Are Smartphones The Future of TV News? Is Western Union the Future of Media?

Posted January 29, 2018
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Brett, who works with us, just sent me an article from TV Technology, a magazine.

It was entitled Are Smartphones The Future of TV News?

It is by Lynn Kenneth Packer, who works as a freelance journalist and television news consultant.

Let me cut to the bottom line here to save time.  Lynn Packer says yes.

He makes a long case for why TV news should be done all with phones. You can read it for yourself, if you are so inclined, but to me this is old news.  

It is old news for a lot of people, but not for the people who work in or run TV news, particualrly local news. They will argue over this until management is rolling up the carpets in their newsrooms and they are all out looking for new jobs.

Lemme see...

Your average smartphone or iPhone today shoots 4K. It edits. It does music, graphics, 'shares' for free at the touch of a button, and, oh yeah, live streams from anywhere in the world. 


Does that have any value if you are doing TV news... Lemme think about that for moment.


Also, everyone carries their smartphone with them all the time. No need to wait for the crew. Oh, wait. No crew. Also no live truck. Also, no truck. 

Does this cut costs?

What do you think?

Mr. Packer does make the very valid and intersting point that if you try and plug smart phones into traditiional newsrooms, the problem is with the workflow.  These old newsrooms are not designed to deal with what phones can do. So you have to re-architect the newsroom. Actually, IMHO, you have to rearchitect the whole industry.

The failure of conventional TV news to embrace that which could save them is not a surprise, really.

It happens all the time.

People are frightend of change. 

In 1876, Western Union turned down the chance to buy Alexander Graham Bell's new telephone invention for $100,000.  

William Orton, Western Union's President understood what the telephone could do. What he could not understand was how to plug it into the established work flow at Western Union. The only real use he could see for the telephone was as a way to feed messages to the telegraph service. 

Or maybe the telegraph office wold recieve a telegram and then phone the person it was intended for and read it to them, instead of sending a messenger with the printed telegram.

That is how current TV networks look at smartphones and iPhones in the newsroom.  

-Maybe.. under certain circumstances.. maybe. When you have no other choice.  

That is why the current TV networks are going to end up like Western Union.

They still exist... don't they?


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