NAB:Anatomy of A Virginia Tech Cellphone Clip

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A Nashville station that sees 40% of its Web traffic come from a stable of blogs was touted as one that “gets it,” according to moderator Jeff Jarvis.

That came during the RTNDA session “Get Your Audience Involved” today in Las Vegas. WKRN Nashville reached out to the blog community in its market with a variety of enticements, including hats, donuts and videographic training, and Web GM Mike Sechrist says the digital media types responded in kind. The station’s blog aggregator “Nashville is Talking” was hatched, and the station subsequently added two dozen more blogs from its traditional newsroom types.

Furthermore, as weekend Web traffic lagged, Sechrist paid bloggers $100 a head to post throughout the weekend. “It’s been a huge success for us,” he says. “Weekend traffic can be as high as a weekday.”

Jarvis, the professor and blogmeister behind buzzmachine.com, started off the session in a topical fashion, looking at how a student’s cellphone footage from Virginia Tech yesterday became what looks to be CNN.com’s most viewed clip ever. CNN.com executive producer Sandy Wagner walked the audience through how the student posted it on a CNN community site, a producer viewed it, the student was vetted, and the clip was on the air. “The whole process took half an hour,” said Wagner.

The panel, which also included Scott Bomboy of Internet Broadcasting, discussed issues such as airing live user-generated video (and the decency issues therein), and the increasing role of citizen journalists. One positive aspect of the latter, said Sechrist, was that they typically come from the market and stay in the market--as opposed to a station staffer who departs for a larger market in three years. Sechrist also spoke of the role his blogger corps play in generating stories for the newscasts.

“I would’ve killed to have blogs when I was an assignment editor,” he said. “If you’re looking at 80 [local] blogs a day, it’s a wonderful tool for staying in touch with what’s going on.”

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