"Experience news in a new way."
If you have read my blog post entitled "NewsFix... as a Concept," you may know my early reaction to how I personally feel about this new news format introduced by Tribune. The hopes are for poorly-performing stations to have better ratings for their newscasts. Rather than rely on traditional newscasts with reporters and anchors, NewsFix introduced a concept that does away with reporters and anchors in favor of an anchorless newscast and also without some of the basic things that make some newscasts boring- cliches ("perfect storm," for example) and stuff like that are what NewsFix tries to avoid. Therefore, this is a more radical approach to news. Even Tribune admits that NewsFix is an experiment aimed at stations where Tribune has the least to lose. One of those stations, includes my hometown's CW39. So does NewsFix work? Is it worth your time? Should you at least give it a chance?
If first impressions are everything, then my blog post is a first impressions post that takes a look at what this NewsFix deal brings to the table. I may add more thoughts on NewsFix and how else it works in future edits depending on traffic or interest from my readers. My comments are all personal (as always) and shown with passion. I hope this is to your liking. It may be a lot of reading you're about to do, but I hope it will be worth your time.
PERSONAL NOTE: I would like to thank Mike McGuff over at the mikemcguff.com blog for linking to this post you are reading right now. Keep up the great work with your own blog. I would also like to welcome and salute all of you who found this blog post via Mike McGuff's blog. This is John's Blog Space- my personal blog about anything and everything that crosses my mind. I hope you enjoy my work and share it with others online if you like my post here.
Let's set the mood with a picture:
^ (original credit: NewsFixHouston Facebook Fan Page) NewsFix: the future of TV news... or more reason to dislike TV news? You decide.
This is one blog post in a series of three different blog posts related to television coverage of certain programs and events. The first was on coverage of the NCAA Division 1 Men's Basketball Tournament (March Madness), and this one pertains to NewsFix. The third in my series is about coverage of the ALMS on ESPN/ABC.
--- Final Thoughts on NewsFix ---(updated: March 22, 2011; edited May 2, 2011)
I have updated my Final Thoughts on NewsFix after thinking about it some more. If you read this post previously and seen my Final Thoughts on NewsFix, get ready for a completely different take from me...
NewsFix is absolutely a different concept and a different way of delivering news. However, different doesn't always mean better. So you think that adding music to news stories followed by having someone NARRATE the news is much better than what CW39 News was with the traditional anchors and reporters? I have to say now... that I'm as appalled as most people are at NewsFix. You know what NewsFix is more like? It's more like someone who does something really interesting to get your attention, and you (eventually) take the bait. When you do take this bait called NewsFix, you step into the bear trap that will mess you up really bad.
The Fallacies of NewsFix.First off, here is what I am most disappointed in. This is not news. Many people liken NewsFix to TMZ on FOX- more like a narration deal rather than a serious newscast, and for good reason. Yeah- news issues are being covered and covered in a different way. Still, I find no redeeming qualities over expressing news the way NewsFix does. You do away with reporters and anchors in favor of this. On YouTube, this is acceptable because hardly anyone gives a damn about having a true production crew and cast of news people to cover things. NewsFix, however, is on television trying to offer news that works infinitely better online rather than on traditional television. You have to credit that NewsFix understands that not as many people want their fill of the news through conventional methods. They are not just putting anything out there without knowing that people want something different. Conversely, news doesn't have to be covered like certain YouTube videos, whereas music is somehow REQUIRED (and especially overplayed or annoying songs) to make news more engaging. I know people are going to complain at me for saying this, but it's like I get annoyed having to listen to Drowning Pool's "Let the Bodies Hit the Floor" or some other overplayed and overused rock song [that I usually don't like] for the 25th or 50th video I've seen while trying to enjoy a video. Even when I'm picking videos to feature in my blog posts, I try to avoid certain videos with songs that end up destroying the main point of featuring a video. You want to hear a certain song that's played in a video? That is why you do a search for that song on YouTube.
Another disappointing thing about NewsFix is the weather and sports segment. I consider both to be rather important in terms of something being covered. These are two bits of news that work MUCH better with a human element. What do we get instead, though? A basic voiceover. Even local coverage of The Weather Channel's "Local on the 8s" is much better at offering weather news than NewsFix. And what about sports? Again- disappointing. It's like NewsFix doesn't care about weather or sports- just get you in and get you out. Two kinds of news reports that work best with people talking to you and delivering these things with passion and heart, all ruined in favor of simple voice overs and next to no real COVERAGE. Damned disappointing- I'm sorry. So this sort of news is better when it's narrated and with no sincere passion or human element?
There ARE Positives...There are some elements, however, I am proud of concerning NewsFix. Bringing things to a personal level with Houston-area folk sharing their thoughts on things (Streets of Houston) is a great deal. Having certain stories that hit home is great to feature in news. Simon Says was a great segment for CW39, and its NewsFix inclusion is always welcome. Crime Bureau with Houston Police Department Constable Victor Trevino shares insight on crime alerts and crime tips. This is most certainly helpful to have an elected official provide these updates. The deal of Pictures of the Day is great considering just how amazing the photography is.
Perhaps a great advantage to NewsFix is that you get an idea of where in the world news events featured will be displayed. Everything seems to be displayed more like an iPod Touch or an iPad display with the world map and the various icons regarding the news. I think that is a very cool touch to the news coverage. Maybe I like it since I've recently been drawn to the allure of the iPod Touch.
FINAL Final Thoughts.This is what I think NewsFix boils down to: f**• anchors. F**• reporters. To Hell with conventional newscasting. It didn't work for the whole of CW39 News. We don't live in the 20th Century anymore. In NewsFix's estimation, CW39 (along with other low-rated Tribune newscasts) News was apparently such a failure that they have to get rid of anchors and reporters and do away with traditional forms of news reporting just to make the news better. NewsFix takes news reporting like it's doing away with an entire labor force and replacing it with robots (figuratively speaking). As an example, The Onion (which I am a fan of) is a traditional-type newscast. And while it's mostly satire, even The Onion can do a better job at reporting news than NewsFix can. AND- it's entertaining! NewsFix is basically a way of saying "we (Tribune) want a newscast to compete with other networks, but don't care less about making a realistic effort to make news reporting with a human crew." It is radical thinking to shake up TV news like this and in this sort of way. Its effort and execution, however, is almost inexcusably... well, inexcusable. You have to hate TV news so much that anonymous YouTube-generation coverage of news will make you appreciate TV news again. Who wants to work anonymously giving anonymous news about things people care or sometimes don't care about? Completely getting rid of anchors and reporters just makes the news that much more hard to follow. You need to bring things on a human level and with human insight. The lighthearted jokes and comments from the likes of Mia Gradney and Katishia Cosley made certain stories fun. THAT is what I mean by a human element- news is news, but it takes a human element to deliver the news home to people in and understandable and professional manner. I don't think NewsFix even cares if they win Lone Star Emmy Awards for their *fine• work. Who wants to work for a newscast (if you want to call NewsFix that) where you are mostly anonymous and deliver news to the masses in hopes of telling other news stations to stick it where the sun doesn't shine?
What if you're a critic of mine who would ask me, "do you hate NewsFix just because you're scared of change or new ideas?" If you are one of those critics, let me answer you promptly- no. I value new ideas and concepts. NewsFix is not just another ho-hum news deal. On the other hand, if you're going to be different from the pack, you need to distinguish yourself in a way that earns my full respect (or a high percentage of it); not disappoint me. I prefer to have more positives than negatives when getting away from an experience. If NewsFix is ever to become a serious revolution and a ground-breaker, it has a hell of a lot of work to do. It's different, sort of a counterculture to traditional news, but doesn't have that Woodstock punch to really make itself stand out and stand beyond its opposition and be a long-standing icon in television.
Now for any would-be critics of mine who would say that I'm scared of change. Change for me was when I started making a habit of watching CW39 for news back during the traditional news format. Most of the news was simple and brief... and professional with a casual touch. NewsFix, to me, is for people who don't care about actual news, and don't care about professionally detailed and understandable news. Even before NewsFix, I enjoyed the news CW39 covered again- even if low-rated. At least this professional newscast had a casual element that made the news actually worth watching. At the most, people will probably only see and enjoy NewsFix only because it's different. Not because it's good- different. Then again, Seymour Butts of Who-Freaking-Cares News is different too... but can do a better job at covering news than NewsFix ever will. I don't want to say that NewsFix is purely a cheap thrill (if you will) that will eventually die of its own inertia, but NewsFix may have exasperated its own problem. They may get the ratings needed for CW39, but not much else.
Why even have a newscast on a channel if you're going to go to the levels of NewsFix as a last ditch effort to compete with other local newscasts? You sometimes have to know when to give up. LeBron James did all he could to make the Cavaliers a solid team, but couldn't help the Cavs win a title for Cleveland. Phi Slamma Jamma, who ESPN has a fetish of re-reminding Houston Cougar fans like myself, never got to win the NCAA Championship in 1983 against North Carolina State or in 1984 against Georgetown. John Stockton and Karl Malone never won an NBA Championship together despite many years working together. Some things just don't work out even as hard as you try. Of course, you could ask the New Orleans Saints about finally getting something right after many years of existence before finally making it to and winning the Super Bowl. Sorry to inundate a commentary piece with lots of sports references, but the main point is that some things just don't work out. If NewsFix fails, what other choice will there be? What other method will have to be implemented to save floundering newscasts? You may well just get rid of TV news entirely for that network than continually fund something that's just going to keep failing.
NewsFix, then, is expressing the news in its own unique way devoid of any traditional practices of newscasts. Things are expressed to the extremes presented and proposed by NewsFix. They are in charge of themselves rather than conforming to long-standing practices and standards. In a lighthearted way, NewsFix gets at news much like I try to get at anything that crosses my mind in my blog! :)
You now know about my ideas involving NewsFix. If you want to know WHY I made these points, I invite you to read on (click "Read More" if not reading the full blog post).
--- NewsFix Explained ---Before I make comments on NewsFix, let me explain what NewsFix is like based on the preview I saw and how I it will try to change how people view the news.
Most of you know I'm not any kind of rock fanatic. This, to me, seems like the work of people coming together in Woodstock fashion to come up with a phenomena that will change (or at least attempt) common culture for a long time to come. Tribune's answer is NewsFix. NewsFix relies mostly on photographers and video work as opposed to having anchors and reporters constantly cover the news in multiple ways. The focus is more on news and less on other people getting in the way telling you what is going on. Rather than have reporters and anchors, there is also a decreased emphasis on covering certain stories that would illicit some sort of corporate bias. If you saw the YouTube video I posted previously in this post, you may get an idea of what this whole NewsFix thing is like. The people are basically presented more like high school or college kids who just want to have fun. These aren't hardened professionals who take their job very seriously. In a way, you can say that the whole NewsFix deal has some swagger in trying to improve not only CW39 News, but news in general. Think of NewsFix like this: "we're out to fix TV news coverage to how WE think news should be covered." So this is not more like "getting your fix of the news," so to speak; but more along the lines of "it's time to fix TV news in our own special way." If it is broke, fix it. And in the eyes of NewsFix, news IS broken. So they want to fix the news in their own way.
The way NewsFix works is that there are visual cues to let you know what stories are coming up. The start of NewsFix opens up with a world map showcasing where in the world certain news events have happened. They are all noted like a bulletin board with news stories broken up by certain numbers. Those numbers showcase the order of stories to be featured. A segment begins followed by a narrated piece. At the end of each story, a new section comes along to show you another story or segment. So you get advanced notice as to what is coming up next. The stories are all covered in a non-biased and thought-provoking way. No corporate bias, just basically a new-age radical look at the news. News is delivered with NewsFix in a way that challenges standards set for decades by many stations and subsequently emulated by many more in trickle-down fashion. NewsFix is also unafraid to discuss certain things that most news networks wouldn't dare discuss.
Therefore, NewsFix is trying to make its own mark on news and news coverage. It's trying to give out the news in a new way. This is a new way in hopes that more people not only forget all about the traditional newscast format certain news stations have had previously, but also to try to try something different. You may well say it's an all-out attempt to save fledgling and low-performing newscasts owned by Tribune.
NewsFix was designed to be a system to provide a quality newscast using non-conventional methods. I question what is actually accomplished if you do away with a traditional news crew in favor of (essentially) photojournalism. If NewsFix becomes successful and the next best thing, then you've shown that you have done away with the human element in favor of a faceless and anonymous crew.
There is a good reason why this concept was introduced. I have read about how one Tribune newscast did everything possible to try to get better ratings for its newscasts. It even included shuffling the deck with a new set of on-air talent. Sadly, it just didn't work out. I think of NewsFix as this absolute extreme to save newscasts... to the extent of not having people on air to deliver the news. It is picture and video driven rather than any traditional methods.
Here is a behind-the-scenes look at what NewsFix is about and how it will all work:
NewsFix, then, is expressing the news in its own unique way devoid of any traditional practices of newscasts. Things are expressed to the extremes presented and proposed by NewsFix. They are in charge of themselves rather than conforming to long-standing practices and standards. In a lighthearted way, NewsFix gets at news much like I try to get at anything that crosses my mind in my blog! :)
Now that you have an idea as to how NewsFix will work, I will now present commentary to prove my point(s).
--- Before NewsFix: The CW39 Days ---I will use CW39 here in Houston to talk more about what it was like before the switch to the NewsFix concept. After all, this is one of the stations to have the NewsFix format made available to it.
Okay. You either loved or loathed 39 News. It has been the lowest-rated newscast in Houston news. Many whom have hated on 39 News would basically been along the lines of saying that 39 News is Mia Gradney... and not much else. If there is one thing you should know about me- I don't give a damn about ratings. The one thing I care about is getting news in a way I like it. I personally think ABC 13 delivers the best news in Houston. However, I do watch 39 News even if it isn't up to par ratings-wise with the other networks. Here's my deal:
• I hardly ever watch KPRC Channel 2 (Houston's NBC affiliate) for anything, except maybe sports.
• I don't watch KHOU Channel 11 (Houston's CBS affiliate) for anything other than sports.
• I usually watch KTRK Channel 13 (Houston's ABC affiliate) for news and other programming.
• I watch KRIV Channel 26 (Houston's FOX affiliate), but not often, and not usually for the news.
• I usually watch KIAH Channel 39 (Houston's CW affiliate) mostly for Maury, but I also watch for CW 4Kids, "Going Green with Yolanda Green," and "Anything That Rolls." I don't watch CW39 for too much else.
So I've been watching 39 News because I don't have this addiction to always be in the know of what's going on in the world. Some traditional newscasts are too much for me, usually of issues I just don't understand as well as I would like. I usually used to watch CW39 News even back when it was KHWB. I usually watched for the weather reports from the great "Chief Keith" Monahan. Did it mean that I wanted to get a great newscast from some channel other than from a major network? No. What this is all about is finding something to be happy with.
Think about this like buying a car (not that I have any experience). There are cars you know that are probably better than what you want to get, yet you still go with a certain car because it works best for you. Maybe not for others, but do you care about other peoples' thoughts in helping pick a car YOU want for YOUR needs? Thing is- we have things called choices in life. You CHOSE to get that car because that's what you want. You CHOSE to go to a certain university or college because that's what you want. So I CHOSE to watch 39 News even if it's the lowest-rated. I don't care about ratings, and I don't look into things just because of ratings. Why are ratings made a big deal out of? It's the business side to me. Who wants your product if no one even thinks it holds a candle to anything else in its class? Television news is a product, and it is a product for many TV viewers to enjoy. When you don't deliver a solid product, people stop caring about it and find something more desirable.
I knew 39 News was heading for a tailspin when talent was being shifted and diverted. I initially thought the NewsFix concept was more along the lines of "either you make this newscast better, or NewsFix will need to be implemented in your place." Television news is often a revolving door where talent come in and other talent go out. I had felt a little suspect as CW39 was offering people the chance to make some money by shooting and sending video to CW39 News. You have to have a YouTube channel, and if CW39 News uses your video, you get $100 USD. I was disappointed to see talent such as Hailey Frances, Alex Radow, Jason Volentine, and Leticia Juarez go elsewhere among others. An example of "laugh now, but cry later" was when various members of CW39 picked up Lone Star Emmy Awards for their work. It was a sign that I thought CW39 was preventing the NewsFix curse from happening. I thought it was a sign that this NewsFix thing was not going to materialize. Turns out... NewsFix was still looming over the sinking ship (as one person described it) known as CW39 News.
On the other hand, there have been a few ideas that I think have shown CW39's flaws. As 2009 came to an end, CW39 News wanted to play with the news a bit and count down the biggest news stories of the past year. I noted online that you don't play around with the news like this. Another measure to maybe spice up the news (especially the 5:00 PM hour news) was the Happy Hour segment I've recalled. This was where [former personality] Hailey Frances would go around town finding some of the most happenin' venues offering good food and/or drinks. I thought it was pretty risky mentioning this during the 5:00 PM hour news. Maybe one last wrinkle to the CW39 News set was the stand-up news set. I know I've heard of on-air personalities not wearing pants or anything while on set behind the anchor desk. So if you're going to be on the news and on TV, better cover up! :D
Why Did I Care for 39 News, Then?Simple- it was mostly casual while still being serious about covering the news. I don't believe in ratings, and I also don't believe in expectations. Regardless, I don't expect CNN or FOX News quality news coverage. Am I an idiot just because I favor a more casual newscast than I do anything seriously engaging? No. It just means I saw something in CW39 News [before NewsFix] that kept me to watch that for getting my fix of the news. I kept watching because I was happy with what the network's news had to offer.
--- Before NewsFix: CW39 News Influences ---Now for some piece-by-piece influence to show what CW39 was before the NewsFix format changed everything...
CW39 News Influence: Mia Gradney.A lot of people who think CW39 News is Mia Gradney and very little else could probably understand why CW39 went away with the traditional anchor desk, and replace that with a stand-up set. I do hear of (and I don't want to put people on the spot) anchors and other newsroom talent not wear pants or something on set. I hate thinking of the stand-up set as a showcase of fashion and not much else. Mia's Look of the Day usually showcases her many different outfits. There are also the "Mia's Style Files" segments that highlight on fashion. If 39 News was a fashion show rather than a traditional newscast, then there would be more focusing on her and fashion. But honestly, Mia has done a great job dishing the news out to all who watch 39 News. She has basically been the face of 39 News. Mia was her own star, shining brightly and infusing her own commentary into her work.
Where is Mia now? Mia Gradney, for what I know, is still with CW39, but providing updates courtesy of headlinehouston.com. She has no on-air appearances on NewsFix. As I learned today (May 2, 2011), Mia Gradney will be part of a new program called "Eye-Opener" on CW39. It is a morning news show set to debut May 9th starting between 6:00 AM to 8:00 AM local time.
CW39 News Influence: Katishia Cosley.Katishia Cosley was the weekend anchor for CW39 News as well as a reporter. I have admired her work since first seeing her on ABC 13 back in 2007 or 2008. She boasts a genuine smile and is great at covering news. I think Katishia shines her brightest during lighthearted and fun stories. I think she has this sort of lighthearted personality that makes her truly shine.
On CW39 News, I have appreciated her work as an anchor. When you're an anchor, you are in charge of being that human link to what is going on in the news. It is also (in the case of CW39's stand-up news set) where you can look as fabulous as you like! :) Katishia didn't disappoint with some lovely outfits on set. Various lovely dresses, pant suits, pumps, sandals, boots, and not to mention going from dark curly hair to a lovely blonde-like hairstyle; you might as well take advantage of being on set by looking as fabulous as you can!
I still think Katishia can take any network to the next level (and even a few levels afterwards). Watching her on TV, she has a passion and a heart for covering the news whether as an anchor, a reporter, or an anchor/reporter. I do hope she can perhaps return to the anchor desk to provide her voice and character covering the news. She brings positive energy even to some of the most depressing stories. It is the lighthearted stories where I think Katishia Cosley is at her best. This is where her voice is at her cutest and her coverage is at top level. Katishia even has a little fun with some of the stories after segments. I still liked when she did a mock Oscar acceptance speech. Of course, I think she may one day win herself at least one Lone Star Emmy Award for her work. I am a fan of her work and what she brings to TV news.
Where is Katishia now? Katishia Cosley returned to ABC 13 to be part of the Live Well Network. She's somehow working on a show about how to save money called "Deals: Living Well for Less." Best wishes to Katishia on this deal.
CW39 News Influence: Maggie Flecknoe.I am a fan of the beautiful Maggie Flecknoe (or "Blondie"). She is usually seen during the Online Dish segments, but she has even done entertainment segments and even previews for the news. Maggie has a voice that is a combination of silky and sweet. The young Maggie is a heavenly beauty with blue diamond eyes and golden blonde hair. When I first started watching CW39 News, Maggie was the Social Butterfly of CW39 News. Her on-air work and online work are great. Maggie brings great personality and an almost unapologetic nature to some of the many topics she discusses in her Online Dish segments. I missed seeing some of her lighthearted segments. She once covered things like some chili festival at HEB Central Market last year. She talked about her experience with Katishia Cosley as Katishia filled in for Mia Gradney one Friday evening. Wherever she goes or ends up, I wish Maggie all the best in all of her work.
Where is Maggie now? While most of the past talent has moved on, Maggie Flecknoe is still a solid talent for "Online Dish with Maggie." There are even promos and commercials for "Online Dish with Maggie."
CW39 News Influence: Mayra Moreno.Solid as a reporter (and as a fill-in anchor), Mayra Moreno is a beautiful and young personality who is solid in all of her work. Prior to joining CW39, Houston's own Mayra Moreno has contributed her service to the likes of KRGV Channel 5 in Rio Grande Valley, Texas; and KHOU Channel 11 here in Houston. I am very fond of the lovely Mayra for all of her work on air. She speaks beautifully both in English and Spanish. I think she too is worthy of Lone Star Emmy material.
Where is Mayra now? No idea. Probably still with CW39.
CW39 News Influence: Steve Simon.Whether you love or hate his Simon Says commentary pieces, Steve Simon is outspoken. His work for the CW39 News is nothing short of impeccable. The fact that people call in wanting to know his opinion on certain issues shows that people care about his opinions and value his opinions so much to where they even merit discussion. Steve Simon was one of five different CW39 personalities to get Lone Star Emmy awards during last year's ceremonies in Dallas.
CW39 News Influence: Mike McGuff.Mike McGuff has been in the business for a long while. However, it was the first time I had ever seen him on TV and heard his voice when he joined the CW39 News team as a freelance reporter. Mike McGuff usually blogs about TV and radio news in his very successful mikemcguff.com blog. His duties on CW39 were done very well. I am a fan of his blog and his on-air work.
CW39 News Influence: Keith Monahan.No one was more insightful on weather for CW39 than Chief Keith. He delivered weather news in a great and understandable way even with his own personal twist. I've enjoyed watching his weather reports even since about 2005.
CW39 News Influence: Jorge Vargas.Vorge Jargas did sports for CW39. He was cool in covering sports news. I heard his sort of farewell speech back on Friday. Best of luck to Jorge wherever he ends up.
If any of the aforementioned names are reading this... you all are the best. Among others, I admire your work on the set throughout your service on CW39 News.
All of this was BEFORE NewsFix. After?
--- After NewsFix... ---The previous section was CW39, even in its low-rated state. What about CW39 News since NewsFix arrived? That's why you're reading this section right now. CW39 News is out; NewsFix is here. What does this deal hold for the future of news on this channel after a few installments of NewsFix (and after a preview)?
I saw the NewsFix preview put together when I was watching at about 5:40 PM CDT on Friday, March 19, 2011. Here is some honest commentary- I prepared this blog post starting back on Monday or Tuesday. I've set up a bunch of points to savagely attack the hell out of NewsFix prior to the arrival of even the NewsFix previews.
To be honest, this is absolutely a new way to look at the news. It is definitely radical and warranting of counterculture. NewsFix is the Woodstock of TV news. It's news with personality. It has the primary goal of covering the news while also having the personality of certain TV series. To show that I get the point of NewsFix, read the next few sentences. NewsFix is coverage of the news in much different ways than what a traditional newscast would report news as. Whereas traditional newscasts try to be as neutral as possible, NewsFix isn't afraid to take one certain side.
Notable Differences Shown.Actually using "Dumbass of the Day," calling out celebrities, and even mentioning certain topics gives NewsFix an interesting future. NewsFix seems more like the combination of TV news with the feel of a TV series. The topics seem to be much different from what you normally see on most networks. NewsFix is really looking like something to challenge traditional newscasts and how traditional newscasts cover and deliver news. I think a traditional newscast would have said something like "now, here is a dumb criminal." No- this PREVIEW (mind you) noted someone as "Dumbass of the Day." So it's safe to say that NewsFix is NOT afraid to call somebody out. Whereas traditional news is about respectfully being as neutral as possible and offering no real personal emotion, NewsFix is completely different.
There will still be some segments where certain talent will be shown on TV. I think the "Simon Says" feature will be part of NewsFix broadcasts. "Simon Says" is about Steve Simon's own unapologetic commentary about certain issues. There is a very useful segment called "Crime Bureau" where information on certain crime alerts and crime tips are shown to help people stay safe in the face of crime. That will be very useful to viewers. I just wonder about sports and weather for NewsFix.
I don't need a bunch of narrated material with some music just to get my news, let alone get it in a snazzy way. That's why in my YouTube channel, I don't have a lot of music because I don't want anything mindless to get in the way of expressing a certain point or certain points in my videos. The music is a good touch to stories, but I'm not really feeling some of the music to be behind certain stories. Also, I don't necessarily like the way certain stories are covered (though some are entertaining and engaging).
--- After NewsFix: Notes from Certain Segments ---Okay. Here is a look at some of the things I've noted from the first proper installment of NewsFix...
"Simon Says" is Back!Steve Simon returns with his commentary piece. Remains unchanged for the most part except for the new graphics. This edition of "Simon Says" was a look at getting TV news in new ways. Basically, he's adopted the whole counterculture, rock-and-roll, radical look at TV news that NewsFix provides.
Weather and Sports.Narrated; three-day forecast; traffic cameras; five-day forecast.
Reminiscent of The Weather Channel's "Local on the 8s" with some traffic, but with no in-depth weather coverage to speak of at all. Sports news is all narrated with music in the background and is merely a brief look at sports. No video highlights to speak of.
Streets of Houston.I will say this- this is a great piece. It involves getting people off the streets of Houston and the Houston area to comment on a certain thing.
Your Thoughts.This is basically what used to be certain segments where a poll question was asked to people asking for their comments. One poll question was on if marijuana should be legalized. Of all things, "Hits from the Bong" from Cypress Hill was playing. One of the responses to the poll question was "Yes - Pass me a joint!" I'm like... wow. They actually used THIS song and THIS question?
Deja Views.Old-school video on a certain topic.
Celebrity Crimes Against Humanity.One of NewsFix's attributes is to call out celebrities rather than celebrate the celebrity. This segment personifies calling out celebrities. It begins with a look at what certain things celebrities have done followd by "crimes" against others.
News Tip.People who send and shoot video to 39News... uh, NewsFix, can win $100 US Dollars for your content if NewsFix uses it.
Closing Comments.Greg Onofrio (narrator of NewsFix) makes commentary pieces on certain ideas to close out the show.
No reporters. No anchors. Just news mixed in with music and expressed in a youthful and insane way. NewsFix is the anti-traditional newscast in more ways than one. One thing I noticed about NewsFix- it is VERY audio-dependent. If the audio fails in some sort of fashion, so is NewsFix. The NewsFix crew has reportedly been through as many as 52 audio rehersals trying to get the package delivered proper. Once NewsFix concluded and went to "Two and a Half Men," the audio was out momentarily as NewsFix went off the air.
--- After NewsFix: Internet Responses ---The following are tweets from people (with names undisclosed; to protect privacy)
So what do Twitter folk think about NewsFix? Here are some tweets to tell a story while also providing reactions from others. Just so you know, I did a Twitter search for "NewsFix" and came up these tweets that I found.
NewsFix Reactions on Twitter.The following are various tweets I picked up in response to what others feel about NewsFix.
"Getting ready for the last traditional newscasts @39news. NewsFix starts Monday."
"@39News Seriously.. newsfix"
"Magnificent job NewsFix Audio guys!"
"I watched NewsFix and want my time back, that sucked so bad. I kinda feel insulted they call it news."
"Me: "I'm off to fix the News." The wife: "I thought the news was already neutered?" #NewsFix
"The Television News 'Revolution' begins tonihgt in Houston... they actually promise not to 'Talk in TV Bullshit.'"
"NEWSFIX WILL PREMIER ON CW39 IN 2 HOURS AND 45 MINUTES ON CW 39 IN HOUSTON! WATCH OR SET YOUR DVR!!! 5PM AND 9PM SEVEN NIGHTS A WEEK!"
"NewsFix promo long on style, shorter on substance | Four DVRs, no...: The newscast story menu is designed to re..."
"(undisclosed), this #newsFIX isn't replacing you guys is it?"
"Thanks for the follow. Hope you like NewsFix. It's a news revolution"
"Yes it is. RT (undisclosed) this #newsFIX isn't replacing you guys is it?"
NewsFix Reactions Elsewhere.These are some other respones I picked up online concerning NewsFix. Have a look:
"The girls says towards the end I am really proud of it? What? Thats she was spared and still has a job. This will FLOP....Such a shame how they put people in key positions that shouldnt be there. What fools. More like TMZ...... If the people behind the scenes have big freakin egos...." (in response to the NewsFix preview)
"This newscast, if you can even try to call it that--is way too in your face for Houston. It might have worked in a place like Miami. The old WSNV tried in your face with crime news all the time. I don't think this will work in Houston.
I see a lot of people in the background that use to be at other shops in town, sorry folks this thing is far to TMZ. Label it what it is---don't call it news and you might have a show that works."
"I see what this like now. It's like TMZ trying to do "serious" news. One large VO with cheezy, dramatic "verbage" to liven it up or SCARE YOUR PANTS OFF. No real substance or credibility. Just "stories" re-written & read "from reports" from other agencies wherever they can find them. Probably Google."
So basically, not many people are buying it. In their (NewsFix) defense, I think they'll say that not everyone understands NewsFix right away and haven't yet adjusted to the new NewsFix format. I guess to them, too many people are still stuck on past standards of news and news coverage that something as radical as this isn't easily accepted. The anticipation is likely that people will eventually get into NewsFix and enjoy it for what it is. Trouble is, I don't think most people are going to like that the NewsFix is in. More would probably rather put up with Mia Gradney or Katishia Cosley rather than have a narrator and a bunch of photojournalists deliver the news.
It is a different concept, but as I say- different doesn't always mean better. And in the case of seeking superlatives, I am going to find it extremely hard to believe that Houston people are going to flock to CW39 for their news while leaving behind the traditional newscasts. I would say it's sad to see news covered like this in a city where we have had Houston-area talent like Dan Rather from Sugarland (as in Sugarland, Texas; not the popular country music group). It's going to be tough to say if this actually "saves" CW39 News or any other network's news based on what I've seen earlier tonight.
--- Does NewsFix Have a Future Elsewhere? ---Of all the material I've read, all I basically heard of was KIAH Channel 39 being the lowest-rated of the Tribune-owned stations that have newscasts. It was to be reported that CW33 in Dallas-Fort Worth was going to have the NewsFix format introduced as well. However, CW33 was reportedly safe from NewsFix. This brings a feeling I am all too familiar with as a native Houstonian- the "Always Hate Houston" mentality that only Houston is on the wrong end of things while every other God-forsaken city gets off much better than us.
Who else among Tribune newscasts are in deeper crap than CW39 News? I think if NewsFix is getting a good rap here in Houston, then I think NewsFix may ultimately be the spark needed to give low-rated newscasts the boost needed to get them into the favorable range.
Does/Could NewsFix and Its Concepts Have a Future on Other Networks As Well?Could it be possible that other low-performing networks borrow concepts from NewsFix to help make their own newscasts better? Well, remember- NewsFix is about saying "screw anchors. Screw reporters. Just news with no strings attached." So therefore, a newscast has to be so putrid that the only way to make it better is to replace on-air talent in favor of photojournalism. Not only that, but make the news more inviting with music and creative ways of expressing news. The one thing I would fear is if NewsFix's influence becomes contagious to where everyone wants to be like NewsFix. Or at least, borrow elements to make their own poorly-performing newscasts better.
That concludes the NewsFix portion of this blog post. Before I close, I must offer a passionate farewell to CW39 News while also offering some personal thoughts...
--- A Passionate Farewell to CW39 News ---This section is a personal piece in regards to defending what CW39 news brought to news as well as my own personal opinions on what the traditional newscast brought before NewsFix came along. If you think news on Channel 39 was better before NewsFix, then this is your section.
Since CW39 News apparently didn't cut the mustard ratings-wise to be a contender in its years on the air, I always felt that CW39 still had its fair share of fans. People still called in to take part in polls and contests and such. Remember that I mentioned TV news as a choice. If you want to get the news, you have choices on TV. There were those who chose CW39 for their news. I'm sure not a lot of people cared if it was the lowest-rated news in Houston. Don't confuse low ratings with low quality. CW39 News wasn't to the quality of the bigger and better stations, but people still found something to love about CW39 News to where they would still tune in at 5:00 PM during the weekdays and 9:00 PM every night.
That's why I don't believe in ratings. Ratings are just a cheap way of telling people how good something is just on impressions from other people. Ratings are mostly on the standpoint of business. Us people who watch the news are the consumer, and consumers have different needs and desires from what most average folk want from a newscast. What one consumer (so to speak) wants in news is different from what another consumer may want out of a newscast.
Viewership.If you're talking about ratings in terms of TV viewership at certain times of day, then I just don't watch too much TV at the times CW39 News is on. Usually on Monday nights at 9:00 PM (for example), I am watching WWE Monday Night RAW. If a sports game is on, I usually flip over to the sports game. I don't really watch news non-stop. I don't have this addiction to know what is going on all the time. On the weekends, I usually just have fun on my PC or something rather than see the evening news on Saturday nights at 9:00 PM. If I am watching CW39 News on Saturday night, I do check in.
Let me put it to you in a different way. My blog gets the least number of hits weekly on the weekends. I sometimes get between 2,000 to 2,500 blog hits each weekend. My blog has struggled to reach 3,000+ daily hits since January 12 of this year. I nowadays average 2,500 to 2,800 daily blog hits on weekdays. Most of my blogging insight tells me that I get the most number of views daily between 12:00 PM Central US Time and 3:00 PM Central US Time, and I get my least number of views between Midnight Central US time and maybe 6:00 AM Central US Time. My blog is read from many places worldwide, so can you honestly tell me that I can draw a consistent audience (a worldwide one, mind you) of 3,000+ blog hits every day? "John's Blog Space" is not the world's greatest blog, so it isn't like getting so many views and hits is second nature.
Some people just don't watch the news all the time. Do 18-25 year olds ALWAYS go to the nightclub every weekend? Does every family go to church on Sunday mornings? Not everyone is going to do everything consistently. In the case of TV news, not everyone is into the news or wanting to always be in the know. This is also an age in which people are getting their news in more ways. Think of people who visit websites and get Twitter updates for their news. The main mindset to me is that CW39 News may be so poorly rated that no one even cares to even watch. Have I said that CW39 news is the best of all? No- I've CLEARLY said that there are stations that deliver news better than CW39, but it isn't the absolute worst in Houston.
Why I Still Cared.Maybe the reason why I liked CW39 News in its form before NewsFix was because everything was complete and casual. Even if it wasn't a powerhouse team of reporters and talent, I still watched. One thing I've noted was a lot of youth on the CW39 team. The goal of joining a newscast is to make the news work great while also contributing to the greater good of improving the morale of a newscast. There were a lot of young folks who were part of CW39 News. These included the likes of Justin Horne, Hailey Frances, Maggie Flecknoe, and Mayra Moreno among others. At least they did their part to make CW39 News great and make it work as best as they could. As with young talent, you have to have some veteran leadership. Past and present veterans included the likes of Mia Gradney, Katishia Cosley, Andrea Nguyen, Steve Simon, Alan Hemburger, Steve Mark, Matt Sampsell (former sports reporter), Mike McGuff, Keith Monahan, and others. Even if ratings are the worst, at least this was a cast to be proud of. At least this provided the human element to deliver the news with confidence and with professionalism. Even if you didn't like the personalities on the air, at least they brought the human element that this new anchorless concept fails to offer.
So to the crew at CW39 News who provided the on-air charm (past and present), congratulations on solid work every day and every night. I even seen as Mia Gradney confidently ended the Friday night newscast by saying "...NewsFix is next." That's it. No tears in her eyes, no "it's been great covering news on CW39 (she's not leaving the station), none of that. It was just a send off to get NewsFix working. End of an old era for CW39 News, and the beginning of a possible new era with NewsFix.
That concludes my first impressions and review of NewsFix. I know this is basically a first impressions look at this concept, but these views are very much my own thoughts on this whole concept. If Tribune and company want to go with this concept to give news a boost, then so be it. I don't work for Tribune. I'm just another person who essentially lives on the Internet that has an opinion on things. What do YOU make of NewsFix after seeing it in action (or at least in previews)? Comment away!
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