Back in the days when I was a TV reporter, we used to joke about some of the people we’d meet in the field who were obviously oblivious as to how TV technology worked. After the requisite explanation of what the story was about, we’d be about to begin our interview when the subject would say something along the lines of, “Wait a minute, are we live right now?” No satellite truck or a news van with an antenna mast in sight, yet this person believed we actually could have been live at that moment.
The funny thing is, those folks were actually on to something. What seemed impossible at the time, is now surprisingly easy, thanks to the technology made possible by Internet. On Friday, we documented Hungry Z’s quest to eat 65 Taste portions at the Taste of Chicago, and we streamed several hours of roving live coverage on this Web site with nothing more than an laptop connected to the Internet via a broadband card and a firewire cord connected to a video camera. Skype has become a popular way to make free Internet voice and video calls, and we used that technology to send the video feed back to the station, which we then fed through the Web site.
I know I get a little excited about this geeky tech stuff, but it’s things like this that represent a sea change in the media world — how information is gathered and disseminated to the audience at large. You may have already noticed the blurry Internet-style video on cable outlets like CNN and MSNBC.
Check out a video piece I put together this weekend that documents Hungry Z’s journey from the 5:45 a.m. news to the 6 p.m. news 12 hours later.