Check out Pogue’s Posts

August 29, 2009 · Posted in Uncategorized · 3 Comments 

David Pogue, the NY Times technology writer, is fabulous.  I first came upon him several years ago as I was trying to develop a franchise for a local TV station about new technology.  I thought wouldn’t it be great to have a weekly segment on new cameras–still or video, new cell phones, new gizmos and gadgets for your computer, etc. I discovered through market research that no, that’s not why people tune to local TV newscasts so don’t waste time and energy on it and David Pogue of the Times is already doing it.  And he’s doing it in print, in video and online in a blog.  He’s witty and clever and just terrific.  You can find his blog here. http://pogue.blogs.nytimes.com/ .  Being a video guy, I love his videos.  The easiest way to get to them:  go to nytimes.com, click videos (on the left menu column) and search “Pogue.”

Tech-savvy: Everything is Relative

August 29, 2009 · Posted in Uncategorized · 3 Comments 

I spent a nice morning reading the initial blog entries posted so far from our IC cohort.  I guess this is what we now call creating a network.  In the old days we used to call it making new friends.  Now we are just using a new methodology–our blogs.   It’s fun learning about all our varied backgrounds.  It’s clear we have many interesting, accomplished and ambitious folks in our group, many of whom are tech-savvy AND expressive writers.  I’m jealous.  I’ve made my living writing and have been deluding myself with the myth that tech ability and writing ability were probably mutually exclusive.

While I feel a bit behind in terms of technical savvy, I know everything is relative.  In fact, it’s a relative who made that clear to me.  My 84 year old father just bought himself a plug-in camera for his computer.  My siblings and I had been singing the praises of Skype so he was eager to join in.  My dad was always a bit of a gadget guy, back in the day.  He had the original Casio digital read-out watch where you could enter phone numbers.  it was an early Palm Pilot of sorts, in the 70′s, I think.  I remember him hunched over the watch for hours entering business contact numbers with a toothpick because his big, meaty, laborer hands were just too big for the tiny buttons.

And if there wasn’t a gadget for what he needed he would jury-rig a system.  Before the days of remote controls, Dad installed a switch near the headboard so he wouldn’t have to get out of bed to turn off the TV.  Mom used to call it “Marvin-izing.”  Twenty years before cordless telephones, in the days when most homes had only one phone in the kitchen and maybe one in the bedroom, my dad had Marvin-ized our house with phones in every room including the bathrooms.   But, alas, as the pace of technology has increased my poor old dad has fallen a bit behind.

So my Skype notifier goes off the other day indicating it’s my dad.  Only Dad’s not on the screen.  I can hear him, but I see only black.

“Dad,” I say, “where are you?”  “Hellooooo,” he yells, “who’s there?”

“Who’s there?  Dad, you called me.  On Skype.  You know, the video phone on the computer.”

“I did?”  Now I’m worried.  Dad’s getting old and physically deteriorating but he’s been mentally sharp.

“Oh, yeah,” he says.  “I can’t figure this thing out.”

“It’s not hard,” I try to reassure him.  “Did you plug in the camera?”

Over the next 20 minutes I tried to talk him through troubleshooting the Skype connection.  There were times I did see an image that could have been him but it was hard to be sure.  Ultimately I realized his computer is set up on the lanai of his apartment in Florida and the camera was pointed directly into the sun.  He tried to move the camera, which left me with a close up of his hand.  And the floor.  And his belt buckle.  And up his nostril.  I’m still not sure how that one happened.

In the end, Dad decided to work on it himself and said he’d try to get back to me later.  It only took two or three minutes for me to direct him to the red phone icon to disconnect.

After a few minutes I realized we never did talk about anything except our unsuccessful attempts to establish a Skype signal.  I took the plunge and called him on Skype.

“Dad, what did you want to talk about when you called before,” I asked.

“Who is this,” he asked.  “And why do you keep calling me on the silly thing.”  Now I knew he was yanking my chain.  “When are you coming to visit,” he asked, “you can show me how to use this thing.  It’s your world now.”

Why “oldtvnewsguy?”

August 25, 2009 · Posted in Uncategorized · 5 Comments 

I guess I really am an “old TV news guy.”  For more than 30 years I have been a broadcast journalist.  I have held virtually every job in a television newsroom, from on-air reporter to videographer to newscast and investigative producer.  For the past 13 years I have been a News Director, overseeing all aspects of the news operation at local television affiliates in Connecticut and New York.

As I said in my farewell note to staff when I announced I was temporarily hanging up my News Director jersey and embarking on the Interactive Communications Master’s program: “I don’t want to be a “news dinosaur” fighting the changes that our industry is now going through.  I hope my program will help me fully embrace new media because that’s where journalism is going–at a furious pace.  It’s time for me to get out in front of it.”

Hello ICM!

August 23, 2009 · Posted in Uncategorized · Comment 

Hello to all ICM folks.  Wow, what a full, interesting day.  It was a pleasure meeting everyone today.  I look forward to tomorrow!