"a fish, a barrel, and a smoking gun"
for 30 October 1996. Updated every WEEKDAY.

New York Minute



If no news is good news, then

good news is torture.


Dependence on news - and lots of

it - nettles the infojunkie as

powerfully as nicotine addiction

hounds the smoker or the urge to

consume a Kamel Red package

seizes the design geek. But news

consumption is no more an

addiction than eating,

breathing, or playing Nintendo

64 - like those functions, it's

required for survival. PointCast

knows that, and so does Rupert

Murdoch. But does Time Warner's

Gerald Levin know it? If he did,

you wouldn't be reading this

right now. You'd be watching

New York 1.


[New Bug]

Debuting on Time Warner cable in

1992, New York 1 began with the

dream of cheaply produced local

news and grew into something

even better, locally produced

cheap thrills. Very cheap. But

what New York 1 lacks in cash it

makes up for in heart. Its

reporters lug their own cameras

through Gotham's tough streets.

And the channel's musical

themes, pounded out on the

pluckiest of synthesizers, are

surely the work of an artist

driven by the promise of bus

fare home. This damn-the-


attitude ("Fuck it, we've got a

town to inform. I'm wearing my

ball cap and jams!") pervades

the operation - right down to

the unkempt writer-drones always

seen toiling in the background

behind the anchor. Their day

involves scanning wire

dispatches, typing stories, and

roaming aimlessly for the




Such devotion from writers,

reporters, and MIDI devices

could only be inspired by a

charismatic leader - stern in

his demands, stoic with praise,

inspirational in his work ethic.

For New York 1, this guiding

figure is the Sony LMS 1000.

After taping multiple story

segments and filing them in the

Sony, the channel creates each

newscast on the fly with a mix

of as many live and canned

reports as events or energy

level warrant. Giuliani not

pissy today? Run the last half

hour again. Blood hits pavement

somewhere? Cut in a live feed,

then back to the Weekday Transit

Outlook. Toot, toot! "Fresh

because it's frozen" isn't just for

bagels anymore.


Watch New York 1 for just one

hour - if you have that much

restraint - and you'll recognize

what Levin has not. Local

content base, push platform,

automation, numbing

repetition... doesn't feel

familiar yet? Try holding a

mouse in your hand.


Unlike MSNBC, which only uses

the web, NY1 is the web's

future, making the recent launch of

NY1.com both recursive and redundant.

Sure, the actual web isn't up to the

achievements of this web-in-

coaxial-clothing, but we've been

known to try a clickthrough on

the 1-800-Rest-In-Peace ads. (Is

there any doubt as to the

utility of such a service, which

promises "tasteful bouquets for

sensitive occasions"?)



The gaping content maw that

greets most new media ventures

has been handily conquered by

the wily NY1 staff. Tune in

41 minutes past the hour

between 7 and 10 o'clock and

you'll see an anchor point out

whatever stories she found

interesting that day in the

newspapers. Morning anchor Roma

Torre flags articles she likes

with Post-It notes and then...

ad-libs, occasionally about her

kids. One summer morning Torre

mispronounced "Gennadi Zyuganov"

then apologized, "Sorry, I don't

follow Russian politics." In

recent weeks she's spoken with

pride of "Uncle Joe Torre. Get

it? Torre... Roma Torre? Ha-ha.

No, no relation, just kidding.

Anyhow, in the Daily News



"In the Papers" is a hypnotic

piece of performance art.

Mention New York 1 to people on

the street, and those who've

heard of it will say, "Isn't

that the channel where they read

you the paper?" In new media,

you call that a budding brand




Even the most cagey CEO - let

alone one whose books contain

more debt than a Kemp wet dream -

could overlook this potential

new media treasure. Levin

must not know that PointCast is

the model to beat right now. And

what is New York 1 but a

screensaver for your television?

Time-Warner's sitting on the

future, and you can bet that

when Murdoch prays to

whatever exotic Tiki gods it is

Australians worship, he's

wishing TW never gets up off its

lazy Bat-ass.

courtesy of Screed Racer