When a blogger runs a media company

As I’ve blogged often, the ABC affiliate in Nashville, WKRN, has been a pioneer in experimenting with a wide-array of online approaches that embrace the local blogosphere, including hiring one of the first full-time bloggers by any media firm in the country — and then a second one. Now, most everyone at the station seems to blog.

The person responsible for the station’s deep-end dive into the blogosphere is general manager Mike Sechrist, who implemented the recommendations of consultant Terry Heaton. Not only did Mike get others to blog, he started one himself.

Today, Mike used his blog to report that one of his reporters, Brad Schmidtt (blog), a well-known and popular Nashville personality, was arrested and charged with DUI early Sunday morning.

The station will be covering the arrest as news, but learning about the incident in a very conversational and personal way, on the blog of a media outlet’s top executive, is a new one for me. That his natural inclination was to post the news — and a personal message — on his blog says to me that Mike is no longer a TV executive trying to figure out blogging, he’s a blogger running a TV station.

  • Hudge

    Let’s not forget the lawyer who billed a couple hours vetting that personal statement.

  • WKRN and Sechrist have set the bar high for bringing major media together with blogging. Their efforts and results continue to not only step outside the box, but expand and reshape the box itself. The puzzle they are putting together is starting to hint at the future of communications media.

    Dealing with Brad Schmidtt’s misfortune in this way required an extraordinary amount of courage and vision.

  • Rex Hammock

    Hudge, you reporter’s skepticism is inching towards cynicism. (We’re a bad influence on one-another, that way.) I’m sure a lawyer vetted the ‘official statement,’ — and rightly, so. If a lawyer vetted the rest of Mike’s post, that’s fine with me, also. I’m not suggesting executives should engage in wreckless “actionable” practices just because they have a blog. However, that a lawyer may have been involved doesn’t change the fact that he decided to post it on his blog on Easter-Sunday afternoon.

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  • Courage and Vision?

    Are TV News Station managers the Bravehearts of our time? Give me a break. I would put them in the same category as used car sales men. Anything for a buck, or a market share.

  • Anyone can have courage and vision, Barbieux, despite their occupation.

  • Rex Hammock

    I guess Kevin was referring to Winston’s mention of “courage” as I’ve looked back and all I called Mike was “conversational.” I do agree with Kevin, somewhat: Mike is a business person and while I don’t believe he’d do “anything for a buck,” I think Kevin’s apparent suggestion that blogging was a strategy Mike followed because he thought it would be good for business played a significant part in why WKRN has done what they’ve done on the blogosphere. I don’t think he knew when he started what the return on investment would be — I guess that takes courage. However, I don’t think he was thinking “return on investment” when he posted that information about his employee. I think it was just what came natural to him after a couple of years of blogging. That was my point in making this post, originally.

  • Hudge

    Reading thru the comments on Mr. Sechrist’s blog, i notice someone refers to a code of conduct for WKRN employees – altho it is not clear if they meant as recognizable faces or all employees in general. Rex, looks like this issue is looping around toward your later blog about !#$#$ codes of !#$#@ conduct for !$&(*&*(&%^ bloggers… Sorry, folks, I don’t know enough about formatting to make the links invisible and am too lazy to learn.