Media Critic Margaret Sullivan Leaving The Washington Post

After a decade writing columns puncturing — and praising — the press, the ex–New York Times public editor and departing Post columnist will be teaching at Duke and pursuing book projects, including a fictional series about a laid-off local journalist solving crimes.

COMMENTARY BY GEORGE F. WILL

Josh Hawley, Senator-As-Symptom Of A Broken News Business

Time was, journalists assumed that news consumers demanded “more information, faster and better.” Now, instantaneous communication via passive media — video and television — supplies what indolent consumers demand.

TVN’S FRONT OFFICE BY JOE ANNOTTI

Get On The Metaverse Bus – Or Miss Out On Revenue Opportunities

The metaverse is quickly beginning to take shape, and media will play a significant role in using it to engage customers and create new business models. This “Second Life 2.0” offers abundant opportunities for broadcasters to carve out a slice of the metaverse revenue pie. MFM’s Annual Conference featured a plethora of sessions on the metaverse; here’s a cross-section of the array of information shared by scores of experts at the May 2022 event.

COMMENTARY BY NORMAN LEAR

Norman Lear: On My 100th Birthday, Reflections On Archie Bunker And Donald Trump

Reflections from the Emmy-winning television producer and a co-founder of the advocacy organization People for the American Way.

COMMENTARY BY JAMES PONIEWOZIK

The Jan. 6 Hearings Did A Great Service, By Making Great TV

Investigating a threat to democracy was always going to be important. But this time, it also managed to be buzzworthy.

COMMENTARY BY JOE FERULLO

Increasingly, People Are Tuning Out The News — But Likely Not For The Reason You Think

Joe Ferullo: “Nobody likes journalists. Hardly anyone one trusts them. Their work feels like an unending cascade of plagues, war, floods, and fire. And it’s gotten so bad that more and more people are now avidly avoiding the news completely. But journalism and journalists aren’t the main bad guys. The real problem is not news itself, but the way our society consumes it — and the danger it represents is not just for the news business itself, but for our entire society as it becomes less informed about the critical issues of the day.”

TVN’S FRONT OFFICE BY JOE ANNOTTI

OTT Carves Out A New Local Ad Marketplace — And Advertisers Are All In

Now commanding 28% of all video viewing time, over-the-top services have exploded in popularity. Borrell Associates found that they Increased from just 13.7% of all locally spent advertising in 2021, with more than a third of local media managers calling OTT their hottest-selling digital product. Find out why OTT is commanding such rapidly growing attention — and an equally growing piece of local advertising spend — and why OTT players like YouTube and TikTok are likely to take an increasing piece of the ad pie.

TVN’S MANAGING MEDIA BY MARY COLLINS

For RSNs, OTT Channels Must Be Just A First Step

Regional sports networks are venturing into launching their first OTT channels to tap into the cord-cutting market. It’s an important move, but one that needs to be followed up with wider streaming distribution agreements to reach as broad an audience as possible.

COMMENTARY BY AMANDA RIPLEY

I Stopped Reading The News. Is The Problem Me — Or The Product?

Amanda Ripley: “I have a secret. I kept it hidden for longer than I care to admit. It felt unprofessional, vaguely shameful. It wasn’t who I wanted to be. But here it is: I’ve been actively avoiding the news for years. Then one day a journalist friend confided that she was avoiding the news, too. Then I heard it from another journalist. And another. And that gets to the heart of the problem here: If so many of us feel poisoned by our products, might there be something wrong with them?”

COMMENTARY

Why All Democrats Should Stand Up For Gigi Sohn

Last month, the Biden administration passed a regrettable milestone: 500 days without seating a fully functional FCC. The president’s nominee to fill the fifth and final FCC commissioner’s spot, longtime public-interest advocate and former FCC adviser Gigi Sohn, has been in limbo awaiting Senate confirmation — leaving the agency without the vote it needs to break partisan deadlocks. The power to return the FCC to full strength rests with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, but so far he’s refused to use it.

THE PRICE POINT

WLBT And Gray Television Do The Right Thing

Back in the 1960s, WLBT in Jackson, Miss., had its license revoked after it actively promoted segregation, encouraged viewers to defy the government, break the law and mistreat their fellow human beings. Today, WLBT is an example of how to do race relations right, reflecting the needs, interests and employee makeup of a largely African American community. Its current owner, Gray Television, has just created the Gray Media Training Center to develop fully trained, highly qualified minority graduates for Gray’s stations in 113 markets.

TVN’S FRONT OFFICE BY JOE ANNOTTI

Audio Takes Center Stage

Media companies seeking to expand their presence are turning to podcasting as a great way to attract advertisers and solidify their brands. As podcast listenership continues on an explosive trajectory, advertisers are following, media companies are acquiring and investing, and more local companies are getting on board to take part in this disruptive, creative medium.

OPEN MIKE BY MALIK KHAN

Live, Local Content Is Crucial Element For OTT

Live and local content are front and center of many strategic OTT decisions being made by media companies today, and new technologies are enabling their delivery at scale.

THE PRICE POINT

As The FCC Dithers On The Top 4 Rule, The Case For Consolidation Grows Stronger

Stagnant regulations and a constricting economy may force the number of TV stations producing news to narrow. Ironically, that could also lead to an increase — and improvement — of news.

COMMENTARY BY INKOO KANG

The Jan. 6 Hearings And The Spectacle Of Competence

The televised hearings have offered a rare glimpse at a version of Congress we want to see that may soon disappear.

COMMENTARY BY MARGARET SULLIVAN

New Tool Helps Journalists Spot Threats To Democracy

A new publication, The Authoritarian Playbook: A Media Guide, is an effort to give reporters and editors some tools in recognizing what’s happening and in covering it effectively. While the guide is intended for journalists, every American would benefit from reading it — especially in conjunction with the House committee hearings on the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection.

OPEN MIKE BY ROBERT SZABO-ROW

Broadcasters Must Up Their Live Highlights Game

Live events viewers have shown they want fast access to highlights and clips on multiple platforms. Broadcasters need to be able to meet that demand.

COMMENTARY BY KELLY ABCARIAN

Let’s Get To The Heart Of Impact: Emotional Measurement And Why Ad Quality Matters

Do you know what parts of an ad campaign truly ignite your customers? Is it a beloved celebrity? Or a compelling story? Don’t we really want to know if a great, emotional ad gets the proper credit when we measure campaign performance? As a publisher, NBCUniversal knows how important the role of emotions can be. Emotional relationships to our content are what fuels fandom. It’s why we constantly test our content to understand feelings like brand love, because emotional connections with our fans can have tangible benefits for brands. And the same kind of rigor publishers apply to premium content needs to be applied to the quality of the ads as it runs alongside it.

COMMENTARY BY ELIZABETH WAGMEISTER

How Wendy Williams Changed Daytime TV In Her Own Unscripted Way

Wendy Williams was unlike anyone else on TV. On daytime, you’re supposed to be authentic, but you’re also taught to be polished, read the teleprompter and stay on script. Williams did none of those things. In fact, the talk show host did the exact opposite of what you’d expect a television executive to advise a host to do in 2008, the year her show was being tested for a national run. And that’s why she she stayed relevant for 13 seasons.

COMMENTARY BY JOE FERULLO

House Select Committee Is Giving Jan. 6 The ‘60 Minutes’ Treatment

Turns out the best way to conduct a congressional hearing is to treat it like a story on 60 Minutes. The House Jan. 6 Select Committee is in the middle of rewriting an old political script, dispensing with some well-worn rituals that seem frozen in time. Those have been replaced in these hearings with something that looks more like a fast-moving segment of investigative television — strong emotions, urgent soundbites, and a clear portrayal of good guys vs. bad guys.

TVN’S FRONT OFFICE BY JOE ANNOTTI

A Deferral Of Blue Skies Ahead

Highly regarded macroeconomist Diane Swonk provided a keynote address at MFM’s recent annual conference. While just a few months ago the media industry was pivoting to a revamped, brighter future, storm clouds in the form of rapid inflation, a potential recession and the ongoing impact of food shortages and supply chain disruptions caused by the war in Ukraine appear to have at least temporarily derailed those plans.

TVN’S MANAGING MEDIA BY MARY COLLINS

With Metrics War Looming, Pity The Video Advertiser

Given consumers’ numerous viewing device options, Nielsen’s stumbles in keeping pace with the proliferation and numerous metrics competitors jumping into the vacuum, the stage is set for a metrics war that won’t make anything easier for account executives or video advertisers.

THE PRICE POINT

Television Lessons From A Newspaper Company

Today’s news consumers are smart. They know opinion, preaching and lectures when they see them, including on our own networks. If we want to retain their trust, we must never forget that viewers see forming an opinion as their prerogative, not ours.

OPEN MIKE BY MARK EFFRON

Montclair State University Builds A Streaming Service

The school used a white-label streaming technology company to launch its own streaming channel serving up a wide array of previously disaggregated student programming. The work-in-progress is readying students for an OTT-leaning media ecosystem.

COMMENTARY BY TIM WOLFF

Sweeps Is Over. What Did You Learn?

Whether you’re new in the business or a 40-year vet, each sweeps period holds new information. On a grand scale, your station might have tried new strategies, or you might have gone through the same tactics as always, with this year’s stories echoing those of the past. The important thing is to analyze success and failure while you are still fully engaged in sweeps mode because when you come back from the beach, you’ll have a hard time remembering all the finer details of how you executed sweeps coverage.

OPEN MIKE BY VAN DUKE

Making Digital Subchannels New Again

Diginets are proliferating, and new technology is bringing the costs of launching them down while integrating them more easily into existing workflows.

COMMENTARY BY BROOKE BALDWIN

Don’t Let The Cameras Turn Away

This time, networks need to stay with the story of mass shootings.

THE PRICE POINT

An Anonymous Reporter Speaks For Many

The frustrations of a multimedia journalist over the job’s low pay and difficult working conditions published last week by TVNewsCheck rings true with many accounts I’ve heard across the country. The issue is reaching a tipping point that station owners would do well to heed.

COMMENTARY BY ALEX SHEPHARD

Stop Hiring Flaks To Do The Work Of Journalists

MSNBC’s decision to bring Jen Psaki onto its network isn’t much better than CBS hiring Mick Mulvaney.

COMMENTARY BY INKOO KANG

As Ellen Says Goodbye, Which Version Of Her Will We Miss?

Though she officially bade farewell Thursday afternoon, it feels as if Ellen DeGeneres left the air a year or two ago. Such was the mutedness of the talk-show host’s valedictory run — most likely the result of a 2020 exposé that alleged a “toxic” workplace behind the scenes of a series that encouraged fans to “be kind.” But the comedian, host, sitcom star and film actor has been in the spotlight for so long that it’s worth wondering which DeGeneres we’ll remember most.

OPEN MIKE

I’m An MMJ On The Brink Of Leaving TV News. This Is Why

Poor pay, stress overload and constant uncertainties are squeezing reporters and MMJs — not to mention badly needed producers — out of TV news. Here’s what station and group leaders need to hear if they want us to stay.

THE PRICE POINT

Forget Subscribers. Now It’s All About Advertising

The recent upfronts saw networks turning on a dime from their obsession with acquiring subscribers for their streamers to their former adoration of advertising. Whether there’s enough ad revenue to support this industry-wide pivot is another story.

TVN’S FRONT OFFICE BY JOE ANNOTTI

The Remote/Hybrid Worker Challenge: How Managers Can Motivate And Engage Teams

The media industry is evolving to a hybrid workforce model, with some companies offering their employees to continue to work remotely full time. How do managers keep their staff motivated when they aren’t able to interact in person? Today’s leaders need to shift their mindsets and take new approaches to building and maintaining highly functional teams.

COMMENTARY BY MARGARET SULLIVAN

A Racist Theory May Have Driven Buffalo’s Tragedy. The Murdochs Thrive On It

The demented ideology flows from many sources. One of them is Fox News.

COMMENTARY BY DAVID BLOOM

Now That Subscription Streaming Is Dead, Are There Enough Ad Dollars For Everyone?

What’s going to happen when Disney, Netflix and Apple start drinking from the well, too?

TVN’S MANAGING MEDIA BY MARY COLLINS

Media Survival Hinges On Uniting Stakeholders

Media companies can survive and thrive in a fragmented marketplace only by making alliances and adding scale. Smart network leaders should follow the lesson and use stakeholder insights to plan strategies to defend and grow their businesses.

COMMENTARY BY ERIK WEMPLE

Jen Psaki’s Puny Conflict Of Interest

Jen Psaki assures us that she has nailed down the ethics of her impending departure as White House press secretary and move to MSNBC. “I took steps and have taken steps, as I’ve had any discussions with any future employer, that go over and above any requirements by government, recusing myself of any discussions as well, and I’m proud of that,” Psaki said on Sunday. Now, Psaki is a phenomenal talent, but not even she can wish away the unmistakable conflict of interest at play here. How to ensure fair treatment of media outlets when one of them is a prospective employer?

COMMENTARY BY NICK COHEN

Fox News Deals In Kremlin Propaganda. So Why Not Freeze Rupert Murdoch’s Assets?

Nick Cohen: If NewsCorp’s owner were Russian, there would be no hesitation in applying sanctions.

COMMENTARY BY MARGARET SULLIVAN

The Media Failed When It Used ‘Pro-Life’ Terms

A conversation with the journalist son of the doctor who endured Buffalo’s abortion wars.

THE PRICE POINT

Networks Fray Rope Between Their Affiliates And Streamers

Networks are shortsightedly alienating their affiliate partners with their fixation on their streaming platforms. In so doing, they’re ignoring local brand value, which can carry them over the chasm between hit programs.