CNN’s ‘King’ of all errors

The news media has been a hot topic of discussion in wake of the Boston Marathon bombings as a result of the reckless behavior by select outlets. At the top of that list of course are CNN and the New York Post, while the Associated Press and Fox News are one level beneath.

In a time where citizen journalism and photography is gaining notoriety thanks to social networking and websites like Reddit, at the very least, we can count on the one sure notion that the mainstream news outlets are held accountable if they screw up.

Or not…

A New York Times story yesterday shows that in the target advertising demographic, CNN had more viewers than Fox News Channel during Friday’s coverage of the lockdown in Watertown, MA and the apprehension of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, aka subject number two.

Despite the embarrassing blunder made last Wednesday by CNN’s John King, the habit of television viewers automatically turning on CNN in the wake of breaking news remains unchanged. To put this in further perspective, the 1.34 million viewers was the best number CNN had for any nonpolitical event since April 2003, when the network was covering the Iraq War.

So much for consequences, at least in the short-term. However, some might suggest that the network’s low ratings on normal days are already consequence enough.

Odds & Ends

  • Whether or not John King is under any heat at CNN will probably never be known. According to a Washington Post story from last week, CNN had no plans to “bench” King. He was instead reassigned to cover something far less important (my words) — interviewing former President George W. Bush just ahead of the opening of his presidential library.
  • A separate piece from David Carr’s Media Equation column in the New York Times yesterday brilliantly describes the current news media environment, plotting the likely how’s and why’s someone like John King could commit such an embarrassing error. An absolute must-read.
  • When news hit late Friday afternoon that federal authorities had Boston bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev cornered, it was a given that WBBM-AM 780 (and its simulcast on WCFS-FM 105.9) would provide wall-to-wall coverage courtesy of CBS News. WLS-AM 890 was all over it as well following Roe Conn’s afternoon show, courtesy of ABC News. After 8pm when turning on WLS to hear more about the capture, I was pleasantly surprised to hear the voice of Lauren Cohn (weekday co-host, 9am-11am), considering moments earlier WLS news anchor Mary Frances Bragiel mistakenly announced that Sean Hannity was coming up next.

Starting my own media blog (the audacity!)

Clark Griswold

On one particular morning, sometime in the late 1990s, I was listening to B96 while getting ready for school. At some point, I heard a pre-recorded announcement that mentioned the station’s call letters, WBBM-FM Chicago. It was the first time I had ever noticed such a thing — what those in the radio industry refer to as the legal ID. I was immediately intrigued that B96 shared the same call letters as the all-news station over on the AM dial. Imagine my state of shock when I later found that Channel 2 also shared the  same call letters!

Not exactly a fascination a junior high kid is  supposed to think about, especially when getting ready for school.

While some people have a passive interest towards a particular segment of broadcasting or journalism related issues, it is not typical for people to be overly passionate about media.

I happen to be one of the few people. I absolutely love it.

For the few individuals in my life that have any remote interest in a media related topic or issue (i.e. a favorite radio station or why their newspaper keeps getting smaller and smaller), I know I have a limit as to how much I can discuss before that person tunes me out (it’s happened).

I’ve been posting for years as Blowtorch at the Chicagoland Radio and Media Message Board. The CRM board has given me an outlet that I otherwise would not have had. And yet, even with that forum, there has always been something missing. I’ve always wanted a little more. After contemplating on and off for a couple of years, I’ve decided to start my own media blog.

I realize that the very idea of starting my own blog is by default, narcissistic. What makes my blog so special when there are far more qualified individuals out there already discussing media for a living? I can only hope that a lifetime interest of mine will mean I can occasionally write something that may be of interest to someone out there. Again, I hope.

With that in consideration, my feeling about starting a blog is more in line with Clark Griswold, from “Christmas Vacation,” as he prepares to deck his house with a lump sump of Christmas lights. Griswold beams with excitement saying “I’ve always wanted to do this!”

I would like to think this can be a fun, simple hobby. I’m excited to have my own platform where I can “geek out” when the moment strikes.

Stay tuned.