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Re: More: Re: [BC] C-NET programming begins on WBPS 12/1/01 at about 3:15 PM EST

David: I apologize for the use of the word "abysmal." It stemmed from my
total frustration in trying to figure out what was going on and why what
happened had happened. I write for a high-tech publication (EDN, a
controlled-circulation magazine that circulates 28 times a year to
electronic design engineers who work for original-equipment manufacturers).
If somebody had used "abysmal" to characterize my work, I'd be upset too.

I think the biggest parts of the problem with C-Net's coverage of the Excite
debacle are:

1. Delegating news coverage to a call-in talk show. As far as I can tell,
there has been NO coverage whatever in C-Net's TOH "News." This is breaking
news and, unfortunately, you were put in the position of providing the only
available coverage of it using a format that is just not appropriate for
covering breaking news. Obviously, call-in shows have their place in a
breaking crisis, but they should not become a community's (in this case, the
on-line community's) basic source of hard news and the background necessary
to make sense of the hard news.
2. Endless repeats with absolutely NO indication of when the programs
originally aired. NOBODY can cover breaking news in this way!

SOMEBODY needs to put together a single five-minute or so summary of the
history of the debacle, record it, and air it repeatedly (maybe hourly)
together with, say, a one-minute update (updated at least every few hours)
containing the best available summary of current conditions and breaking

It is clear that C-Net never imagined that high-tech news could be of the
breaking-news variety that would necessitate this kind of coverage. I'm sure
that the business model doesn't remotely contemplate the level of staffing
necessary to cover a story of this type. Nevertheless, getting the whole
story the way it came across on WBPS required:

1. Staying tuned (and awake) continuously for (so far) about 30 hours to
piece together the story from the bits and pieces as you dispensed them.
Even I, the quintessential radio geek and high-tech geek, couldn't manage
2. Having a high-quality crystal ball to determine what was and wasn't a
repeat and, if it was a repeat, to figure out when the information had been
3. A personal exchange of e-mails with you.

I imagine that C-Net Radio operates with zero staffing on weekends. Still, I
think that if somebody in C-Net Radio's management had been on the ball,
when the crisis began to break, they might have called you and asked you to
put together the five-minute-or-so summary/backgrounder and feed it to them.
Even if you had been at home when they tracked you down, you probably could
have managed that. They then could have substituted your piece for the
completely repetitive TOH "news" feeds that WBPS has been aring since the
C-Net programming began yesterday afternoon. And if you were in a position
to do so, you could have periodically called in additional shorter updates
that could have aired after the longer piece to keep it fresh and current.

Dan Strassberg, dan.strassberg@att.net
617-558-4205, eFax 707-215-6367

----- Original Message -----
From: David Lawrence <david@online-today.com>
To: <dan.strassberg@att.net>
Sent: Sunday, December 02, 2001 3:18 PM
Subject: More: Re: [BC] C-NET programming begins on WBPS 12/1/01 at about
3:15 PM EST

> Again, in case you only check the Broadcast list occasionally. Frankly,
> words like "abysmal" thoughtlessly posted on a board of my peers are
> hurtful and in this case, the opposite of the truth. I have been not only
> clear, but in the case of Online Tonight, where I am a talk show host,
> not an anchor doing a news story, respectful of all sides. I'm usually
> not so nice.
> If I can fill you in on any more of the story, or if I can respond to any
> of your quality comments, feel free to call me directly at <snip>.
> David
> ---------------- Begin Forwarded Message ----------------
> Date:        12/2/01 12:05 PM
> Received:    12/2/01 12:13 PM
> From:        David Lawrence, david@online-today.com
> Reply-To:    Broadcast, broadcast@broadcast.net
> To:          Broadcast, broadcast@broadcast.net
> On or about 12/2/01 5:52 AM, a certain Dan Strassberg
> [dan.strassberg@att.net] wrote:
> >How is this
> >action related, if at all, to AT&T's upcoming decision on whether it
> >sell or keep AT&T Broadband? And in AT&T's apparent decision to let
> >go down the drain, what was the role of the courts' decision to allow
> >creditors to force Excite into bankruptcy? Lawrence has touched on all of
> >these subjects, but I guess he is just too close to his subject to do a
> >clear job of reporting, and I am quite mystified over what is going on.
> I've actually dealt in depth with all of these issues. I'm sorry you
> haven't heard the commentary.
> AT&T will be receiving up to 5 bids on its broadband business (1.3
> million customers, mixed between Road Runner and @Home/BI), one of which
> (from Microsoft) we already know is in the 3 to 5 *b*illion dollar range.
> They were hoping to pick up E@H for a song.
> AT&T did not decide to let E@H go down the drain - they have no role in
> any decision there. E@H provides the infrastructure, nothing more.
> As far as the bankruptcy is concerned, despite Chairman Powell's
> protestations, the judge said what every bankruptcy judge says: that in
> every bankruptcy, there is disruption, loss of jobs, customer
> inconvenience and general turmoil, and that he couldn't let that be part
> of his decision. His was only to decide what was in the best interest of
> the creditors.
> I've dealt with all of these subjects quite clearly, and if anyone here
> has any other questions, feel free to drop me an e-mail offline.
> David
> .......................................................
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