Fox Chicago Journalists Seek to Bring News Alive Online
Ever since the internet exploded into a phenomenon capable of snatching money away from traditional media companies’ wallets, the news industry has been looking for a way to take the business into the future. So far, that has primarily amounted to the publication of news stories on the web, but now a group of journalists from Fox News Chicago think they have found a better way forward.
"We spend a lot of time here figuring out what to do with the internet, and a lot of the answer so far has been to write more words, kind of like what a newspaper does," said Steve Baron, senior web manager at Fox News Chicago. "Now we’re saying, ‘We’re a TV station, we broadcast live, we’re optimized to bring live coverage into this building, and there may be times when it’s great to go on TV and the internet.’"
Live Anywhere, Anytime
To that end, the group—which includes Baron and Fox News Chicago Vice President and News Director Andrew Finlayson—created LiveNewsCameras.com, a site that features about 190 continuous live video streams from around the country. The feeds cover everything from large fires to floods to live newscasts to other more lighthearted fare.
"Our station in Detroit, the Fox station there, has a camera in the penguin cage of the zoo in Detroit, and they stream it through our website sometimes," Baron said. "Quite literally, there are people that come to our website looking for the penguin camera. They’re like, ‘Forget about the political speech that’s coming in on something. Where are the penguins?’"
The streams come from a variety of news organizations around the country—including Sunbeam, Meredith Broadcasting, Media General, Gannett, and Newsweek—as well as about 30 overseas news outlets, according to Finlayson. According to Baron, many of these organizations approached them asking to be included rather than the other way around. However, Finlayson said he, Baron, and others also contacted many of their friends in the business to ask them to come aboard.
"The only objection that someone can raise—and quite frankly, I don’t disagree with this point—is it does cost money," he said. "Streaming video does cost money. But it would be like a newspaper saying, ‘…We don’t want to spend money on paper.’ This is the future."