Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Roanoke Times Editor To NYT's Bill Keller: Let Lady Gaga Do The Weather Report!

Dwayne Yancey, the senior editor of the Roanoke Times who developed that paper's TimesCast video in 2007, spent Tuesday trying to get NYT executive editor Bill Keller on the phone to discuss its curious resemblance to the NYT's own new Timescast video.

But Yancey couldn't get through.

"I tried calling you today but couldn’t get past your gatekeeper," Yancey wrote in an open letter to Keller, posted on the Roanoke paper's website late this afternoon. "Here at The Roanoke Times, the public can call our editor on her direct number; I was surprised to learn that’s not the case in New York."

Yancey's open letter includes, mostly, a critique of the NYT's Timescast.

Yancey notes the preponderance of white guys, correctly wondering why the women are all sitting in the back row of the front-page meeting. He also doubts -- correctly -- whether people really want to watch a meeting, anyway.

"Give people something they can’t get elsewhere," Yancey tells Keller.

Which is where Lady Gaga comes in.

After recalling appearances by a team of cheerleaders, a minister and Miss Virginia on the Roanoke Times's TimesCast, Yancey noted that in New York, the possibilities were limitless for an entertaining NYT TimesCast.

"Just imagine, say, Lady Gaga doing your weather forecast," Yancey wrote. "Now that would generate some traffic, and put a new face on the Old Grey Lady, don’t you think? (Umm, the Times, not Lady Gaga.)"

Now that is a great idea! Maybe.

Yancey reminds Keller to heed Bruce Springsteen's line: "“I learned more from a three-minute record than I ever learned in school.”

We still don't know what the NYT thinks about all this. Diane McNulty, the NYT's spokeswoman, wrote us an email yesterday afternoon saying she was "checking" on a response. No word since.

But we have learned that the editors of the Roanoke Times -- Carole Tarrant and Dwane Yancey -- are a pretty cool and smart bunch. We bet Keller could learn quite a bit from a conversation with them.


Anonymous said...

OK, like why are you giving this ridiculous outlet a platform? And
Lady Grey as Gaga? I don't think so... OK, I have a conservative bias and am ugly with birth defects and strictly limited to the classical arts, nonetheless human enough to say that humans ape.

And audiences of the past had to be hyperstimulated with jingles, other add-ons, and anchors that embodied a certain acceptable type. Either Timescast is breaking ground by departing from TV news' head-in-the-sand propagandistic prudery, or they must have gone completely mad and deluded they're hearing god's voice.

Anonymous said...

The Roanoke Times is actually a great newspaper for its limited size. Everybody in that part of Virginia reads it.

Anonymous said...

Does Yancey really expect the executive editor of the New York ****ing Times to let readers call him on his direct line? What's the circulation (including online) of the Roanoke Times? How about the NYT? Does Yancey have to deal with foreign and domestic bureaus, robust business, arts, and culture sections and a magazine? The NYT isn't a local paper, Yancey.

Clark Hoyt's job exists for a reason.

anonymous said...

Hope the bildung police will pardon the following bad form, but the only advice such meatheads will give the estimed albeit homogeneous front row is to morph news into satire; where fact is distorted and its untruth written off as dry and tyrannical comedy--you're stupid for not knowing that the fact wasn't one in fact to begin with...And before you know it, the last person who's idea of journalism was the untimely chuckle, is now a crowd pleaser.

Anonymous said...

The Roanoke Times a great newspaper? Everybody reads it in that part of VA? Maybe because it's the only paper they can get. Haha, most people in SWVA refer to it as fishwrapper. If I were the NYT I wouldn't be taking any advice from those hacks.

Anonymous said...

Does the New York Times pay its employees to post comments trashing critics like this website, the Roanoke paper, etc.? Or do they just do it out of blind loyalty? Either way it's sort of sad.

Anonymous said...

"the old grey lady gaga"?!?

Anonymous said...

One can rationally defend the NYT on occasion without being an employee. Reason has no loyalty.

Anonymous said...

When any organization feels that there is no more to learn from anyone else is a sad day.

Trash said...

Indeed many sad days are about to descend on mononoke times as a false ally under hardship, and in reality there is much to be learned about how to spot and fend off beggars.

Anonymous said...

Look at the Roanoke TimesCast logo (circa 2005), then look at the NYT TimesCast logo (circa 2009) - it's pretty obvious NYT is trying to learn something from the "fishwrapper" aka Roanoke Times.

Anonymous said...

The logo's really not that creative or unusual. I imagine even a high school newspaper might have come up with the exact same thing without having seen the "original."

Anonymous said...

Re: 'The logo's really not that creative or unusual.'

That raises the interesting question of how many designers and consultants worked on it and how much it cost.

Anonymous said...

I actually love watching the Page One meetings more than anything else in the TimesCast videos.

To the fan of page one meetings: said...

Just what is it about the meetings that pulls you in?

It is said...

that how the priorities of the real people running the newsroom r
inversely staged as the print A1
is of interest.