Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Back from Dallas

Wow, did the last days of my Texas trip get away from me. Lots going on in Dallas, including a minor league baseball game at the Frisco Roughriders (won a free t-shirt), which is one of the best kept secrets in that area).

My overall experience at WFAA was fantastic and the people there simply could not have been nicer or more accommodating. Among the many things I brought back with me, three stand out:

1) No one really knows how multimedia figures in the future of journalism. I get tired of all this talk about "the future of journalism," like people know exactly how it's going to play out. No one does, including the very smart people at WFAA. The station doesn't have a strong commitment yet to multimedia, including its web news, because it can't figure out how to monetize it. WFAA still gets 96% of its revenue from TV advertising and only 4% from the web. The social media (Facebook, et. al.) are encouraged, but not required. Until someone figures out how to make money from all this, multimedia is still somewhat stuck in limbo.

2) I don't think I would want to get back into TV. Seeing the fast-paced life is nice for a visit, but television news is a young man's (person's) game.

3) Even so, television is television. WFAA has more toys and more money, but it's doing news the same way they do it from Abilene (TX) to Zanesville (OH), and it looks a lot like the way we did TV back in the day. The process of television news has changed very little from the days of magnetic weather symbols and greaseboards (which WFAA still uses, by the way).

Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose
--The more things change, the more they stay the same.