Yesterday's column recounted my experience on a very dark day in US history. Today I reflect on a much more positive and exciting experience. Sarah Hill, anchorwoman for KOMU TV an NBC affiliate in Columbus Missouri, made history by introducing the world to interactive participation in a live news broadcast.
Hanging Out Can Make You A Star.
U_News @ 4 hosted by Sarah Hill premiered Monday September 12. Unlike any other news program on the air it included guests from around the world who interacted in real time and on air with Sarah using the Hangout technology. I was fortunate to have been scheduled as one of the guests on this inaugural broadcast.
Other guests have written about the show. Chad LaFarge posted a comprehensive story on his Google Plus account. Kim Beasley had a story published in Technorati.com. The KOMU TV web site has a link which will allow you to replay the segments of show exactly as they went out over the air. Michael Mozart arranged streaming through YouTube and captured all the behind the scenes action. This video is long and begins before we were on air showing some of the preparation and rehearsals of various segments. You will see and hear everything just as we did and it seem like you are in the studio hangout with us.
About 22 minutes into the video Sarah takes live reports from Laurent Ravalac in Paris France about a nuclear power plant incident and then a report on the day after 911 from me in New York and Kempton Lam in Calgary Canada.
KOMU has been using their own web site and social networks like Facebook and Twitter to encourage and collect local viewer comments. But using the interactive video chat and adding guests from other parts of the country and around the world has added a whole new dimension to television news.
One can only imagine where this will go next. Surely the other networks and major markets will begin to adopt this technology, slowly adding viewer participation in news, sports and financial reporting. It may move beyond news into home participation in game shows or perhaps give rise to a new genre of reality show.
On Google Plus, Hangouts already being used for music concerts, karaoke shows and other game shows. This will no doubt be an important development in the continued evolution of social media and the convergence of internet and broadcast technology.
Sarah Hill is one of the first people to recognize the enormous potential in this technology and last night she revolutionized television news. I will be forever grateful that she allowed me to play a small role in the history of broadcast journalism.
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NOTE: Many people were involved in this effort and deserve recognition, congratulations and thanks. They include Jen Reeves (Director), Nathan Higgins (Producer) and the entire staff at KOMU, and my fellow co-hosts Kim Beasley (MO), Pio Dal Cin (Italy), Aaron Fuhrman (MO) , Chad LaFarge (MO), Kempton Lam (Canada), Michael Mozart (CT), Laurent Ravalac (France).