CBS News last week re-launched its Web site, with an updated look and new features that include full-screen video-streaming capability and a blog that keeps an eye on how CBS News goes about its business. The on-demand, 24-hour broadband network will give visitors access to more than 25,000 free video clips. Larry Kramer, president of CBS Digital Media, discussed the new effort with B&C’s Ken Kerschbaumer.
You mentioned that, if the 24-hour news networks knew what they know now about the Internet, they wouldn’t have placed such a large bet on cable. Why?
All of the cable news networks are built around news junkies’ wanting another level of coverage. But the Internet is now so far superior, even for getting video, that it would be illogical to make an investment in a cable news network today.
So does this service mean CBS never does a dedicated cable news network?
I’d never say never, as cable still does a lot of things well. But the fact is the public’s appetite has changed and broadband has caused a drastic shift away from cable news—particularly during the daytime.
Will you have dedicated broadband reporters?
We’ll be totally relying on CBS TV reporters. All of the hiring on the Internet side is for editors and producers to make the Internet presentation be the best. We have a powerful newsgathering organization already in place, so the people we’ll be hiring for the Internet are the same type a company like Yahoo! would hire.
One of the interesting things on the site is a blog that covers how CBS covers the news. What do you think of blogs?
Blogs are unique in that they represent an author’s voice, have an unedited feel to them and aren’t meant to necessarily be professional journalism. But we’re calling it a blog because Public Eye is about embracing the blogger community and creating a more open newsgathering process.