15, 2005

Time for a Break

The last post showed we CAN have a thoughtful discussion about what we do without the name calling.

I'm going to take a week to breathe and decide if I can keep this going.

Let us continue with this, until we meet again:

If there was another daily newspaper in Portland, what would you want it to do differently from the Oregonian? What more do you need from the O?

If you needed radio to keep you up to speed every hour (and at the "bottom of the hour"), what would that sound like? Does OPB do it? Do the other station managers really care about their news product?

What do we expect from weeklies like the Trib, Willamette Week and the Merc?

If TV news must cover crime because it's easy to do, what is the one thing KOIN or KGW or KPTV or KATU could add or do better to make it worth watching? Those of you in TV, what must we do to break the cycle at the morning meeting or when the scanner screams?

And add this: What do the various local news website need to make you come back to visit?

See you soon.

Thursday, August 11, 2005


I have learned the value of this site to some, and the responsibility.

There are so many issues we've discussed that as I re-read from the May start, I see the value in talking about what matters to us in the media, the reaction from those who need us (PR and marketing folks), and regular viewers and readers who found this.

There have been a number of times when people whose job it is to disseminate have asked those who don't to stay out. If you read the fine print up above, it was always my intention to let everyone in. I think we learn more when we listen to others.

I have been loudly criticized for editing (censoring) comments that I felt were so off point to be obscene (I get to choose), or disrespectful or redundant. I make no apologies, and if those folks don't like it, they are welcome to do what I do. There are dozens of places for you to write a blog yourself.

I think we have found here that we have an imperfect media market - where our enormous daily (the O) struggles for the credibility it needs, where our weeklies (WWeek, Trib and Merc) have issues about finances or editorial/financial judgement, where the growing trend in TV news plays more to the fear factor than as a mirror on our region, and where local radio is becoming, slowly, obsolete.

No matter what the subject, everything is interesting.

I thank those of you who have taken time to write and express your thoughtful opinions, your look at the history of media in Portland, and your hopes for its future.

I have listened (I think) to some who want me to challenge, more than condemn, or take pot shots.

So let's take this into Friday and beyond - If there was another daily newspaper in Portland, what would you want it to do differently from the Oregonian?

If you needed radio to keep you up to speed every hour (and at the "bottom of the hour"), what would that sound like?

If TV news needed to cover crime because it's easy, what is the one thing a station like 12 or KATU could add that would make it worth watching?

Thanks for stopping by.

Portland Monthly

Word on the street is that the uber successful Portland Monthly Magazine has pushed its new editor Louise Lague out the door. Something about not fitting (sounds too familiar).

I guess working in New York with People and other highly popular publications wasn't enough to save Louise. She just got to Portland a short while ago.

My sources say PM has lots of pluses and minuses in the exec suite - the plus being Mr. Vogel, the minus being Ms. Vogel.

From where I sit, they put out a shiny product that someone in line at the store is always grabbing. And they look like they are doing very well in securing the upscale advertiser.

Do any PM insiders know the real story and want to share?

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Stanford vs. WWeek

I wonder if it was too late for the Willamette Week to respond to Tuesday's shot across the bow by Phil Stanford.

If you didn't catch it, he questioned WW's readership numbers vs. the Trib (one paper a week versus two?) and then he talked about numbers of pages - it's always about size isn't it?

What do you think that's about? Is Phil now the official apologist for the Trib?

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Anchors (Follow Up)

As I read the posts about Portland anchors (and yes, they don't hold a candle to Mr. Jennings, RIP), some people suggested that Lars was the best local anchor in recent memory. As a friend once told me, there are no more anchors, just lures.

I would suggest the following and have some questions:

Lars was a great reporter before he became an anchor before he became a card-carrying member of the Talking Points crowd.

Mike Donahue was/is the best anchor to calm Portland during a major crisis (Mt. Hood tragedy - Mt St Helens 1980.

Tracy Barry and Kathy Smith were/are the best female anchors to front newscasts in Portland.

Steve Dunn is the best current anchor doing M-F.

Pete Ferryman/Kim Maus are the best morning team, ever, in Portland.

I don't know Richard Ross (although I heard he was Mr. Rose Festival).

What did Shirley Hancock bring to KOIN - and did her lawsuit help female anchors in the market?

Who among the newbies are stepping up to the plate?

Monday, August 08, 2005

Peter Jennings

The passing of Peter Jennings is more than the exit from life of a journalist who had an extraordinary career, it marks the end of a long era in TV news.

Gone is the anchor who can draw viewers by his (and unfortunately, mostly it's been men) presence and command of the day's events. The obituaries noted that he was the last of the "Big 3" to leave the air, and I suspect we will never again see anchor luminaries like Huntley-Brinkley, Cronkite, Douglas Edwards, Rather, Brokaw,, again.

In our fair city, I think it's fair to say we no longer have anyone on the air who we need to see every night. Gone are the days of "did you hear what Jeff said" or "wasn't Tracy really calming as she talked about the mountain tragedy" or "doesn't Mike really know Oregon."

We don't care. We don't see anchorpeople as central to our lives because we've come to get our information from where we want it - we don't have a favorite station (for the most part) based on who reads the news. We come to a station because of time or convienence or something else. Although I've posted here many times that KOIN would do well to bring Donahue back in a daily anchor role, I doubt he'd make more than a blip on the radar for a few days, with viewers making their decisions on how they feel about KOIN as a whole, not one man. When KOIN brought Kelley Day back, the numbers went up, for a day. We know what they've done since.

Anchors are pretty much gatekeepers to the next live shot anymore, and producers and managers rarely give them time to show off expertise. At the Today show, as that broadcast is seeing its numbers drop, its new EP traces that back to when the "talent" was too tightly scripted. There's more time now for ad libs.

Again, I don't think we're going to see a dominant anchor anymore, like we won't see and hear a new Beatles or watch Burger King usurp MickeyD.

Too many choices.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Another Busy Week

It's the start of a new week (on the calendar at least), and we had a couple of wild back and forths... which we should (although hate, hate, hate the name calling). I laid off a couple of days to cool down with the last post.

A couple of letters came in but I think I'll post the most contentious one tomorrow.

Today I'll ask what was asked of me:

It came following the Trib story about biking and the numerous riders who died. The person who wrote me asked about headlines, and whether the story painted an incorrect picture about Portland and biking and walking, etc. They said Portland remains a very safe biking community, where drivers, for the most part, keep an eye on bikes and give them space.

But they came away from the article with the thought that Portland is a scary town for biking - as we often do thinking about crime when we watch TV.

I know it's hard to strike that balance, when the numbers seem a little out of hand, and we aren't likely to lead a newscast with, "Nobody got hurt and there were no fires in Portland today," (wouldn't that be a shocker).

How should we strike that balance, when the editor says only so many words, or you only have :45 seconds?

Thursday, August 04, 2005

A Fair Trial

I got a question from someone who wanted to ask this basic question?

Following the coverage of the Wilberger arrest - the newscasts, the Oregonian headline today, etc. - they wanted to know where will the case be tried?

They were asking, I think, if there could be a jury pool in Oregon that can take up the case cleanly, following all the stories. It's a good question, since this is one of the most covered crimes in recent Oregon history.

We can't just sit on our hands on this one, so I'm not sure how I could respond.

I do think Mr. Panty raid may end up with some cash in his pocket because of the earliest allegations that leaned toward him. In the end everything reported on this story was done with the hope of finding Brooke alive.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Channel 2 on 2

Some of the cheers you are hearing when you drive down Sandy Blvd. are the early numbers after Channel 2 is airing on Channel 2 on Comcast. They are doing quite well.

I didn't think it would make a difference. But, when you do diaries, people can get confused.

The numbers suggest even more competition for KGW in the fall.

What do you think they are doing right? KATU folks are excited about the latest numbers.

Now, For Something Completely Different

Whew - glad that's over. We'll revisit that. Need a breather.

Here goes.

An email came in from a parent of a high school junior-to-be, who is really interested in journalism - reporting. What he or she didn't make clear was which side - broadcast or print?

I recommended UO in state for its print program and OSU for its broadcast facilities, WSU as the best broadcast journalism school in the NW, and the usuals, Northwestern, Missouri, Columbia (although more for grad school) for print (although Missouri has its own TV station, so that's a big plus).

I told him/her I'd post the question to the field - where would you recommend? Where did you go?

Monday, August 01, 2005

I Don't Like What I Just ...

A regular visitor to the site sent me a note saying she was very upset by seeing the obviously disturbed women who tried to hurt herself yesterday. She was upset by the video of her trying to elude police who were trying to help her. She wondered if the story was news, why her name was mentioned, especially since no charges were filed.

While I disagree with her that it wasn't news - officers were risking their lives to calm her and save her, and cameras were there - if something happens in front of you it's news.

What she asked was - if she didn't like something and called in to a station or newspaper, would anyone listen? I think in this case we'd politely listen but not really do much about it, or take it out of the next newscast.

What's the policy at various newsrooms around Portland? Should we help folks by giving a common email address or phone number? Newspapers have letters sections, but only publish a fraction, obviously.

How do we let viewers, listeners and readers know we truly do value their input? Or do we?