My first thought when seeing Viacom’s announcement that William S. Paley’s architectural masterpiece Black Rock will be put on the market was horror. But then I checked. Black Rock is on the National Register of Historic Places, so I, for one, breathed a sigh of relief.
Margaret Sullivan: Given that Stephanie Grisham has never held a briefing since she got the title of White House press secretary last July, is she really a press secretary? Grisham seems unaware — or simply doesn’t care — that she actually works for the American people and is paid with their tax dollars.
Broadcasters were victorious in their fight against the pay TV industry the same way they have won so many other issues, by taking their case directly to Senators and members of Congress in their home districts.
In our current political climate, local journalism must be protected at all costs. The FCC is clearing the path for its downfall. That’s the opinion of Dayton, Ohio, Mayor Nan Whaley and former FCC Commissioner Michael Copps. They explain why.
David Zurawik: “This has been a decade of revolutionary, existential media change most of which would have happened had he never stepped off that elevator into the heart of the nation’s political life.”
David Brooks: “Those of us in journalism primarily do one thing: cover events. We report and opine about events like election campaigns, wars and crimes. But a funny thing has happened to events in this era. They have ceased to drive politics the way they used to. Increasingly, sociology is.”
The 2010s were transformative, except for all the stuff that hasn’t changed a bit.
Selecting the right company leaders for coaching and helping them identify the coach that will be most effective for them can accelerate performance, success and career trajectory. It can make the delivery of key projects more rapid and successful.
David Zurawik: “As this year of the TV hearing comes to a close, I should be singing [the broadcast and cable networks] praises. There has never been more overall political coverage in any one year than in 2019. But the question that demands not just being asked but also honestly discussed is whether all that television coverage has made any real-world difference. And if not, what does that say about the belief I have long held in the power of TV, which remains the principal storyteller in American life, to change the world with its cameras?”
Margaret Sullivan: “The veteran Fox News journalist’s … Sunday morning interview show is often riveting, creating newsworthy moments. Tough, well-prepared and knowledgeable, Wallace is willing to interrupt, ask follow-up questions and assert facts when his subjects are insistently spewing talking points. That President Trump bashes him as “nasty and obnoxious” or calls his interviews “dumb and unfair” doesn’t detract from that reality.
Sinclair Broadcast Group will stop producing the must-run political commentary segments that have attracted the company a lot of criticism since former Trump White House staffer Boris Epshteyn began hosting them.
Willa Paskin: “Friends, bingers, countrymen, I come to bury television, not to praise it. 2019 was the first year I started to look askance at something I have said thousands of time: ‘I love television.’ This phrase, which had previously seemed so pedestrian and yet so true, the cozy benediction lobbed at a loved one on their way out the door, suddenly became strange.”
Jim Brady: “While we’ve been chasing that adulation and virality, social has been chipping away at the core of what journalism has spent decades building.”
Hank Price: “With the unfortunate demise of print, leading television groups are making an even stronger commitment to local investigations. They are doing this with a full understanding of the financial costs. Why? Because they are in the journalism business. That means putting the well-being of the communities they serve first, no matter the cost or political pressure.”
ZypMedia’s Aman Sareen says OTT advertising is poised to overtake ads on linear TV given a perfect storm of proliferating services, audience receptivity to streaming ads and better targetability.
Congress is debating whether to renew the Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act, commonly referred to as STELAR, past Dec. 31, when it’s set to expire. Dr. George Ford, with the Phoenix Center for Advanced Legal & Economic Public Policy Studies, says focus is on a key question: Should broadcasters get to charge whatever retransmission fee the market will bear?
Dan Kennedy: “There are two elephants in the room that are threatening to destroy local news. One, technological disruption, is widely understood: the internet has undermined the value of advertising and driven it to Craigslist, Facebook and Google, thus eliminating most of the revenues that used to pay for journalism. But the other, corporate greed, is too often regarded as an effect rather than as a cause.”
Joe Ferullo: “Lying just below big headlines from the impeachment hearings was an urgent message for mainstream media: The rules of the journalism game need to change, because a formidable player — Russia — won’t leave the arena. The game I’m talking about is how “opposition research” becomes news.
David Zurawik: “Baltimore TV news needs to get better if this city is ever going to improve. And in all the years I have been writing about media at The Sun, I have seen very little evidence that any of the major stations here are committed to making that happen. That’s one of the most disheartening things I know about Baltimore media. And it was reinforced this month by an outside review of local TV news.”
Margaret Sullivan: “If every American gave 30 minutes a day to an earnest and open-minded effort to stay on top of the news, we might actually find our way out of this crisis.”
on Wednesday — as televised impeachment hearings begin in the House of Representatives — journalists need to be on their game. The stakes don’t get much higher when it comes to fulfilling their core mission: informing citizens of what they really need to know.
The Baltimore Sun’s David Zurawik: In 2016, I wrote a piece about the fall of Fox News chief Roger Ailes in the wake of sexual misconduct allegations. I thought of him as a monster because of the sick, toxic, misogynistic workplace environment he created at Fox News as he harassed, assaulted and abused women and put people in power who did the same. But three years and multiple allegations of similar behavior by Les Moonves and Charlie Rose at CBS, Matt Lauer at NBC, Bill O’Reilly at Fox and, of course, film mogul Harvey Weinstein at Miramax, it is clear that Ailes’ actions were not some extraordinarily evil, beyond the pale kind of behavior, as the word monster might imply. Instead, we now know Ailes’ actions were closer to the norm for too many men of power in the news and entertainment industries. But it gets worse.”
Manual processes and outdated back-office technology are the primary reasons that national spot buys are difficult to execute and have a tendency to underperform. The challenge in implementing new solutions generally boils down to two areas: technology and automation priorities and the associated costs.
Twitter will no longer allow political advertising, a move that places Twitter and Jack Dorsey in stark contrast to Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg.
Patricia Jo Boyers: “Smaller pay television providers are under assault from the excessive demands of local TV stations. Congress needs to step in and support legislative reforms that curb the undue price hikes and sudden signal blackouts designed to turn consumers against their traditional pay-TV providers.”
Alan Sealls: “In my ‘hiatus’ from a 30-plus year career as a broadcast meteorologist, I have a little more time to reflect on TV news and weather. When I venture out in public, I get a focus group of unsolicited opinion. I interact frequently with kids and adults in formal presentations and hear what they think about our industry. Here are seven simple thoughts that I think can strengthen broadcast news and meteorology.”
Hank Price: “Every local general manager and news director is well aware of their need to constantly build and maintain viewer trust. Trust is not optional. To lose it is to go out of business.”
Margaret Sullivan: As interviews get tougher, Team Trump doubles down on avoidance. By ending the daily press briefing — it’s now been well over 200 days since the last one — the Trump White House has shown clearly that it’s not interested in being responsive to questions asked on behalf of the public. The near-withdrawal from the Sunday programs is another step in that direction.
Margaret Sullivan: “As the House of Representatives’ impeachment inquiry ramps up, so, too, does the Trump disinformation campaign — spreading its fact-adverse surrogates throughout the media world in an all-out effort to sway public opinion. With the stakes so high, the media has to step up more than ever before to help news consumers — American citizens — figure out where they stand.”
Impressions-based advertising will not be the last word in consumer measurement, but it is an important transitional step to the future. In a few years we will look back and wonder why it took so long.
The Baltimore Sun’s David Zurawik: “I held my tongue when ABC announced that Sean Spicer was going to be on Dancing with the Stars. I thought there were a million more pressing matters on the media beat that deserved coverage. Besides I felt like I was written out on denunciations of him and his lies from the podium of the White House by the time Donald Trump pushed him out as press secretary. But after watching Spicer’s debut Monday on the show’s season premiere, I started to seethe.”
Margaret Sullivan: “President Trump requires no translation or interpretation when it comes to his plan for going after national news outlets as Campaign 2020 kicks into high gear. On Monday, he made his intentions clear in a couple of rambling, overcapitalized tweets: ‘Our real opponent is not the Democrats, or the dwindling number of Republicans that lost their way and got left behind.’ No, he wrote, ‘our primary opponent is the Fake News Media.’ ”
Matthew Bell, former Amazon Studios head of strategic planning: As media monoliths bundle their offerings, consumers will once again have to pay for a bunch of shows they don’t want.