Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Morning Brief: Weather, here, weather there; 'The Daily' to launch into a unique and fortuitous news environment

While the Chicagoland area braces for what may be one of the worst snow storms in its history, the folk down under are bracing for even worse. Residents of Queensland in Australia are today facing Cyclone Yasi, described by Premier Anna Bligh as "one of the largest and most significant cyclones that we have ever had to deal with."
Forecasts are for torrential rain -- possibly up to 1m or rain in some areas, according to news.com.au.

For those of us under a blizzard warning, expecting up to two feet of snow, suddenly things are put into perspective when on considers the effects of a cyclone. But between events in Egypt and weather news here in the States, it is unlikely much print or airtime will be spent on Cyclone Yasi, sadly.

"Australia, Queensland still needs you," the premier was quoted as saying on ABC Radio yesterday. We wish the people of Australia all the best today and tomorrow.

Today one million Egyptians are expected to demonstrate for the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak. But already I am seeing signs of media news fatigue: that condition that occurs when the US media simply can speculate on the news no more and are visibly urging the story to come to a conclusion.

Unfortunately for the on-air personalities, revolutions do not occur on a news producers time schedule. Life's a bitch, huh?

All this International news swirling around and what is being launched tomorrow? The Daily, News Corp.'s iPad-only digital newspaper.

Usually a publication wants to come out with a bang, something big like an investigative story, for instance.Likewise, by calling an event at the Guggenheim Museum, one would also expect a lot of hoopla.

But maybe it is just as well that The Daily is getting launched in this environment. Instead of the publication getting by with celebrity, marketing, hype, it will launch having to show its journalism muscle, if it has any. Will The Daily be clearly able to handle the weight of news events, or will it appear a lightweight at a time when the public needs real journalism to deal with fast moving, and momentous events? For the news teams involved this will be a real test, and an enormous opportunity. We'll all be watching.