More newspapers try to be TV stations

I worked in television in Boston once, between radio gigs. I hated it, though, because I was a TV fish out of radio water. “Write to the pictures!” was the mantra and I still don’t get it. It was hard for a non-TV person to master. The Boston Globe’s Bob Ryan was at the station around the same time, and quit to go back to newspapers for pretty much the same reason.

Newspapers, however, seem bent on figuring it out. A few months ago, the Star Tribune started a daily “TV-style” newscast. Today, the Duluth News Tribune premiered DNTV (registration possibly required), a similar attempt. It’s obviously too early in the project to judge, but I still don’t get it.

I can tell good use of video from bad, however, and the New York Times shows that newspapers can produce high-quality video in storytelling with its documentary tracing the decline of General Motors.

It’s a good example of what the newspaper TV stations are missing. There’s plenty of talking head newscasts on television, but there aren’t many well-produced documentaries. The New York Times is filling a niche. The Duluth News Tribune is not.