Monday, April 03, 2006

Nashville is Talking... About Memphis!

Last week, Half-Bakered got added to the News Aggregator feed over at Nashville Is Talking, a blog that's part of the WRKN/2 news experiment.

WKRN/2 is the Nashville news station that's gone with the new "VJ" revolution: one reporter, no cameraman; the reporter is given a high-quality video camera, a laptop and the necessary software. They are one-man bands, meaning any station can now field more reporters for the same money!

You can read Jamey Tucker's for more on that side of the experiment. Jamey, many of you may recall, was an anchor for WREG/3 in Memphis for many years. He's also from my hometown, Huntsville, Alabama. Jamey takes you behind the scenes.

WKRN/2 also encourages its staff to operate their own blogs, even to the News Director! (Shades of the late, lamented Peg Phillip's blog.) The station has a stable of blogs from all over the newsroom, serving different purposes and needs. It's a very forward-looking operation over there, and one that's being watched closely by newsrooms all over the state, including Memphis.

But Nashville is Talking is the real difference. Brittney Gilbert works out of the newsroom, but she's otherwise given free rein to blog as she wishes. She spends the day scouring Tennessee (although mostly Nashville) blogs and newsites for interesting or important stuff to link to. She takes a national issue, then looks to see what Tennesseans are saying about it.

There's no getting around Brittney's liberal politics and sympathies. They are right there. She's slightly defensive about it, but not apologetic. Nor does she feel the need to "balance" what she writes or posts to. Her blog is what it is; take it or leave it. That's a refreshing attitude and I welcome it. But to give her proper due, she does make an effort to be even handed in presenting stories and views.

And WKRN/2 has just started another blog:, run by political conservative A.C. Kleinheider. It aims to become a "one stop shop" for news of the upcoming 2006 elections here in Tennessee. He's got his work cut out for him, but seems to relish the task ahead.

I stand in awe of what WKRN is attempting here. It's an impressive rethinking of what it means to be a "news source" in the digital age. It's a huge gamble that, if it succeeds, may destroy the business model its profits are built on. I've been watching them and hoping they do find the route to the future.

Is anyone here in Memphis television even attempting something like this? Or are they all so locked into the traditional ratings and prestige races that they can't look up to see the wall they are racing towards? Are they waiting for some sign of which direction to move before committing themselves? Are they just afraid?

Anyway, I'm honored that NiT thinks Half-Bakered is worth sharing with their readers. They're providing a noticeable bump in site traffic, which I welcome. They, along with the new Memphis Flyer site redesign are showing up regularly in my referrer logs nowadays.

So, thanks Brittney. I just hope y'all can handle all this greasy Memphis funk.

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