Channel Ten catches up

Now I don't want to call myself a prognosticator -- much less intimate that I had any influence over the following decision -- but in the weeks since I blogged about Channel Ten's lack of an online strategy, things have certainly changed.

Now I don't want to call myself a prognosticator -- much less intimate that I had any influence over the following decision -- but in the weeks since I blogged about Channel Ten's lack of an online strategy, things have certainly changed.

An article appeared on B&T (registration required) today heralding the arrival of Ten News' new Legion Interactive-powered "interactive service":

Ten News has launched a new interactive service that enables viewers to SMS, MMS or e-mail live video footage, pictures and text messages direct to its newsroom.

This multimedia gateway allows members of the public to send still images and video of breaking news stories from their mobile phone to the dedicated newsroom number 0405 101010, or via e-mail to yourpics@newspics.ten.com.au.

That's right boys and girls, hold on to your hats, 'cause Ten's got a multimedia gateway! (Although its Web site still looks dodgier than Bert Newton's hair.)

Having recently developed an atrocious habit of turning on the idiot box when I get home from work (usually just in time to sight Naomi Robson's gormless face contorting as she summons up faux empathy for the Aussie battler du jour), I've noticed a trend in the way channels Seven and Nine gather news. In promos and bulletins, both incorporate impassioned requests to e-mail their team about the "issues that matter", the things that are going on in your community. They care, and they want you to tell them what grassroots issues have made you blue this week.

The cynic in me responds to this with a mixture of eye-rolling and incredulity. Are these two networks -- currently involved in a highly publicised ratings war -- so lazy in their reporting that they have to appeal to the hoi polloi to find news for them? Or is this a Mel and Kochie-style attempt at encouraging familiarity by establishing that their journalists -- though distinguished and, in the case of Mark Ferguson, disarmingly spunky -- are just like everyday Australians?

Tell me what you think in Talkback below. I may not have an e-mail address that begins with "TellElla" like Tracy Grimshaw does on A Current Affair, but I assure you, I do care.

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