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Will It Survive, and Thrive, in an Online World?

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THE FUTURE...

Like Doc Brown said in Back To the Future, 'the future is what you make it,' so it is for both local news stations, and their national broadcast parents. Many have spoken about the downfall of the traditional newscast, and that remains to be seen. But for now, local television stations have the journalists, resources, and contacts to cover the community, and many would be upset if they went away. What local news does best is local coverage. Content is hard to top, and hard to fake. That said, the public is becoming more and more computer savvy, and news stations will have to continue to work hard to keep viewers interested... on television, and the Internet.

How do they do that?

Here in Gainesville... both News 5 WUFT and TV-20 WCJB provide stories on the web. News 5 is a student run television station, from on-air to behind the scenes... and while the technology may not be the best, the content is there. For TV-20, the only commercial station in Gainesville until just recently (WGFL 4 is now here), a new, easier to navigate website is in place. With links to parent ABC, as well as local news, sports, and weather... the website is designed, ironically, by a company started by a UF graduate. The company, Silverscape Technologies, has just recently changed names, now the 352 Media Group.

Both News 5 and TV-20 may lack the most important ingredient for the Future of local news on the web (next to timely content, of course)... MULTIMEDIA... Granted, Gainesville is not a major media market when it comes to television news, and is actually one of the smaller in the country... Still, is there MULTIMEDIA in store for College Town U.S.A.?

Here's what Bridget Grogan, the Assistant News Director at News 5, says about the future of streaming newscast video on the internet in general:

"Eventually it will affect viewership, but right now that's still not considered a mainstream method of viewership...it will probably take several years to get to that point."

Grogan points to 2 things for the delay of moving in the streaming video direction. That viewers must make the choice themselves to change. And that right now it is not a strong industry money maker.

But with the Future, the possibilites are endless...

This link on TV Jobs.com lists stations who are jumping into the future head first...

(http://silverscape.net/company/news.asp?newsid=33)

(Interview: Bridget Grogan-News 5)

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Copyright 2002 Dan Cohen