Time for local newscasts to Facebook the future


Twitter-dee-dee, Twitter-dee-dum, look out baby, the future's come.

And it needs a newscast.

Haven't you Facebooked, MySpaced, Twittered and blogged by now? Yet to emerge from the 20th century, which is, by technological standards, biblical times?

Hop to, Horatio.

Blogging and Facebook are already so 2008 next to Twitter, the zoom-message service and newest enabler of self-absorption, allowing you to alert pals that you belched 22 seconds ago. (It sends out "tweets," which is either a message, a bird chirp or something very special for Elmer Fudd.)

But the news biz must Facebook the facts: We've met the enemy and we are theirs. News media spurning social media dooms us to the same fate as Rex (first name: Tyrannosaurus). CNN spearheaded this sojourn into interactivity, pouring so much viewer feedback onscreen that half of America should draw a paycheck from Ted Turner.

Unsolicited (and likely unwanted) advice to our locals: Do likewise. Put online on-air. Trade a newscast for a viewer-cast. One daily, half-hour dose of Twitter-me-this, Facebook-me-that. Station Web sites, randomly read e-mails and "Rants" on KVVU-TV, Channel 5 barely tap the wired (and wireless) world of newer viewers. The saggy, flabby news media needs a shot of techno-botox.

How? Informalize. Sit anchors in front of laptops, not behind news desks. Deliver news/weather with Headline News-style brevity, laced with tech segments that are catnip to this demographic. Invite the audience to shoot the news breeze on blogs/Facebook/Twitter/MySpace, reacting to stories, reactions immediately aired, their questions submitted to local newsmakers. Create a show that's shared with viewers, not shoved at them.

That demands engaging news personalities moderating this mixed-media Mardi Gras. Current assignments aside, here are some possibilities:

KVBC-TV, Channel 3: Sue Manteris, Kim and Dana Wagner, Jim Snyder. Channel 5: Heidi Hayes, Ted Pretty, Mike Doria, Jason Feinberg and Monica Jackson. KLAS-TV, Channel 8: Danya Roselli, Chris Saldana and Denise Valdez. KTNV-TV, Channel 13: Lisa Remillard, Rikki Cheese, Ben Deci and Amanda Sanchez. And -- somewhere, somehow, by the grace of someone -- Ron Futrell.

Given grinding news repetition, they can certainly spare a time slot to jolt that endless, somnambulant late-day news block. Any of these might do:

Channel 3: 4 p.m. Channel 8: 4:30 p.m. Channel 13: 4 p.m. Channel 5: 4 or 4:30 p.m. (Relocate a "Judge Joe Brown" episode to 5:30 and dump the redundant 5:30 news). Certainly Channel 5 news, its local output undercut by tight resources and filler footage, risks less to wriggle out of a straight-news straitjacket and bet on a breakout concept.

Share the air, ye Oracles of Information. Facebook the future. But amid the Twittering, beware the twits. Remember: A belch does not a tweet make.

Right, Elmer?

Contact reporter Steve Bornfeld at sbornfeld@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0256.

 

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