Toronto News 24 says that local news isn't dead
Toronto News 24 is a new local internet video news site, and it's coming at you 24/7. "Local news isn't dead...it's in your pocket!" touts reporter Paul Riley. The problem is, simply being available round the clock on the web doesn't make it novel, and it takes a lot to be effective and bring a high-quality new media project to life.
Hyperlocal news reporting most certainly continues to make inroads on the web, and it may be true that the evening television news is not where people are seeking to get the scoop on recent happenings in their community. But we already know that the web and mobile phones are where it's at; there's no need to try to sell us on the idea that future is now.
I don't like bashing start-ups, especially those that are well-intended. But sometimes ideas and execution just don't jive, and problems with Toronto News 24 effort are many.
First and foremost, the news found on the site is not breaking news or interesting local stories. Scanning the Toronto news page reveals multiple articles detailing shootings, car accidents, and fires - all far from compelling journalism, and none grabbing my attention any more than a police blotter or local TV news clip would.
Although Toronto News 24 is brand new, the cutting-edge technology angle and site design are quite outdated and simply don't deliver. The weekly "Toronto in 3 Minutes" video podcast (which launched just this week) leaves a lot to be desired, and the site isn't mobile friendly.
Branding is also an issue. We already have the heavily-resourced and far more established CP24 News. Furthermore, the web and video graphics shout amateur. At first glance I thought this was a joke site, someone's high school class project, or an old site that was created in 1995, but it turns out that these are real people, attempting to get something real off the ground. (In some ways, it reminds me of the mycitytoronto.com web directory, which somehow still manages to maintain prime billboard space on the 401).
A statement on the front page touts the site as the "The First Ad Banner Free Internet TV News Channel," which begs the question: how does the project generate revenue and compensate its staff? It appears that they're running a linked business called BizClipz, producing online video advertisements (for "less than the cost of a wedding video") for local businesses. These advertisements are then "featured on Toronto News 24 Channel free of charge."
Perhaps I'm being too harsh, but I don't see this as novel or viable model, and I think the product has a long way to go before it achieves much in the way of success. But maybe I'm wrong.
What do you think?
Is Toronto News 24 a site that will pick up serious traction and play a role in replacing dying forms of media like the TV news and newspapers?
Or is another poorly executed idea, destined to fail?
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