Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Source of the week

It’s a real go-go world in cyberspace for today’s main-stream online media sources. Battle-hardened editors are really cracking the whip for their reporters to get any tidbit of news on the Web, sometimes before there’s much more to tell than a casual observation coming from a somewhat sketchy source.

Take for instance, a story broken by the Times Unionlate Tuesday evening after, a man was picked off by a motorist near the University at Albany campus. The report lacked any names, details or any real substance outside what the basic “man struck by car” headline reported.

That is, with one exception. While the paramedics were hauling away the injured man, the TU reporter sauntered over to the A-Plus and dug up what was perhaps the only second-source he could find at the time: a man punching the register name “Ahmed.”

“According to Ahmed, an employee of the A-Plus convenience store across from the scene of the accident, the victim visited the store just before the collision and used the ATM,” the reporter wrote in the story, which will do nothing to allay age-old Middle Eastern stereotypes.

Ahmed, eh? The only thing better than identifying the clerk by only his first or last name was the astute description he brought to a news story that could have probably waited until morning to break. Succinctly, he said the injured man was “middle-aged.”

“It's a dangerous intersection,” remarked the man known only as Ahmed, pointing to the junction where a teaming campus meets a bustling four-lane highway. “It’s not good because cars are coming from different directions.”

Apparently, news zipping along on the information superhighway isn’t subject to the same vetting or standards as stories appearing in print. Reports hitting the morning press usually require an ounce of substance or at least a casual mention of why a source’s full name isn’t being used. But in today’s new-scoop world of journalism, it’s all about getting the story out there online before the competition can update their Website.

This rush to post is bound to get more furious, as other news agencies ramp up their online efforts, a domain the TU has utterly dominated for more than five years now. Over the past two years, the Post Star has made an earnest effort to bolster their site, which has risen in stock but still can’t compete with the 800-pound gorilla thrashing through cyberspace from its hovel off the Northway in Colonie.

Among television news stations, it appears as though the former WRGB has made great strides in improving their Website and getting breaking news on it before the competition. They’ve perhaps even vaulted themselves past the ambulance-chasers over at Capital News 9 to become the most user-friendly broadcast site.

Now all they need to do is learn how to report the news. It was WRGB –the station now known as CBS 6 Albany even though they’re located in Niskayuna –that cited the Times Union’s interview with Ahmed in their report the following morning.

On a somewhat related note, it appears as though WRGB’s loosely affiliated partner and the only other large newspaper in the region is about to jump into the ring with the chest-thumping silverback. For much of the 21st century, the Daily Gazette has quietly remained locked behind the archaic lock of a paid subscription Website. Word came from the paper last summer they planned a fall overhaul of this futile pursuit.

Well, that update is apparently on its way, according to a link forwarded this week to iSaratoga’s online mailbag. Welcome to the new millennium, guys. Here’s a tip for the new format: in your zeal to beat the competition, just make sure you grab the other half of Ahmed’s name before featuring his quotes prominently on your Web site.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Flash: Ron Kim has fired his deputy Frank Dudla and hired Eilleen Finerran. For a man with a stellar academic vita, he doesn't appear to have any social insight. This should prove a disaster. Eilleen Finneran is a subtle as a jack hammer, knows nothing about public safety, and will be operating in a macho culture. This is a train wreck waiting to happen.

I also understand that Valerie Keehn has put up a shingle for "Life Coaching." No this is not a parody or the beginning of some sort of stand up routine. You need no credentials for this "profession" and given her record I feel some pity for anyone damaged enough to seek her help.

11:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Larry Bullman is a man who seems to relish self abuse. He just appointed Pehl Kennedy to the Saratoga County Democratic Committee. Ms. Kennedy has established herself by competing in the gnasty email category during the last election. She compares favorably to Hillary McClellan in this regard. All of this appears to be driven by Bullman's ineptness and his on going desire to ingratiate himself with Shawn Thompson who Bullman seems to think has some influence in Albany.

12:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ahh yes, the tactless EFinneran will keep RKim company up on the second floor away from everyone else on the first. LBenton will probably stop by for a weekly seance.

PKennedy had better hope that her skeletons don't start falling out of her closet, and as far LBullman and friends, that nightmare is coming to an end.

So let’s see. The Commissioner is supposed to manage his department but he leaves that to his Deputy who will have to manage the Chief who has been managing the Commissioner and the Mayor for two years. Yup, trainwreck.

7:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, the crap continues. I can't believe that Kim would be so dumb as to hire someone so mean and inept.

Eileen is a joke and another scourge on our City.

But, it will also help doom the overpriced Public Safety building. She will bring her total incompetence to this new department.

5:37 AM  

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