Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Mostly Cloudy: Reporter From 1981 TV Story Updates Media Forecast

As a certified broadcast meteorologist, Steve Newman probably knows all about the perils of predicting the weather in front of a large audience. But over the past year or so, the former TV weatherman received a lot of media attention for a different kind of forecast: a local news story he did in 1981 about how the San Francisco Examiner was experimenting with a downloadable electronic edition for home computers -- and what that might mean for the future of news. Newman posted his 18-year-old TV report on YouTube early last year, and since then this historic artifact has become a much-circulated and much-discussed hit among media types, bloggers and j-school students. (Skip on down below if you've already seen this clip....)

Newman was KRON-TV's science editor when that story aired. Not many of those left in local TV. Now Newman lives in Pilot Point, Texas, and is executive editor of Earthweek -- a Web site and syndicated column that began life as a print feature in the San Francisco Chronicle in 1988.

After hearing audio from his 1981 report used on the May 29 episode of NPR's "On the Media", Newman shared his brief reminiscence about the story -- and his updated forecast -- which co-host Bob Garfield then read on the June 12 program....

"We in print and TV all thought back then that we would eventually prosper and thrive in the new media. I felt so confident in the Internet's future nearly 20 years later in 1998 that I quit a lucrative TV career to focus on my syndicated newspaper column -- 'Earthweek: A Diary of the Planet' -- and its online component. Now the newspaper version is threatened with extinction and the Web version doesn't make enough to live on. Local TV news is no longer an option for someone who has matured with a face meant for the radio. It's a good thing I invested somewhat well."


DigiDave said...

An even crazier old video about journalism: http://www.digidave.org/2008/03/how-has-this-changed-how-will-it-utterly-crumble.html

Now that takes us back ;)

Mark said...

Here's the video in question from David's comment:


(Thank you, David, who is brains behind one of online journalism's possible user-supported futures: http://Spot.Us)