January 23, 2004

Perhaps the biggest political story of the week was the campaign speech delivered Monday night by Howard Dean. At the end of a very impassioned speech to supporters, he let out a yell that has been described variously as “Howard Dean’s ‘I Have A Scream’ performance,” a “throaty howl,”  and a “screaming, arm-waving speech.” An attempt at spelling has given us this: “Yeeaarrgghh.”

Does “Howard Dean’s infamous Iowa scream?” signal the end of his chances of getting his party’s nomination? Just how goofy was it? Dick Meyer, editorial director of, says he doesn’t think the speech “was weird, troubling, scary, revealing or nuts. I don’t think it was a big deal in any way, shape or form. I thought it was standard pump-up-the-troops campaign stuff.”

Newspaper readers who haven’t seen the video, however, likely are frustrated by the inadequacy of the print medium to allow the reader to make that kind of judgment. That very frustration led to a bit of media convergence between KHQ-TV, an NBC affiliate in Spokane, Wash., and Spokane’s daily newspaper, The Spokesman-Review. KHQ provided the newspaper’s Web site with the video clip. The newspaper printed a brief item directing readers to the Web site to see for themselves “what all the fuss is about.”

Not all readers, predictably, were impressed with the Web site’s rare use of video: “I want to convey my disgust with your decision to post video of Howard Dean on the S-R home page,” wrote reader Mike Kress. “I’d also like to know if you will post one of George W. Bush’s more famous utterances on your site — or is this an honor you only reserve for the bashing of Democrats?”

That’s a legitimate question for journalists to consider as they experiment with media convergence.

[Note: Chaser Ken Sands is themanaging editor of The Spokesman-Review. We are interested in how others handled the issue. Let us know of your Dean Scream Convergence efforts. — Howard Finberg]

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