I always knew the day would come when I’d have to pull the plug on ICN. Eventually its demands on my time would interfere enough with my schedule and impact my life so severely that I’d have to scale it back. Scaling it back was not an option. You don’t do less just so you can keep doing it. You don’t cut corners. You don’t resort to posting filler to make up for a lack of quality posts. You don’t do all those things and watch your viewers tune out because your product is going south. You either make the effort to put out a quality product or you quit. Actually, those rules apply to cable news too. I’m looking in your direction MSNBC dayside.
Anyway, I’ve reached that point. I can’t keep ICN going in its current form anymore. If you’d noticed it’s been slipping a bit this week as I floundered to try and “do it all”. That was a wake up call. Time to call it a day. Time to reclaim those five hours a day of of my life that are devoted to doing something I like but which I can’t make a living off of. And then there’s my real job which pays me more than I could probably make blogging.
This was all just supposed to be a part time thing for me anyway. A hobby. I was supposed to be part of a team. Yeah, when we started we sucked. I sucked. But over time I found my footing and started doing something with the blog. Though I’m sure some people still think I suck…
If you had asked any of us when we started whether ICN would be where it is now, we’d have laughed in your face. We were just four cable news viewers who thought it might be fun to have a blog. They got bored. I didn’t. But I never for an instant thought it would get this big. Sure, I had help. Let’s be honest here. If Stelter hadn’t first gone to China and then quit TVNewser, this blog wouldn’t be as widely read as it is now. I still find it mildly amusing that there’s five people working on TVNewser now and I still regularly beat them to articles on the internet, particularly in the morning. And I’m on the wrong coast. That’s one thing I won’t miss…getting up at 5am PST just to do blog rounds.
I guess it just shows that if you have something to say and you say it well, people will read you. I never had the connections TVNewser had. I had a few good sources here and there but I knew I couldn’t compete head to head in the scoop department. Not on the west coast anyways. So that wasn’t where I wanted to stake my claim. I wanted to do it in the analysis area. One of the things that always irked me as a reader about TVNewser, going back to when Brian ran it, was it would post a story that would just scream for some sort of analysis or even just saying the obvious, and it wouldn’t come. That’s something that the print media press is guilty of for that matter.
There are occasional exceptions where a columnist will write a really good piece showing informed insight of a critical nature but by and large it seems to me like the print press spends too much time pulling its punches and not calling BS when it should. Are they too scared of losing access? Hey, the networks need you a hell of a lot more than need them. Grow a pair. If FNC puts Courtney Friel front and center in the face of withering criticism even by hard core FNC viewers, you have to say something. If CNN hires Campbell Brown and puts her in the timeslot and a similar format to the failed Paula Zahn Now, you have to say something. If CNBC crows about its daytime ratings but doesn’t cop to the scratching in primetime, you have to say something. If NBC exiles MSNBC’s best news anchor out to LA where she’s immensly overqualified as a correspondent, you have to say something. Don’t present the story as it was presented to you if you think it’s crap because that does a disservice to the viewer who doesn’t understand what things really mean and how things really work. I know it’s tough to do and I’ve had my own stumbles in that area. But it’s the right call.
I don’t know if I really accomplished anything. I would hope I made sense at least some of the time. I had my moments. There was the time I put out Steve Capus’ verbatim comments regarding the announcement of NBC U 2.0 from an internal Town Hall meeting…and I could just see Stelter muttering to himself as he linked to it, “How the hell did he get that?”…simple…someone sent me the raw video and I transcribed it by hand. There was the time I interviewed the Bin Laden web trawler about not getting a response from CNN after he submitted it to iReport. And of course there was ICN breaking news about NBC News new round of budget cuts, which apparently aren’t done yet.
But this blog was never intended to be an industry blog, at least not by me. This blog was always first and foremost for the TV Viewers. Obviously if you write well and long enough the industry will start reading you anyway but they weren’t who I owed my allegience to. My allegience was to the everyday folks out there who want news and have their favorite talents and network and want to hear about them. This was something that TVNewser also lost when Brian joined Mediabistro. When it was Cable Newser, you’d see Stelter at the usual stomping grounds like TVHeads.com, TVSpy, and other message boards. He was considered one of us back then. But with the switch to TVNewser came a change in direction and all that was lost. I never wanted to lose touch with my roots.
So now I return to private life; a free man if you will. Yes, I’m sure I’ll start jonesing to reach for the computer when something interesting happens on TV. This is like an addiction really. Already this morning I can think of three or four things that should be written about. But like I said, I just don’t have the time. This really isn’t a sudden knee jerk thing. Some people out there know I’ve been talking about this for a while now. I was thinking about it before I went to NYC in November of last year. But I wanted that trip bad. Think about it. I got in to CNN, CNBC, FNC, and MSNBC. Me. A private citizen. Someone not in the industry. A nobody.
I’ll still be around the internet and I’ll leave my email active for now. I’ll pop up on the various boards giving my opinion when I feel like it. But I have to say that even this morning, when I decided to end it today as opposed to waiting for this weekend, I felt a big weight come off my shoulders and was enveloped in a sense of euphoria. That says something about how driven you have to be to do this.
I want to thank all the people at all the networks who have helped me over the years, some more reluctantly than others. All the sites that linked to me and put me in their blogrolls, thanks. All the sites that didn’t, you know who you are and so do I. I want to give special thanks to Scott Jones at FTVLive for being the first blog to note ICN, back before I had even joined.