With television news organizations increasingly being required to lay off seasoned reporters and other staff members, YouTube has presented itself as a possible rescuer with a new service for newsrooms called YouTube Direct. The interface allows TV and other media organizations to request, review and finally broadcast clips uploaded onto YouTube by "citizen journalists" worldwide. In a statement, Steve Grove, YouTube's head of news and politics, said, "People around the world are taking up cameras and covering news in ways big and small - from documenting global events, to filming local town halls in neighborhoods. YouTube Direct empowers news and media organizations to easily connect with these citizen reporters, and use the power of our platform to cover the news better than ever before." The Associated Press reported that YouTube will not simply provide the clips on a take-it-or-leave-it basis but also provide stations with backup support -- including providing telephone numbers of the persons submitting the clips so that they can be contacted for verification and more information. The service is not likely to be well-received by TV journalists, who may view it as another threat to their jobs. Nor is it likely to be endorsed by AFTRA and other unions, who may view the service as a means to pay scab wages to non-union reporters for video of news events that union members might ordinarily cover themselves.


Some station managers and news directors at NBC affiliates are complaining that the poor performance of The Jay Leno Showat 10:00 p.m. nightly has not only lowered the ratings of their local newscasts at 11:00 p.m. but also of their early-morning local newscasts as well. One news director told the website that the Leno show is "hurting my late news and it's hurting the next day." The theory has been voiced repeatedly that television viewers, by and large, don't fiddle with their TV remotes when they get up in the morning but simply watch the channel they were watching at bedtime. However, recent ratings indicate that far more viewers tune into NBC's Todayshow at 7:00 than any other morning network show attracting nearly twice the audience of The Early Show on CBS, the usual winner of the 10:00 p.m. time period.


Paramount Home Video's Blu-ray Disc release of the 24 digitally restored episodes of Star Trekthat aired in 1968-69 will include what the company describes as a "long-lost alternate version of the pilot episode." The episode, "Where No Man Has Gone Before," was the first to feature James T. Kirk, and has previously aired in a different form. Home Media Magazinesaid Monday that the recently discovered version was shot in 1965 after NBC passed on the original pilot, "The Cage," which it deemed "too cerebral." (That pilot is also included in the new set.) "This version [of "Where No Man ..."] is believed to be what was screened for NBC," Home Mediareported, and was "thus the basis for the decision to broadcast Star Trek."


Paul Allen, chairman of Charter Communications, the nation's fourth-largest cable operator, has been diagnosed with cancer. Allen, who co-founded Microsft with Bill Gates and was the original principal investor in DreamWorks, is reportedly suffering from non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, his sister Jody Allen said in a memo to employees on Monday. (Twenty years ago Allen overcame a more serious form of the cancer, Hodgkin's lymphoma.) She said that her brother was "optimistic he can beat this, too." With a personal net worth of $10.5 billion, Allen, who also owns the Seattle Seahawks and the Portland Trailblazers, is ranked No. 32 on on Forbes' list of the world's richest men.


Bill O'Reilly scolded CNN Monday for dumping Lou Dobbs and turning his time period into another outlet for traditional news. With Dobbs sitting across from him, O'Reilly remarked, "We don't have anything against CNN. ... NBC News, we don't like. But CNN, I don't have anything against you guys." Dobbs quickly corrected, "It's those guys now." O'Reilly then reprised a theme he first presented at Boston University last month, when he said, "You have to evolve if you want to survive in the commercial world. If you are going to do a straight newscast in primetime, you are going to lose." He expanded on that theme Monday night, saying: "Campbell Brown is getting murdered. Larry King has declined, like 80 percent. Anderson Cooper is getting hammered. So they want more of that? Does that make sense to you?" Dobbs himself explained his departure this way: "Management decided to take CNN in a direction in which advocacy journalism would not be part of it. Their ratings are lower than they should be, and I was partly to blame because my broadcast was in that lineup. They're now making choices trying to change that; they want to move toward a purely neutral presentation."


John J. O'Connor, the New York Times's TV critic for more than 25 years, died Friday in New York of lung cancer at age 76, the Timesreported on Monday. O'Connor, who became the newspaper's TV critic in 1971, officially retired in 1997 but continued writing for the paper's Sunday Arts & Leisure section. In its obituary, the Timesquoted from a 1972 column by O'Connor: "A reviewer is not, or at least shouldn't be, in the game of picking hits and flops." It is his job, he said, to measure quality, not popularity. And between the two, "no correlation has yet been convincingly established."