Category Archives: Uncategorized

My Daughter Is Fancy

I was on the phone the tonight with my wife, and my daughter, Anna, came out of our closet wearing mommy’s shoes.  She is fancy.

Clearly, fancy is important. It adds character. It can often be the differentiating factor between us and the other people doing the same thing. But it also creates issues. We all want to be fancy, but at the end of the day, it’s important to get the job done… to get to where we need to or want to end up. I’m trying to remind myself not to get too fancy with social media and strategy; eventually, we just need to get the job done.

But… if we can add a little fancy… Anna will be proud of me.

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Epic Win

Last week I was offered the chance of a lifetime… to go to work for an already accomplished institution to develop and implement their digital and social media strategy. 

I’ve learned a lot about digital and social media over the past year, but the most important thing I’ve learned regarding this media is my passion.  I think The Other Paper called me an evangelist, and that’s true.  When I believe in the power of something, I go at with 120% to help realize it’s potential. 

That’s what I was doing at NBC 4, I was helping people understand the power.   Luckily, I wasn’t alone.  I had a team of people that saw the potential in social media and were as committed to seeing it work as I was.  I believe that a single person can yeild a lot of power when it comes to something like this… to empower the members of their team.  The team then creates a legacy (one person doesn’t).  Our NBC 4 team is doing that right now, and I’m proud to have been a part of that.

In a month I will move to The Ohio State University Medical Center.  I’ll be in a position to be a part of another great team, doing amazing work with patient care and research.  OSUMC is focused on individualizing care for each person.  After the last few months advocating for my daughter, that message is something that I want to be a part of… The possibilities social media brings to an organization to individualize attention are nearly endless.

I have very mixed emotions about this; the only work I’ve ever known is local TV news.  I’m still passionate about the direction it’s going, and the potential it has.  Local TV news is also the only work my family has ever known.  I’m not going out on a limb when I say that it is extremely difficult to give your family the attention they desereve when you work in this industry; it demands so much of your attention, and you never know when it will demand all of your attention.  It’s both the most exciting part of the job, and the most taxing on a family.

I’m hoping that the relationships I’ve built in Central Ohio will continue to allow me to use my talent to build a model internal and external system of digital and social media that will further solidify Ohio State’s Medical Center as the standard for employee and customer care.  I am in this position today because of the lessons I’ve learned from you, and that’s a debt I’ll never repay.

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When Social Media Causes Antisocialism

So it finally happened.  Today, I was eating lunch with my wife (thanks for coming to see me at work!!) and my cell phone rings.  My cell phone rings any time I get a voicemail at work… annoying, but it allows me to respond to voicemails immediately.  I figured it was a call from a Petland store about surveillance video I was trying to get of a Chihuahua being stolen. 

It wasn’t.  It was the supervisor of all dispatchers for Pickerington Police.  Now, if you follow NBC 4 on Twitter, you know about Jason Mays and his famed nightly beat calls.  You also know that Jason one day aspires to move his clan (approaching tribe size) to Pickerington.  Jason talks to the Pickerington Police Dispatchers each night.  I’m sure he’s tried to sell them on twitter.  Jason is a born network builder, he does it more easily than anyone I have ever met.

Apparently, Jason forgot to talk to the dispatchers’ boss about being social.  This person called and left me a voicemail seeking an explanation for a fax she found from NBC 4 that proclaimed Pickerington Police Dispatchers as having one the NBC 4 Fresh Prince award for best story idea on May 2, 2008.

I didn’t know we had a Fresh Prince Award for best story idea.  It’s a pretty good idea.  Find a way to recognize the best story idea each week.

This person didn’t think it was appropriate.  She even asked me if it was the way we normally did things at NBC 4?  Yes, we talk to people.  It’s not all death and destruction; and even when it is, we don’t think that’s all fun. 

So this person tried to corner me a couple of different times about Jason, she even asked me to spell his name (sorry J).  I’m sure she’s running a full background check.  I reminded the supervisor that I would need to speak to Jason, and that I will not call him on his day off.  (i don’t think that’s fair, he’s not getting paid, why should he have to explain his social behavior?) 

So, Jason somehow found out that this person was looking for information.  Back to the history of dispatchers, Jason has established quite a social network among dispatchers.  I, on the other hand, never really got past, “hi, is anything going on?” At that moment they would say, “no” and I would thank them for being so forthcoming and hang up.  Jason has revolutionized social networking.  If you can create a social network among dispatchers, i think that you could make Hitler social.  (Not everyone was like this, and I’m generalizing, but more were anti-social.)

What story idea did Jason hand out the NBC 4 Fresh Prince Award for?  The dispatchers asked him to do a story on kids using their parents old cell phones, and those old cell phones still being able to dial 911.  It’s a problem because it greatly increases the number of unnecessary and potentially dangerous calls into the dispatch center because police are usually required to check out each 911 hang up call.  It’s a great story that would help increase awareness while hopefully lifting some of the burden on dispatchers.  They asked for help, they were being social.  Jason passed the story on to me.  We still haven’t done the story.

The only failure here is on my part.  A very good story idea, and for whatever reason, Marc Dann, weather, someone else’s story idea, we haven’t done this story with Pickerington. 

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Can Television News Be Saved?

Can television news be saved?

Quick answer:  Yes

There is one extremely important reason why you should care, even if you haven’t ever cared about television news.  I’m going to explain all of the issues with TV news and traditional media from where I sit, but first why you should care.  I care because, right now, tv news puts food in my childrens’ mouth and provides for a roof over our heads. You should care, because as tv news works to stay relevant, TV news will have to embrace the model being established by social networks and bloggers, and involve you in the process of a free and open press, giving you a voice that… wait a minute, you already have that voice.  The real reason you should care is because journalists can help you learn how to hold people accountable, how to get access to records that are supposed to be public, and can help you learn why accuracy, fairness, and balance could make what you do so much more powerful.  We can help you most by joining forces with you to help get information in the hands of people that want to know.

But you can help us.  We need help at being social.  “But wait, you talk to people all day long.”  My point is, we talk and talk and talk.  The least social guy you ever knew was the one that wouldn’t shut up and hear what you had to say, or better yet listen.  Remember that one? 

Mom: “I know you can hear me, but are you really listening?” 

Me: “Yes Mom.”

Mom: “Then what did I say?”

The power of the word has always been important.  Arguably, the most important invention in the last 500 years was the printing press.  The press was so important because it gave people a way to share information and opinion with large numbers of people without one on one communication.  The Internet has set the new standard for what can be considered “large numbers” as anyone with a computer can now access the words written by people.  The Internet allows for more than just words, and it gives anyone a voice, not just newspaper editors or newscasters.

TV started into its downfall almost as soon as it started.  For almost half a century, television has focused on bringing you a better picture.  So many resources and billions of dollars have gone in to developing DTV, and soon, you’ll have to have it if you want to watch TV.  This is a perfect example of how TV has pushed its pushed itself towards irrelevance.  Instead of finding ways to reach larger numbers of people, or give larger numbers of people a voice (the reason TV news was better than the paper), we focused on how to make pictures look prettier.

How do we fix it?  We need to stop thinking of this as a fixible situation… for starters.  Stop fixing, start learning, start becoming involved in the communities that we serve.  That means we stop reporting stories the way we traditionally have.  It means we become members of the community and start/facilitate/participate in discussions.  It means we start sharing information that is relevant and important to the communities we serve.  We must stop being so darned protective of information, and start sharing it, with everyone. 

We have started to use social networking to get involved with people in Columbus.  Social Networking tools are a good start, but you wouldn’t (maybe you would) believe how few people see it as important to journalism.  Some people are amused, some are interested, only a couple (in our building) think the tools could be the future of how we do this whole journalism thing.  I certainly think that it has to be a part of how we gather and disseminate information, I just don’t have a great example of how anyone else is doing it. 

Which leads me to my next point; we have to stop playing follow-the-leader.  Why do we only do something when someone else does it and proves that it works?  We are already so far behind the times with new media and social media, that we risk becoming irrelevant all together.  I bet you couldn’t find 8 people in my workplace that know what Web 2.0 means.

DTV is nice, Social is better.  DTV is great for Buckeye games, the Super Bowl, and The Wiggles (yellow looks great on Greg in 1080i), but our society is social by nature and getting more connected with each passing day.  Meanwhile, news media continues to broadcast (clearer pictures) telling the same stories that we’ve told for years.  We know we need to involve more people in our stories, and we’ve tried; but finding someone who is actually affected by the stories we’re talking about is difficult when we start every morning in a conference room at a television station and not at a coffee shop, park, street corner, or community center.  Let’s actually get involved, not just ask people to help us, but actually get to know them.

Remember when your teachers (Mrs. Buckholtz) would put on your report card that you did too much socializing, and you didn’t really know what that meant, but your mom and dad told you they were disappointed?  If only Mom and Dad could have seen 20 years in the future where the kids that were willing to be social anyway were running everything.  Mom, I have news, not sure it’s “breaking news,” but news… you’re socializing.  My Mom is on Facebook.  She was on MySpace before I was.  She uses it all the time to see updates on my children. She’s socializing.  I’m proud of you Mom.

So it’s social journalism that I propose will save my job and the jobs of the people around me.  Social journalism could even make TV news (done on TV and the Web) cool again.  I shouldn’t pretend to know how to bail all television stations out of what many consider to be impending doom.  But I have seen a glimpse of what we could be and how we could really serve people over the last month as our newsroom has jumped on the twitter wagon.  Follow me, so I can connect with you and maybe you can help me figure out how we can stay relevant in your life… www.twitter.com/nbcsquire

 

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