Can YOU Make a difference for Bright House?; Moyers Takes on the Press Over Iraq
Neighborhood Times staff writer Paul Swider came up with an interesting TV story for today's newspaper, talking about Bright House's latest gambit to separate itself from certain competition which starts with a V -- and its called YOU on Demand.
Capitalizing on the media world's mania for anything remotely connected to YouTube, Bright House is creating a channel on its digital cable service that will feature videos sent in by viewers on DVD and VHS. The pitch: now you can watch user-generated video on your TV screen instead of your computer screen.
I, of course, was immediately skeptical. Bright House chooses which clips will appear and under what categories,taking lots of control from users; all the material will be family-friendly, so forget about the equivalent of YouTube faves such as SNL's uncensored D--- in a Box segment and Michael Richards losing it onstage; and there's no way to submit material online, because the quality of Web video these days isn't good enough to spread across a digital cable TV system.
And in these days of pedophile paranoia, will parents want to put their kid- focused home movies on a service anyone with digital cable can access? Even YouTube allows users to restrict viewership of clips if you only want friends to see the stuff you place online.
But I am a paid cycnic. Frankly, its interesting to see the unique features each cable company is coming up with to woo customers. Bright House has even created an entire news service -- Bay News 9 and its offshoots -- to keep its 900,000 Tampa Bay area households in the fold.
And I wouldn't be the first TV critic to underestimate the audience's passion for user-generated media stuff.
I have often found Bill Moyers' passion for liberal causes undermines his journalism a bit -- ironically, i'm sure there's plenty of folks who say that about ME -- but there is no denying he's uncorked a great look at the media's failure to critically examine the Bush administration's case for war with Iraq, airing tonight on PBS.
This is hardly a new concept. But when Moyers, who served in Lyndon Johnson's administration as that Democratic president was starting the Vietnam War fiasco, tells people he sees parallels in today's Iraq misadventures, it's time to start listening close.
Check out his compelling interview with National Public Radio's Terri Gross on Fresh Air here.
Speaking of Fresh Air, this NPR junkie has heard some way cool interviews there recently. St. Petersburg's own Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales talked turkey about his revolutionary online encyclopedia. And the program offered a collection of material from three past interviews with Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist David Halberstam, who died Monday from injuries sustained in an auto accident.
DEGGANS Pundit Stuff
I'll be appearing on Rob Lorei's afternoon news and public affairs show on WMNF-FM at 1:30 p.m. today to talk about the Tampa Bay Association of Black Journalists' public forum Thursday on race, gender and media post-Imus -- scheduled for 8 p.m. Thursday at the Campus Activities Center on USF's St. Petersburg Campus.
Tune in and feel free to join us tomorrow. We hope to have a wide assortment of guests on our panel, from shock jock Bubba the Love Sponge, to the owner of the radio station which aired Imus locally, and area notables from radio and hip hop communities. Join us!