In economic struggles, newsrooms should turn to the web

It's old news: the Internet makes life easier. Yet, still, I'm always astonished to find that some professionals still don't consider it a serious, practical, and usually ideal solution to budget cut problems.

Let me explain...

As a member of my journalism department's College Based Fees Committee, I see the effects of this "economic downturn."* *(Because our committee is largely transparent, I have no qualms about openly discussing our budget issues.)

Our broadcast concentration (CPTV ) hasn't aired once this year because of equipment problems. First, their tape decks were busted, now they need a $20,000 switcher. Of the eight live shows that were supposed to broadcast this fall quarter, none have aired. That's right, zero of eight.

Equipment defects and financial dilemmas aside, this is inexcusable.

The entire purpose of college is to get enough education and experience to land a job out of college. Even if they can't broadcast to the dorms every week over the TV, they should still broadcast online.

Some traditional members of the industry would see the online market as a last resort or a less-professional means of learning, but I think it's the ideal solution.

With the click of a mouse, free services like Mogulus can potentially do what the $20,000 switcher would accomplish.

  • It's FREE
  • Limitless number of input devices (Web cams, camcorders connected through firewire, pre-recorded video, you-tube clips, you name it!)
  • Can switch between input devices with transitions
  • Ability to have titles and lower thirds
  • Can connect their camcorders with firewire (i.e. don't have to use poor-quality web cams)
  • Can see how many viewers are watching you at any given moment, track statistics
  • Video player is embeddable on social networks, blogs and web pages
  • Can enable a live chat feature for viewers to interact
  • Not limited to an audience of on-campus dorm rooms (You can expand to faculty, parents, alumni and other interested viewers all over the world)

By building up an online viewership (with trackable statistics), the department would have more of an argument when trying to pursue industry connections for donations. Then, they could use their online stats to raise the money for their $20,000 switcher (but hopefully by then they would realize they don't need it).