July 18, 2006

NBC launches “Nightly News” video blog

By Paul J. Gough

NEW YORK (Hollywood Reporter) - After more than a year with
the pioneering "Daily Nightly" blog, "NBC Nightly News" anchor
Brian Williams is expanding to a video blog that will give a
quick glimpse at the day's top stories by mid-morning.

"The Early Nightly" went live earlier this week on
http://www.MSNBC.com as a one- to two-minute video blog
recorded by Williams after the 9:30 a.m. ET morning meeting
held by members of the "NBC Nightly News" staff.

"It's an electronic curtain raiser for the day's coverage,"
Williams said from Haifa, Israel, where he was reporting for
"NBC Nightly News." He added it will normally be shot at his
desk, although for the last two days it's been done from his
location in Israel.

"The idea is to be a little more transparent in the way we
talk about the process, giving people an early insight into the
news, knowing that what we think is critical at 10 o'clock in
the morning may be less important at 6," said MSNBC.com deputy
editor Randy Stearns.

It's possible that this could also eventually become a part
of NBC's deal with online video phenomenon YouTube.com,
although there have apparently only been talks but no real
movement on putting the "Early Nightly" on YouTube.

NBC's newest move online, which has been in development for
months, came after CBS News said it would produce a daily
Webcast featuring Katie Couric and other CBS News
correspondents. NBC has offered the "Daily Nightly" for more
than a year, as well as the full version of "NBC Nightly News"
every night on MSNBC.com after it airs on the West Coast.

ABC has produced a daily 15-minute Webcast at 3 p.m. daily
since December. ABC's commitment to the Webcast has been
unwavering, despite a critical staffing shortage following the
injury of then co-anchor Bob Woodruff.

That Webcast has recently drawn as many as 2 million
downloads per week, which ABC News executives believe to be
incremental and more than likely to be a different audience
than for the traditional "World News Tonight."

One of the unexpected outgrowths of ABC's "World News
Tonight" Webcast is that it isn't just a dress rehearsal for
the broadcast. The Webcast puts to work in elevated capacities
some of the more junior people at "World News Tonight," said
ABC News senior vp Paul Slavin. And while the story selection
and manner of presentation is different, some of the offbeat
stories can make the leap from Web to TV.

Slavin said one recent story, about the YouTube video
mocking Zinedine Zidane's headbutt, went from the Webcast to
the half-hour broadcast.

"They find stories that do make it on the national
broadcast," Slavin said. "It informs some of the story

Network-news analyst Andrew Tyndall, who has been calling
on the networks to create a comprehensive effort in new media,
said NBC's announcement, like all of the network efforts
online, have yet to be fully realized.

"The entire process of establishing an identity online is
going to be this gradual addition. It's not a grand thing they
will launch, they're going to build it brick by brick," Tyndall

Not exactly so to ABC's Slavin, who said that news
divisions lke ABC and NBC are using their news smarts and their
positions in traditional media to help them decide what to do
in the new media.

"We're not all just talking about digital. We're in digital
with both feet," Slavin said.

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter