Monday, July 13, 2009

Wall-to-Wall 1963-2009

I've been pondering what's referred to in the news business as the "Wall-to-Wall" coverage of the Michael Jackson memorial.

It harkens back to the network coverage following President Kennedy's assassination in 1963. The networks literally had to invent technology as they covered the story.

That coverage was described then as television's finest hour. I agree.
I'm not sure the same terms will be used today.

In 1963, there were just three networks and newspapers for coverage. That was it. Yet, the coverage then, as it is today, was incredible. Technology in 1963 was crude by comparison.

In 1963 it was Walter Cronkite and other journalistic giants of the era providing the coverage. Today it's "Jackofan4ever" competing with FOX News™ who is competing against (or working with)

Dozens of networks, broadcast and cable/satellite, went 24/7. Many of you followed coverage streamed to your computer or PDA.

It involved streaming, tweeting and downloading, which created huge demand and big numbers.

Gigaom reports that it was one of the busiest Internet events ever.

Akamai says it delivered more than 2,185,000 live and on-demand streams in both the Flash® and Windows Media® formats. There were 3,924,370 visitors per minute as of 1 pm EST and an average of more than 3.3 million visitors per minute overall.

Facebook® announced 800,000 status updates during the memorial.

People filed pictures and video via their cell phone cameras on their sites and others.

Regardless of what you think about last week’s events, or those 46 years ago, it takes just these kinds of moments to push the communication envelope as to just what can be done—both good and bad.

Gone today, however, is the filter of traditional journalism. In fact, this modern era of communication often takes a backseat to rumor.

We need to work on that part.


John W. Scherer

John is CEO & Founder of Video Professor, Inc.

You can reach him at