Central City News, Istrouma Journal Merge TV, Internet to Cover Games

Woody Jenkins has been in the TV business most of the past 50 years. He worked at WAFB-TV as a young newsman in the 1960’s and later started more than a dozen small TV stations across the South. He still has an interest in WSTY-TV, Hammond and Baton Rouge.
But Jenkins, who edits the Capital City News, the Central City News, and the Istrouma Journal, says television as we know it is becoming a thing of the past.
“Before cable and satellite, over-the-air television broadcasting was the way everyone watched television,” Jenkins said. “However, today, very few Americans watch free, over-the-air television. Cable became the primary way most people watched TV and got their news. Now that probably isn’t true anymore in most U.S. markets. More and more, people get entertainment and news on their mobile devices.”
“On the other hand, people still want local news and sports,” he said. For that reason, Jenkins is pioneering an innovative approach that merges his TV station, his newspapers, and his sites on social media.
“The technology that tipped us over the edge was Facebook Live. Facebook Live gives any person the ability to broadcast a video signal worldwide  from his phone — without having to invest millions of dollars,” he said.
“It is truly a giant leap forward that gives everyone with talent or ideas the ability to reach a mass audience.”
Jenkins and his publishing company, Community Press, LLC, began utilizing Facebook Live to broadcast news events, such as the funeral processions when three local police officers were assassinated and the flood of August 2016.
Jenkins began live broadcasts of the Ronald Reagan Newsmaker Luncheon on the second Tuesday of each month and the Chamber of Commerce of East Baton Rouge Parish on the fourth Tuesday.
“I saw Facebook Live primarily as a way to give citizens access to important news events and meetings. But I didn’t really see the economic potential.”
That changed in May when Central High School reached the finals of the state baseball tournament and faced West Monroe for the State Championship.
Jenkins sent two staff members, Jolice Provost and Kim Powers, to broadcast the game on Facebook Live. The two are award-winning journalists but had no real experience as sportscasters. Kim Powers said, “We managed to broadcast the game but our play by play commentary consisted mainly of cheering every time Central did something good!”  But people loved it!
Facebook reports how many people watch each video. More than 94,000 people watched the State Championship on Central City News’ Facebook account.
“It was amazing,” Jenkins said. “Now we are aggressively using Facebook Live to report the news but also to cover sporting events.” They sell sponsorships, and Jenkins said they are becoming profit centers.
The Central City News is covering Central High football games and is averaging about 8,000 viewers per game. The Istrouma Journal broadcast the Istrouma game live last night on its Facebook page.
Jenkins said, “We are trying to fully understand the potential of this new technology, but we think it is a game-changer.” Meanwhile, the editor urges everyone to watch the upcoming Central and Istrouma broadcast and make suggestions.

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