Wednesday Weisblog: Be prepared to get “skyped”

When the average television station covers a live news or sports event, it normally takes as many as three employees plus the expense of a production truck to appropriately cover such a story.

Well, folks, that’s about to change! The news departments are hunting for cost-cutting measures just like the rest of us – and that’s exactly why you will soon become very familiar with the term “skype.”

Rather than using a reporter, a cameraman and a production truck operator, by using “skype” the reporter sets up his/her computer, hooks the camera up to the computer and sends the signal back to the station via Internet. That means one person has just done the work of three! Using tomorrow’s national championship NCAA football game as an example, stop and imagine the money the station could instantly save – hotels, expenses and gas money for the camera operator and the production truck/operator. Oh, and did I mention that the entire “skype” process costs nothing?

Multiply this type of savings over the course of a year (using it wherever live reports are necessary) and it’s very significant.

For your viewing pleasure, use the link below to view “skype” in action. It is from WTSP, Channel 13 in Tampa. During their report, they also go into a bit more detail of how it works.

http://www.poynter.org/column.asp?id=2&aid=156458

The downside, of course, is the loss of jobs this will bring about. And while the quality is more than adequate, it’s not quite as good as what we’re currently accustomed to.

Perhaps we should get used to it, though – and soon. Before you know it, we’ll all be getting “skyped!”

Thanks to my friend Trace, a former television news reporter himself, for providing today’s subject matter.

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One response to “Wednesday Weisblog: Be prepared to get “skyped”

  1. Once again, greedy TV station owners (see: Sam Zell) sacrifice quality to save a buck. As a former TV reporter, (note: former, I was wise to get out when I did) I know how difficult it was to meet deadlines while producing quality work. Throw in having to do all of those other production activities and what you’ll find is a reporter who will have to cut corners, probably in the time they spend researching, sourcing information and even during the writing process. What we do not need more of is lame local TV news, but that’s what we’ll be getting thanks to this cost-slashing move.

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