How not to cover a fire... the KTVB example

Boise had a devastating fire on Monday evening. When all is said and done a woman died, ten houses were destroyed and many more damaged. The Idaho Statesman has very good coverage. This post is not, however, about the fire but is about the coverage of the fire. Lacking a TiVo in our current setup I wasn't able to do a comparison between the different networks. As such this is then a critique of the coverage done by KTVB. One word sums it up.


However stopping there wouldn't do this story justice. At the same time KTVB is producing content that is embarrassingly bad they are bragging about it not just on the air but on Twitter as well. More about that in a bit.

Breaking News?

Let us start at the beginning, just after the fire raced into a southwest Boise subdivision. Within an hour of the fire hitting the houses KTVB broke into regular programming with the breaking news. I watched the next hour or so of coverage. In that time viewers learned:

A busy evening in Boise

A busy night in Boise tonight. So many great meetings and opportunities to choose from. The Idaho Press Club has a forum on the impact of the internet on television. Meanwhile over here at the Washington Group building the Boise Web Technologies meetup is hearing about PHPUnit testing and Zend Framework from Brad Benner and Rich Benton.

Dreamweaver vs. Content Management part II

My position on Dreamweaver is no secret. Last fall I was talking with a colleague and journalism professor about the need for journalism schools to teach content management principles as part of their programs. A communications professional who knows nothing about Dreamweaver can have a bright future. A communications professional who knows only a little about content management is in big trouble.

After we were discussing the course yesterday evening I opened up Google Reader and read Ken Rickard's post about Amy Gahran's wonderful Poynter Online article about just this topic. Here are some of the high points from Gahran's article:

Apparently, this j-school (like many others) offers little or no training in true CMS-based tools. Their online courses focus on Dreamweaver.

That's a big problem, because tools embody mindsets. Focusing on Dreamweaver teaches exactly the wrong mindset for online journalism: that your Web site is mainly an island unto itself.

Media self-coverage and the writer's strike

We have had many reasons to distrust the media. Though most reporters and anchors are well-meaning and probably don't aim to lie. But when it comes to covering the media it is increasingly impossible to trust what is said by so-called news broadcasts. A case in point is tonight's broadcast from KATB here in Boise. The local NBC affiliate was covering the return of David Letterman and Jay Leno to doing live shows starting tonight. In painting the situation with an overly broad brush they said that both hosts would return without writers. This, however, is a falsehood. While it is true that Leno will come back without writers, Letterman on a competing network and ownership of his own show will come back with writers. Could one assume that the local NBC affiliate didn't know the difference? The possibility seems so remote as to be impossible since the news has been out for several days already. Instead it seems that there is little way to view this other than a deliberate deception.


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