WEB SCOOPS TV ON MUMBAI SIEGE
While veteran journalists have long complained that what passes for news on the Internet is actually the commentary of people sitting in bathrobes at home and not actually covering what is happening, early TV coverage of the siege in Mumbai showed a different facet of online reporting. Much of the coverage was dominated Thursday by images that originally were posted on the Web sometimes hour earlier. CBS Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith said that before TV camera crews could be mobilized and sent to the scene, "citizen journalists" were already providing images of the horror by loading photos from their cell phones and camcorders online. "One of the first real photographs of the scene was posted by somebody on Flickr," social networking expert Gaurav Mishra observed on today's (Friday) program. "People are sharing quick, small pieces of information of what's happening on the ground, helping others who are not linked to what is happening." CBS interviewed one woman close to the Taj Mahal hotel, the site of some of the fiercest attacks, via her webcam. "What citizen journalism does is widen the scope of what it means to be a journalist," Mishra said on the program. "It has given new voices to mainstream media and gives new options of how to collect news, how to create news and how to disseminate news." Meanwhile, today's Hollywood Reporter reported that the violence in Mumbai has shut down the Bollywood film industry which is based there.
ROSIE LIVE! DEADLY IN RATINGS
Rosie O'Donnell's live variety special on NBC Wednesday turned out to be a loser not only with critics but with viewers as well. According to Nielsen Media Research, Rosie Live! attracted just 5.04 million viewers in the 8:00 p.m. hour, even fewer viewers than tuned in the previous week for Knight Rider, the usual occupant of the time period -- a show that many believe is on the brink of cancellation because of low ratings. An unnamed executive at a rival network told Reuters: "There's a notion that the climate is right for the [variety show] genre to make a comeback. ... I guess we now know what not to do, thanks to Rosie." By contrast a Barbara Walters Special, in which O'Donnell's former The View colleague interviewed Barack Obama, attracted 11.65 million viewers at 10:00 p.m.
NETWORKS HAVE LITTLE TO GIVE THANKS FOR ON THANKSGIVING
Low ratings are as traditional on Thanksgiving evening as turkey and cranberry sauce, and this year was no exception. CBS -- alone -- managed to come up with respectable ratings, thanks mainly to a new episode of Survivor: Gabon, which averaged 8.47 million viewers and a repeat of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, which attracted 10.63 million. But the other networks went home with leftovers. Fox averaged 5.83 million viewers for its shows; ABC, 5.76 million; and NBC, 4.33 million.
EXILED BBC TALK SHOW HOST RECEIVES MOUTH-WASHING
When British television host Jonathan Ross returns from his 12-week suspension in January, he will be using less "bad language," Jana Bennett, director of BBC Vision, told Britain's Guardian newspaper. Ross, she indicated, had agreed to cut back on the kind of borderline obscene talk that got him into trouble in the first place when he joined comic Russell Brand on Brand's radio show in a prank telephone call to actor Andrew Sachs. The BBC permits the use of many four-letter words that are forbidden in the U.S. However, Bennett said at the Media Festival in Manchester, "We have actually been pushing back a bit on language. It is possible that some language alienates some audiences unnecessarily."