More Convergence Chronicle entries

Read earlier convergence-related headlines in the Convergence Chronicle archives.

ESPN Motion Arrives
ESPN has unveiled a new site featuring video front-and-center
using the much-hyped ESPN Motion, which has been available to subscribers of the
site’s premium service. It delivers just as promised, integrating into the site
highlight clips and interviews at extremely high quality (better than streaming
video), with no buffering. It’s able to do this by saving new clips on users’
computers throughout the day, so that video is already downloaded when you click
to watch. As soon as new video is ready to view, a clickable ESPN Motion icon
will appear in your system tray. Here are answers to
frequently asked questions about
ESPN Motion
. ESPN has even posted
message board
for reader feedback on the new feature. Judging by the
comments, users so far have a mixed reaction. But it’s a landmark step for Web
journalism, integrating video into a mainstream news site like never before.
(Also worth noting is the enhanced BottomLine software, which adds a bar to the
bottom of your screen with live scores and breaking news,  and by clicking
on any score or news item, you are taken to the corresponding page on
for more information). [2/26]

CNN and Cox Newspapers Partner on Iraq

The Iraq war is sure to deliver many interesting examples of media convergence,
and one of the first ones is a highly unusual deal between CNN and Cox
Newspapers. After hearing that the The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and its
owner, Cox, would not use all 8 of the military embedding slots given to it for
reporters in Iraq, CNN approached it and agreed to take the five extra slots for
CNN reporters — under the condition that the CNN reporters file reports for Cox
newspapers. "All of the people we will use to fill those slots will have print
backgrounds," CNN spokesman Matthew Furman told

Editor & Publisher
. "All of our reporters already file for so this
will not be that different." In other words, the cross-training CNN reporters
have already received in filing for the Web site is now serving yet another
useful purpose for the company and the reporters, who otherwise wouldn’t have
been able to go abroad. [2/24]


Great Work: on The Station

The Providence Journal’s Web site has done such a good job covering the fatal
fire at The Station nightclub in Rhode Island that it’s hard to know what to
single out. In addition to continually updating the site with staff-written
stories on the latest developments from the moment the news first broken early
Friday morning, the site has published a slew of impressive online-only
features, including:

A first-person account
from a survivor searching for his mystery savior;

an online memorial
for readers to post condolences for the fire victims;
five flash slide shows and video from a partner TV site; useful information such
as victim and memorial details; and
much, much more. As a
public service, the site has not only been running
a Web log of online reaction
to the fire
by staff blogger Sheila Lennon, but has taken the admirable step
of moving the Web log outside the site’s registration firewall. [2/24]

Great Work: Michael Jackson Unmasked
Here’s a perfect use of animation online: Dateline NBC
combined a series of photographs of Michael Jackson’s face through the years and
morphed them together to visually
show the effect of all of his plastic surgerie
s — in a way more powerful
than any quote or video clip could. [2/20]’s WHNPA Video Honors
In competition with national TV networks, local affiliates and independent
photojournalists, claimed an astounding 27 individual awards
in 15 categories at the White House News Photographers Association’s 2003
television photography and editing competitions.’s
videojournalists Travis Fox, John Poole, Ben de la Cruz and Chet Rhodes were
awarded individual honors in multiple categories. And Fox was named WHNPA’s
"Editor of the Year" for the second consecutive year. "Not long ago the Web
wasn’t even a factor in video journalism — now is winning
more awards than the major television outlets," said Christopher M. Schroeder,
CEO and publisher of Washingtonpost.Newsweek Interactive. "Their incredible
success in the television category over the last three years has made a powerful
statement about the growing role of multimedia on the Internet." Indeed! Winning
videos included this fantastic package,

Rebuilding a Fortress, Rebuilding a Life
. Here’s a list of

all of’s winning entries
the complete list of winners.
Go here to
Watch all 17 of’s award-winning videos from 2001
. [2/6]

Shuttle Debris Video Online
In addition to Florida Today,
which published a

close-up video of the Columbia launch
, The Washington Post also posted
video online with a different view of the debris hitting the left wing
. The
site smartly enlarged, slowed and looped the video to make the debris easier to
see. also posted

multimedia reports
online from Web staffers in the region. "We had a Web
team in Louisiana working on another story and they quickly moved to Texas and
filed audio and video reports," Senior Video Editor Chet Rhodes tells "We also used one of our Post-Newsweek stations (KPRC) to
send back video over the past 3 days." [2/4]

Free Convergence Symposium
The University of Florida is holding its 2nd annual symposium to discuss the "future
of journalism in a world of multiple media
" on Friday, Feb. 7, 2003. The
symposium, which is free, includes panels on Interactivity and News Audiences,
How to Think in Multimedia, Sports Journalism in the 21st Century,  and TV
and Online: A Two-Headed Monster. [1/31]

Cox TV Joins IBS
Internet Broadcasting Systems continues expanding, adding all 15 Cox-owned
television stations in 11 markets to the roster of local news Web sites it
manages. With the addition of the 15 Cox stations, the IBS Network now includes
64 TV station sites and covers 93 percent of households in the largest TV
markets. [1/22]

How Technology Will Change Journalism
Journalists may even be in for a sea
change, Managing
Producer Dorian Benkoil writes in an article for
Digital technology may revamp what the public thinks of as ?news,? just as
television and radio remade what had been a world ruled by print. If the news
?platform? becomes irrelevant, he says, will the cyberjournalist be someone who
gathers massive quantities of journalistic ?data? that can be parsed in numerous
ways? Or will the need for intelligent sifting and analysis become ever more
crucial to help the info-harried user rise above the cyber-torrent? The answer,
he says, is both. [1/13]

What Time is it? News Time
Soon news junkies will be able to get news on their
watches, thanks to a new platform called Media2Go Microsoft and Intel are
designing. "The watches will connect to PCs to calibrate themselves, download
software and connect wirelessly to streaming data beamed over FM radio signals
to grab the latest sports scores or stock prices,"
CNet reports. That’s
right — there’ll be no escaping the news. [1/10]

Songs from the Grave
When a famous singer dies, posting audio clips with the obituary is a good idea,

as The New York Times did when The Clash’s Joe Strummer died
. [1/7]

Journalists Crossing

A growing minority of reporters not only understand what convergence means, they
practice it on a daily basis — reporting and producing content for print, the
Internet, radio, and/or television,

reports Steve Outing in Editor & Publisher
. For now, he says, these people
are unusual, but in the future the majority of journalists may live such
cross-platform working lives. [12/13]

Mobile Phones

Mobile phones equipped with cameras may be the next
piece of technology to have a major impact on journalism,
says the
San Jose Mercury News’ Dan Gillmor
. Already there are more than 10 million
camera-equipped mobile phones in Japan and some of their owners take snapshots
and post them to Web pages. "Watch the next time a major news event, such as a
bad earthquake, takes place there. Before the big Japanese media organizations
even have time to scramble their photographers to the scene, the world will be
able to view the aftermath of the quake — and, no doubt, videos of the quake as
it happened — on a variety of Web sites. [12/10]

New Cross-Media Partnership in Miami
Cross-media partnerships are a
growing trend across the country, and the latest one forming is in Miami, where
The Herald and WFOR-CBS 4 are teaming up in a far-reaching alliance to share
news gathering, personnel, online content, office space and promotional efforts.
Under the
deal, which takes effect Dec. 2
, CBS 4 will feature a Herald Report,
highlighting the newspaper’s stories, in its three daily newscasts. In return,
The Herald will give CBS 4 a slot on Page 4A to feature whatever it chooses. The
television station will have the right to break Herald exclusives, access to The
Herald’s foreign bureaus and office space in The Herald’s Fort Lauderdale
bureau. In exchange, WFOR’s meteorologist will be featured on The Herald’s
weather page and even assist in redesigning the feature. And WFOR’s medical
expert  may be featured in the newspaper’s health section. Other joint
projects will be developed, such as possibly a weekly news show that the two
entities would co-produce. Another part of the alliance involves WFOR’s sister
station, WBFS-UPN 33, and The Herald’s alternative weekly newspaper, Street
Miami. Starting in January, Street Miami will have its own feature segment
several times a week on WBFS’ newscasts. In return, the weekly paper will give a
slot to WBFS. And as for online collaboration, The Herald will supply
late-breaking stories and content to WFOR’s Web site,, while WFOR will provide
Norcross’ weather forecast and a real-time radar screen to Wow. That’s convergence.

Howard University Launches Converged Media Lab
The National Newspaper Publishers
Association, the Howard University Department of Journalism and Microsoft

a Converged Media Lab
housed at the university. [10/20]

Medill’s New Multimedia Digs
Northwestern Uni
versity’s Medill School of Journalism ‘s new $17.5
million building, the McCormick Tribune Center, will house Medill’s broadcast,
new media and regular journalism classes and be able to broadcast programming
across campus or around the world. "We wanted to enable Medill to really take
the lead in producing students who understand and are comfortable operating in a
rich multimedia, digital atmosphere. That is the future," said Richard A.
Behrenhausen, president of the McCormick Tribune Foundation.  [10/10]

Multiple Media
More evidence that people are increasingly surfing the
Net and watching TV at the same time:
a new study by two
Midwestern university professors found that 59% of males and 67% of females
watching TV regularly or occasionally go online at the same time. Of those on
the Internet, 69% of males and 76% of females regularly or occasionally also
watch TV. [10/9]

Watching Convergence Unfold
Journalism student Joseph Van Harken recently found himself in the middle of a
breaking news shooting scene, watching news media converge in the field. He
quickly learned there are many ways to tell the same story, and each way has its
own purpose. In an essay for,
he describes the coverage and the lessons he learned. [9/28]

Computers & TV are Roommates
Here’s some good news for news organizations
pushing convergence: Over half of U.S. adult Internet users have a TV and PC in
the same room, with half of those reporting they watch TV and use the Net
according to a new study from comScore Media Metrix
. This shows that sending
viewers to your Web site for more information during broadcasts makes sense.
However, the study found that 74 percent said their Internet use was unrelated
to the program they are watching. This indicates that most programs aren’t doing
a good enough job of integrating online components into their broadcasts. [9/18

Biting the Hand that Feeds You

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram
has been distributing T-shirts that read: "When's the last time your family sat
down on a Sunday morning and read the Internet together? You can't replace the
paper." On E-Media Tidbits (where
you can see an image of the shirt
), University of Alabama journalism
professor Jim Stovall notes the irony of the message: Just below the words
in the image of the newspaper's masthead is the paper's Web
address. When will newspapers learn that their Web sites are not competition,
but simply a new way to distribute and earn revenue from their product?


New Breed of Journalist
CNN International
President Chris Cramer says broadcasters are increasingly relying on
multi-skilled staff that can deliver stories, pictures and technical know-how.
He told the
International Broadcast Convention in Amsterdam
that this new breed of
reporters and technicians are smarter, skilled across the board and can work in
the various forms of media, according to , said CNN International President
Chris Cramer. They use new portable technology such as videophones, he said. And
at least one CNN staffer, he said, can not only report stories, but fix the
telecom links.

Thousands Want Chicago Tribune’s 9/11
The Chicago Tribune has been getting thousands of
orders from all over the country for its

Sept. 11 commemorative CD-ROM
containing stories related to the attacks;
streaming-video interviews with 25 Tribune reporters who covered the story; an
interactive that tracks the flight path and chronology of each hijacked plane;
and video and more than 300 photographs of related images, including many never
published before, according to a customer service representative. The
representative told that daily call volume has nearly
tripled, from about 6,500 to 18,000 a day.  "It’s mind-blowing," she said.
The CD-ROM was designed simply as a give-away to subscribers, but those who
buy the CD-ROM here.

USA Today, The Network
USA Today publisher Tom Curly
tells Advertising Age,
"We are no longer a newspaper; we are a network. We feed content to TV. We feed
content to the Internet from the same core platform."

Newspapers Distribute 9/11 CD-ROMS
Many newspapers are distributing
special sections to commemorate Sept. 11, but at least two are going all-out and
producing multimedia CD-ROMS. On Sunday,

every copy of The Chicago Tribune included a commemorative CD-ROM
600 Tribune stories related to the attacks that ran between Sept. 11 and Sept.
21 of last year; streaming-video interviews with 25 Tribune reporters who
covered the story; an interactive that tracks the flight path and chronology of
each hijacked plane; and more than 300 photographs of related images, including
many that never ran in the paper. "It’s a way to access the journalism through a
different medium," Tribune Editor Ann Marie Lipinski

told Editor & Publisher
. In a new use of convergence, the CD-ROM also
included video images from Tribune Co.-owned TV stations WGN in Chicago and WPIX
in New York. (For
those who don’t subscribe, you can buy the CD-ROM here.

Reverse Convergence videojournalist Travis Fox spent four months with a sheet
metal worker who is helping rebuild the Pentagon after his son was killed in the
Sept. 11 attack there. The documentary he produced, "Rebuilding a Fortress,
Rebuilding a Life," is first-rate, but what makes it so noteworthy is that ABC
News aired his piece Aug. 16 on "Nightline UpClose." This is the first time a
nationally broadcast television news program was based entirely on a documentary
produced by a news Web site,
according to Poynter’s
Al Tompkins
. The video was also presented in five segments on (which includes additional footage not seen on TV),

where it can still be viewed
. Fox, you may recall, has previously been
lauded here for being named the White House News Photographers Association’s
2002 Camera Person of the Year.

Cross-Training Journalists
The BBC and journalists’ unions recently struck a deal to
allow BBC staffers to take training as videojournalists. Kerry Northrup,
executive director of Ifra Centre for Advanced News Operations,

tells the
European Press Network’s EPN World Reporter
that this
is a good move, adding that journalists who are unable or unwilling to adapt to
media convergence risk being "phased out."

"A lot of people who are journalists today simply cannot be
journalists tomorrow," says Northrup, a leading convergence advocate. ". . .They
won’t adapt to thinking in terms of multiple media rather than being concerned
only about their personal area of specialization. They are media bigots, for
want of a better term, insisting past reason that print is print, broadcast is
broadcast, Web is Web, and never will they mesh. The idea of blending formats to
create a story greater than the sum of its parts remains foreign to them." Many
journalists don’t like the idea of needing cross-media training, believing that
it will stretch them too thin, but the reality is that those who have
convergence skills will be the ones who get ahead.

HBO teams with Salon

an interesting pairing
: HBO’s film unit is teaming up with to
develop print and film projects. HBO will underwrite stories for, with
the option of adapting them for movies.

Video vs. Stills
Roger Richards
discusses the difference between telling stories with still and video
photography with Poynter’s Al Tompkins "The main similarity between video and
stills is that good, carefully composed images are a must," he says. "The main
difference is that video requires an individual to deal with several elements at
the same time: picture, sound, and image sequencing."


The partnership between The Oklahoman and News9 is one of the few
converged news outfits owned by different corporate parents. The deal, which
allows the site to post anything that goes out over the air on News9 or that
appears in the print newspaper, has generally been considered a success. "It
expands our ability to gather information," News9’s lead anchor, Kelly Ogle,
told OJR. "We don’t
work in lockstep with the newspaper, so we’re still able to compete as well."

Tampa’s Experiment
WFLA News Director
Forest Carr describes
one of the most talked-about examples of convergence,
the News Center in Tampa. "The Tampa model of convergence, in my opinion, is
helping to create a new and stronger form of journalism, and it’s doing that
with existing resources and skill sets," he says.

Washington Post Union: Don’t Write for Web

Washington Post newsroom union leaders asked reporters to stop writing for the
paper’s Web site in an effort to draw attention to their contract negotiations.
Articles in The Post are automatically posted on But Post
reporters are often asked to write additional, early stories for the Web site
when significant news breaks. Post reporters are not paid extra for these
stories and can decline to file them, though they rarely do,

Frank Ahrens reported in The Post

Crash Convergence
Newsrooms moving toward convergence must recognize
that in breaking news situations, Web sites can’t always count on TV reporters
to file for the Internet, at least not right away. Portland’s faced this
when covering the recent helicopter crash into Mount Hood, and sent a Web
producer to the scene to report on the rescue separately from the TV reporters.
"On big stories, there’s no time for the TV reporters to talk to the web staff,"
said Jim Parker,’s executive editor. "By having our own producer there,
he can take the story and round it out for us in a print format, which certainly
comes in handy." As a result,
says Lost Remote’s
Cory Bergman
, the Web site’s coverage "quickly outpaced its TV and newspaper
counterparts, writing in-depth stories with smart illustrations, detailed
photos, slide shows and lots of video."

Convergence Case Studies
Poynter’s Al Tomkins did

series of five
"convergence" case studies
Find out why the
South Florida
in Fort Lauderdale,
which partners with radio as well as TV, doesn’t hesitate to break news in any
medium, and how The Washington Post has built one of the most extensive media
convergence networks in the world.

Rise of Digital News Networks
edia companies like Belo, Tribune and Knight Ridder are
flocking to Web publishing systems that tie sites closer together, lower
production costs, smooth the way for network advertising buys and enable
editorial staffs to share content across TV, print and online newsrooms much
more easily than before,
J.D. Lasica reports in the Online Journalism Review
. "In my book, that’s
convergence done right."

Converged Story About Convergence
Jane Allen Stevens takes a look at the ups and downs of one of the first major
convergence experiments,
WFLA-TV, the Tampa Tribune and — in a piece
that includes several interesting video interviews
. "It’s changed the
dynamic of the newsroom," says Tribune managing editor Donna Reed. "Deadlines
are constant. We have a new way of thinking, visually, because TV and online are
so visually dependent, and newspapers are not.

A Convergence Success Story
The relationship between the Dallas Morning News, WFAA,
Texas Cable News (TXCN, Belo’s statewide, 24-hour cable news channel) and their
respective Web sites has become a model of convergence,

reports Mediaweek
. For example, writers and editors for the Morning News and
WFAA recently produced an in-depth investigative report on drug-running into and
out of Mexico by teenagers, a story that was picked up by ABC News. They set the
standard for integrating newspapers, TV stations and cable news regionally,"
says Lee Westerfield, a media analyst with UBS Warburg, who covers Belo. "Dallas
itself is the standard for newspaper-TV convergence in the United States."

News Without the

The New York Times Company is headed toward convergence, moving into cable TV to
complement its Web site, newspaper and wire service. "Newspapers cannot be
defined by the second word — paper. They’ve got to be defined by the first —
news," The New York Times
Company chairman Arthur Sulzberger Jr. tells the Online Journalism Review
""All of us have to become agnostic as to the method of distribution. We’ve got
to be as powerful online, as powerful in TV and broadcasting, as we are powerful
in newsprint." He’s right: this is the future of news.

Teaching Convergence at USC
USC’s Annenberg School for Communication plans to start training all journalism
students for convergence — teaching them to write for newspapers, produce
broadcasts for TV and radio, and produce multimedia stories for the Web. The
University of Kansas and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism
are others that offer cross-platform training, but hopefully more will start
focusing on convergence. Morris
Communications, which runs The Topeka Capital-Journal in Kansas among other
sites, trains new staff members in a corporate "boot camp" that teaches them how
to work in a multi-platform environment, because journalism schools aren’t
producing enough graduates with the skills it needs

Mitch, Inc.
Mitch Albom works in print (Detriot Free Press), TV ("ESPN’s Sports
Reporters), books ("Tuesdays With Morrie"), radio ("The Mitch Albom
Show") and online ( "A lot of people like to talk about
convergence," says the Detriot
Free Press’s publisher, Heath Meriwether
"Mitch Albom is convergence."

Hot Button Convergence

Here’s an
informal list of questions to ask

your online site publishes on a
different schedule and with a different mindset than your traditional news
partner, but you’re still required to touch base with that partner before you
publish. From editor Andrea Panciera.

Inside a Converged Newsroom
Poynter’s Doug White looks at out the Tampa Bay converged newsroom covered the
Sept. 11 attacks in this four-part series:

Addressing Staff Fatigue

New News Cycles

Out of the Box Reporting

A Digital Pub Goes Analog

Go Slow on Cross-Ownership
AJR’s Thomas Kunkel warns
it can be bad for news consumers.

Learning About Convergence
Doing convergence right takes a lot of effort and commitment, but it’s
worth it. "When newspapers are willing to generate significant local
content for television stations, and television stations expand their
on-air reporting to newspapers, and both contribute highly interactive
and locally relevant material to websites, the public can benefit,"

Poynter’s Al Tompkins

Sites Help Circulation
Data suggest newspaper Web sites are having a small, but positive effect
on single copy and circulation sales, as well as, readership, according
to a study by
Belden Associates

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