Al Tompkins

Consulting clients: ABC Owned and Operated Stations, Telemundo Television Stations; Meredith Television Stations; Scripps Howard Television, NBC owned and operation stations Promotions Directors; Stations; Hearst Argyle Television Stations; Gannett Television Stations; Griffin Communications; NBC Owned and Operated Stations; New York Times Television Stations; Cox Television; Cox Cable, Cox Washington DC Bureau, RUV TV (Iceland), Belo Television Stations; Freedom Newspapers of Florida, Freedom Newspapers of North Carolina, The Raleigh News & Observer, Shurz Broadcast stations, Radio and Television News Directors Association; RTNDA Canada; Radio and Television News Directors Foundation; The Ford Foundation; Hampton University, Kings University, Belmont University, Western Kentucky University, Middle Tennessee State University Alabama Broadcasters Association; Arkansas Broadcasters Association; Oklahoma Broadcasters Association; Hawaii Association of Broadcasters; Texas Association of Broadcasters; Ohio AP Broadcasters Association; Pennsylvania Broadcasters Association; Illinois Broadcasters Association; Washington State Broadcasters Association; Georgia Broadcasters Association; Tennessee Broadcasters Association; Louisiana Broadcasters Association; New York State Broadcasters Association; West Virginia Broadcasters Association; Missouri Broadcasters Association; Virginia Broadcasters Association; North Carolina Broadcasters Association; South Carolina Association of Broadcasters; Wisconsin Broadcasters Association; Iowa Broadcasters Association;Oregon Broadcasters, North Carolina Press Association, Alaska Broadcasters Association, New Mexico Broadcasters AssociationNational Academy of Television Arts and Sciences -- NATAS (Pennsylvania); NATAS (Washington DC); NATAS (Miami); WMC-TV; WSB-TV; KXAS-TV; KHOU-TV; WNEM-TV; KPHO-TV; WEWS-TV; WPTV-TV; WESH-TV; WKMG-TV; WTVW-TV; WPBF-TV; WHO-TV; KWTV-TV; WZZM-TV; WNEP-TV; WTKR-TV; KTHV-TV; KCTV-TV; WGAL; WTVF; WSBT See discussion of Poynter consulting in Poynter Ethics FAQ.


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No-knock policy bars TV station staff from rapping on crime suspects’ doors

A Houston television station is telling its staff not to knock on the doors of crime suspects. The station issued a memo saying it is too big a risk to journalists’ safety, but others see the move as a way … Read more

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FILE - In this Thursday, Nov. 5, 2009, file photo, an entrance is shown to Fort Hood Army Base in Fort Hood, Texas. Fort Hood says there's been a shooting at the Texas Army base and that there have been injuries, on Wednesday, April 2, 2014. (AP Photo/Jack Plunkett)

Media coverage of Fort Hood shooting

At 4:30 CT Wednesday evening (5:30 EDT), the story broke that an "active shooting" was underway at Ft Hood, Texas. This is a collection of news coverage as it unfolded. KCEN TV was on the air within minutes.  
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Local TV stations defeated in FCC rules on joint ad sales, retransmission fee talks

The Federal Communications Commission handed local TV station owners two big defeats Monday. The FCC made it tougher for TV stations in the same market to sell advertising together. The so-called Joint Sales Agreements, or JSAs, have become increasingly common in recent years as smaller stations tap into the efficiencies of having one sales force sell for multiple stations.

The FCC’s new rules will ban JSAs in which one station sells 15 percent or more of the advertising time of another station.

The JSAs have become especially useful to stations that could not get FCC approval to outright manage another station in the market. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said stations have used JSAs as an “end-run” around FCC ownership rules.

Dennis Wharton, the National Association of Broadcasters executive vice president of communications, said, "For a decade, Republican- and Democratically-controlled FCCs have approved JSAs, which allow free and local TV stations to survive in a hyper-competitive world dominated by pay TV Giants. That model is now declared illegal, based on the arguments of pay TV companies whose collaborative interconnect advertising sales practices make JSAs seem pale by comparison.”

Some local broadcasters have said “unwinding” the JSAs would mean stations would have to cut back on spending. A couple of weeks ago, Marci Burdick, senior vice president for Schurz Communications which owns 10 stations and operates three JSAs, told a congressional subcommittee that ending JSAs would hurt local broadcasters:
“For instance, our JSA in Wichita provides the only Spanish local newscast in the state of Kansas. In Springfield, Missouri, our JSA helped take a struggling station to one that is winning national awards for local news coverage. (more...)
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What seemed like a high school player ‘flipping off’ sets off a photo firestorm

A Chicago Tribune photojournalist says another newspaper’s single photograph of a star high school basketball player seeming to “flip off” the opposing team’s fans was taken out of context. And Tribune photographer Scott Strazzante released all of his raw images capturing the incident as proof that the player did nothing wrong.

Now, the photographer who posted the image that caused an online firestorm, and nearly cost the player a chance to play in a tournament, says he should not have used the image. (more...)
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LIN Media, Media General plan broadcast merger

LIN Media and Media General announced Friday morning that they are merging to form the second largest pure-play U.S. broadcasting group. If the FCC approves the merger, the new combined group will reach 46 markets or about 23 percent of the American population. Half of the stations involved are affiliated with one of the big four networks. At least a few of the stations may have to be sold off or run by other companies to avoid FCC restrictions on cross ownership in a single market. It is just the latest in a flurry of acquisitions and mergers in the TV industry that has seen Belo broadcast and Gannett merge and earlier, Media General and Young Broadcasting combined forces. Other players including Meredith, Journal, Tribune, NBC Universal and Sinclair have been recent buyers, too. According to the announcement by LIN and Media General, which came before the stock market opening Friday, LIN will receive $763 million in cash and 49.5 million shares of stock. When the dust settles, LIN will own 36 percent of the new company, Media General shareholders will hold 64 percent. LIN President and CEO Vincent Sadusky will be the president and CEO of the new organization, which will still bear the name of Media General.
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NBC correspondent Kerry Sanders injured by broken TV light

NBC correspondent Kerry Sanders said in a Twitter post Thursday that he suffered serious eye injuries while covering the Michael Dunn trial in Jacksonville, Fla., in February.

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**FILE** An Amtrak train arrives in Portland, Maine, in this Dec. 14, 2007 file photo. Amtrak must spend tens of millions of dollars to replace defective ties on the heavily traveled Northeast Corridor or risk delays and loss of business, the railroad warns. The concrete ties were purchased beginning in the 1990s and have already begun to crack, Amtrak spokesman Cliff Black said Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2008. Concrete ties normally last about 50 years. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty, FILE)

Journalists should pass on free Amtrak tickets

Freelance writer Jessica Gross just has a thing for writing and trains. So when Amtrak offered her a free $400 roundtrip train ride from New York to Chicago, she hopped on board. Now, hundreds of writers, musicians and journalists are on Twitter asking Amtrak to consider them for a free ride, too. She writes for a wide range of clients. "I write for the New York Times Magazine,  I interview writers about literary things," she explained. "I am not really a travel writer." The notion of an Amtrak "writer-in-residence" started in a Twitter exchange, one of those "I wish.." musings. Novelist Alexander Chee was asked in a December interview the location of his favorite place to write. He responded, "I still like a train best for this kind of thing. I wish Amtrak had residencies for writers. And after trains, libraries at night, especially empty ones." (more...)
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APTOPIX Turkey Protest

Turkish journalist hit by water cannons explains story behind startling photo

Television journalist Husna Sari of Ulusal TV in Turkey was covering what she tells me was a peaceful demonstration in Ankara last Thursday when police opened fire on her with water cannons. The stark images of her being blasted off … Read more

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FILE- In this Jan. 13, 2012 file photo, U. S. skier Bode Miller looks at the scoreboard after finishing third in a alpine ski, men's World Cup super-combined, in Wengen, Switzerland. On Monday, Nov. 25, 2013, Miller’s estranged girlfriend, Sara McKenna, regained temporary custody of their infant son. (AP Photo/Marco Trovati, File)

Olympian Bode Miller: ‘Be Gentle With Christin Cooper’ for NBC interview

Olympic skier Bode Miller told his Twitter followers that NBC’s Christin Cooper was doing her job when she asked him questions about his brother who died last year. Miller cried and viewers jumped online to complain. (Watch the interview Read more

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How WGAL TV kept the newsroom running when the roof collapsed

WGAL-TV (Lancaster, Pa.) News Director Dan O’Donnell was on the other side of the building from the newsroom at 3:20 Friday afternoon when he said he heard “what sounded like a truck backing into the building. Others said it sounded … Read more

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