LocalNewser standupkid's dispatches from the frontlines of local news


Dispatch from the Frontlines: Ann Nyberg

n1086603983_8700I'm fairly certain one of the following two things is true:  either Ann Nyberg never sleeps, or she has a staff of Twitterers, Facebookers and emailers who scan the world's news second by second, sifting for journalism and new media gold and then immediately firing links off to her followers with short notes like "this is worth a look."

Invariably, the things Ann Nyberg finds "worth a look" truly are.  And in a Seesmic Desktop world of nonstop shortened links flooding column after column, that's really saying something.  Ann's one of the smart people I've found through blogging and Twittering, and we share an interest--a passion, really--for answering that question:  "what next?"

When somebody answers that question, if it's not Ann herself, she'll be standing very closeby, and count on it--she'll be the first to Tweet the rest of us the answer.

DISPATCH FROM THE FRONTLINES:  Ann Nyberg, Main Anchor, WTNH-TV, New Haven

Okay so here goes, my first blog post for Mark Joyella, God I hope this is coherent. I, along with his new wife, Tiffanie, happen to think Mark is brilliant at trying to figure out what is next for news, media, content, whatever it's going to be called for the foreseeable future. Mark allowed me into his life thru Facebook...what a tool that is turning out to be.

As TV news, under its current model began to collapse in earnest last fall, I started following Mark's LocalNewser blog and was immediately plugged in to what he was trying to achieve. Mark was, is trying to make headway into a changing world and stay viable and true to the field he loves. Unlike so many who have spent their lives telling stories, Mark "quit" his job at his Miami, Florida TV station to marry the woman of his dreams. So smart, on Mark's part--personal satisfaction comes first, always first.

Ike:  The Rainmaker

Ike: The Rainmaker

I'm a television News Anchor Reporter for WTNH-TV...I've been in the business for 30 years, my career has taken me from Indiana, to Oklahoma, to Connecticut. Yep, I was raised in Indiana but was actually born in San Angelo, Texas in a quonset hut for God's sake on Goodfellow Air Force Base. During the time of my birth there In January of 1957, President Eisenhower came to call on the Air Force Base during a severe drought in West Texas...shortly after he left it began to rain....not sure if he hovered over my crib...but perhaps that was the beginning of my "damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead" kind of attitude.

At any rate...figuring out what's next...right, that's where I was. As I watched Mark online, in my own head I felt this huge push to do something, anything, to figure out how to help all the marvelous media types in print and TV and others lying on the side of the road, as I described it...laid off just wanting to put pen to paper or mic to hand. A vast amount of writers, gone silent, couldn't stand that notion, never will. I have said, if news doesn't thrive in this country we could be looking at a "police state." Though that  sounds rather out-on-a-limb...it happens...slowly...but it happens. Local stories aren't told, corruption rears its head, you know the drill. Iran.

So, what to do, my first notion was to start a think tank...bring together journalists to talk about how to fix this...just get the conversation going. Facebook allowed me to do that, to contact people I didn't even know and say,"hey, let's start talking." It worked because others were feeling the same way. For lack of a better name, but one that I thought sounded fun, WTNH-TV Sports Director, Noah Finz, suggested "Let's Get This Party Started."

Since I'm rather an "Auntie Mame" sort, that title was splendid I thought, and so with that title I sought out members. After mulling my idea over a bit I decided, in this new world, that the group needed to be fuller, more diverse, richer, more minds from other disciplines to obtain as many ideas as possible. Once again I reached out on Facebook and hit others with my idea. Our brain trust is now, journalists, an author, an architect, techies, an events planner, marketing specialists, entrepreneurs, a banker etc...no, no candlestick maker yet...but who knows.


This is in no way reinventing the wheel...but it's a start at really pushing the envelope for ourselves individually and as a group...we are loyal to each other--that is part of the mission. Banding together like this feels like there is a safety net for all of us, perhaps an extended family.  After a first meeting, our Yale architect said...I think we should call this group "Navigating Change" ...and so we are now "Navigating Change, Media Think Tank." You will find us on a fan page on Facebook under that name. We have a logo now too.

We have had a second meeting and a third is now being planned. Who knows how many titles we may have, but we have started something in this very democratic group to make a difference and navigate change for who knows how many.

Stay tuned.


And Now, It's My Story to Tell As Well


My Last Liveshot for WPLG

Last night, toward the end of WPLG/Miami's 6:00 newscast, I did a live package on Twitter, the hot social media platform, and how the station intends to use it to engage viewers.  

I'd been pushing to make Twitter a bigger part of the newsroom's daily life for a few months, after seeing the power of the site to connect with people in Miami and around the world;  many with excellent connections, ideas, and stories. I also believe that getting up to speed with Twitter makes local tv newsers more competitive in an increasingly difficult economic environment that's putting so many talented people out of work.

Fittingly, my story on Twitter was my last as a reporter at WPLG.  I wasn't laid off, and I wasn't fired.  Last fall, I approached my news director, Bill Pohovey to ask out of the remaining two years of my contract.  I had no new job, and no issues with the station.  I've been proud to be associated with WPLG and Post-Newsweek, and have benefitted from working alongside some of the most amazing journalists in the business, both in front of, and behind the camera.  My decision was personal:  I'm getting married.

My fiancee, Tiffanie Wong, also has a TV job she loves, as a technical director at CNN in New York. That's home for both of us, and despite months of trying to sell a Brooklyn girl on the South Florida lifestyle, it became clear I would be moving.  And so, on Friday, I will.  I'm packing up and heading North, two dogs and a cat in tow, and becoming one of the many reporters, anchors, writers, producers and managers who never imagined a climate like this--more stations firing than hiring--but facing the cold reality of it.  I don't know if yesterday's story will be my last, not just at WPLG, but period.

Getting a Taste of Multiplatform Reporting on a Bus to the Obama Inauguration in DC, with WPLG Photographer Mario Alonso

New York's going through a horrific period of layoffs and cutbacks, and as my fantastic agent has put it to me bluntly, there isn't any work, and there is a phenomenal amount of talent sitting on the sidelines ready to jump at anything that opens up.  

My friend and former WNYW colleague Jodi Applegate jumped at a job anchoring the news at News 12 on Long Island. Asa Aarons, forever a consumer reporter at WNBC, has hired on at NY1. Jobs that once would have been "beneath" us are now seen as life rafts in seas that threaten to swallow us up.  

It's scary.  My agent calls to "check on me" and tell me that no, nothing much is happening.  (Other than clients being laid off and let go)  I troll the job listings and send resumes, and find lots of not much.  I send resumes anyway, sometimes sending applications to listings that sound digital and interesting, even if I don't fully understand what it is that the job entails.

And at the same time, I'm excited.  The business is changing.  I can stay in my comfortable, well-compensated job, wait for the wave to hit in Miami, and lose the woman I want to marry, or--I can take the leap.  And the net, as they say, will appear.


WTNH's Ann Nyberg:  One of the Smart People

WTNH's Ann Nyberg: One of the Smart People

I am so damn curious where I will land.  I don't think it will be at a television station.  I don't know that I'll even be on camera. Fortunately, I've never been one of those get-a-reversal-and-a-two-shot-walking-down-the-hallway-and-make-sure-I-get-my-facetime reporters.  I'm a storyteller. I just love telling good stories.  And more than ever before, I believe storytelling's not in danger. Local tv news the way I've always known it is.  For years I've had the job of my dreams, meeting people, crafting packages, and getting to air them on TV.  Every day a different challenge.  Now, I think my dream is evolving, as much as my life is.

Will I end up in PR?  If I can't find a paycheck, I'll definitely look into it. Will I try to shoot my own stories and find an audience for them? You bet I will.  Will I keep a close watch on the smart people I'm meeting on Twitter and elsewhere--people like Ann Nyberg in Connecticut and Matthew Roberts in Denver--to see which way they think the wind is blowing? Oh you can bet your life on it.

And I'll still be right here.  I'm loving writing about this career I've had--and one way or another, will continue to have--and how it's changing, at times so painfully.  The blog (oh Lord, if only I could get paid to write all day!) will grow and be a place to share not just how others are responding to being out of work, but now, how I am, too.

I hope you'll be here with me.  I know this is going to be interesting.  And hey, no matter what happens:  I got the girl!

Life Calls--Even at the Worst Time to Leave a Job in Local TV History (Photo of Tiffanie and I in San Francisco by Anna Kuperberg)

Life Calls--Even at the Worst Time to Leave a Job in Local TV History (Photo of Tiffanie and Me by Anna Kuperberg/See more of Anna's amazing work at www.kuperberg.com)