The Stroumboulopouli

The Stroumboulopouli

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Sunday, June 11, 2006

What is the best-before date on news?

At what point does it cease to be news and morph into something else, like recent history? I ask this because I have a couple of episodes of The Hour on tape which I haven't had a chance to watch.
I was going to watch them this week, in order to ease gently in the absence of The Hour, but then Alana suggested I save those episodes for sometime in August when The Hour withdrawal really starts to kick in.

But I'm not certain that's the best approach. Firstly, although the show is so much more than just a recital of the day's news, there is still the question of pertinence to what is currently happening in the world. Some segments I know will be timeless, but others, well, they will indeed be old news by then. And we all know how pop culture disdains anything old. The nostalgia cycle seems to be shortening with each decade, so that something that was fashionable 5 years ago is already a candidate for an old-school label and ripe for recycling. I think it is tied in with our collectively shortened attention span.
So how will June's events translate to being viewed in August? Who knows? I would suspect that The Hour will fare better than a lot of other offerings though.
But by August, I will hopefully have been sufficiently weaned from my addiction to The Hour so that I no longer have cold sweats. I'll be onto something else - cycling or gardening or having a glass of wine with the neighbours. I'll be outside enjoying the summer. Watching those two episodes won't have quite the same impact at that time. But believe me, come September, I am going to be glancing longingly at the tv again, waiting for the launch of season three.
And then I'll be coming back inside the house and claiming my spot on the couch.

- Barbara B.

16 comments:

hilary m. said...

Because most The Hour is news, its kind of difficult to watch after the expiration date. But I agree with you, the Hour definitely stays fresh longer than all of the news shows I've watched. I'd go ahead and crack open those episodes now, before they lose most of their freshness.

Allison said...

Great post Barbara! You may have an experiment of sorts on your hands if you wait until August. The same goes when I'm catching up on shows missed, via the web, and that's usually within the same week. Really short attention span I guess...

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Hilary, I'm convinced - I'm going to watch those babies this week. Got to watch them while they're hot!

Thanks Allison! Yeah, I can do without experiments; I don't want a repeat of when I left my fish that I was supposed to dissect for Biology in my locker over the weekend... I'm NOT saying the Hour is stinky fish, just that things don't last forever!

Evelyne said...

Barbara, watch those episodes this week! I taped a couple of episodes during the last 2 weeks of school and when I watched the tapes it was good but not as good as it is when it's really fresh. So in August yes, interviews and some parts are going to be good, but not as good as if you watch it during the week. Plus Thursday's closer will not make sens in August.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

You make a good point, Evelyne. I shall watch them this week. Besides I really want to see the final show asap.

hilary m. said...

You should save one for August, and see how it tastes--I mean looks. Or is that an experiment?

~Jen~ said...

barb...you are da sheet mon!

Barbara said...

I still havn't watched The last episode... Ok I was there in person but I was distracted by the live version himself when the taped stuff was on.
I have the tape my dad nearly tossed away cause it did not have an audience shot. LOL! I will watch it now.
They are playing 'best of The Hour' all next week you know!

The Stroumboulopouli said...

I just watched a tape with two episodes of My Name Is Earl and a Barbra S. concert on it. I don't think my dad has the hang of taping something. So much for that I'll go to The Website instead I guess.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

It wouldn't be a properly designed experiment though, Hilary. No control group, too many uncontrolled variables, and how would you do the stats on it? I think I'm going to be a piggy and watch them both this week.

Hey Jen! Glad to see you over here, baby! Welcome to my other, other life. Meet the girls. (and I learned all my sheetness from you).

I did not know they were playing the best ofs this week, Barbara. Thanks for the heads up. That must be what Evelyne meant by Thursday's episode not making sense in August. That would indeed have pissed me off to discover that in August! haha

Oh no, unidentified Stroumboulopouli, not the randomly-taping dad! I had a friend who ended up with an hour of the weather channel once. And this was back when it was only a string of info across the bottom of a blank screen. Very compelling viewing.

Jeremy said...

My experience, although not experimentally derived, is that most webclips receive the bulk of their traffic immediately following the broadcast. This is typically the pattern for The Closer, for example. However, there are some videos -- like the Stephen Colbert clip -- that seem to take on a life of their own and become more popular as time goes on. Other clips with news hooks -- like the most recent interview with David Suzuki -- seem to get a second life when related stories run later in the year (e.g., Al Gore). So there certainly is a "freshness," but the determinants of that quality aren't clear.

What I am curious to see is whether the new site's "related videos" section changes how old clips are watched. In this sense, we do have a quasi-experimental design: those clips that get linked to as "related" will probably see their traffic increase, while other older clips won't. The challenge, in terms of data collection, is that I have no way to get an overview of which videos are linked to by what: there's no "social networking" built into the backend, although I probably should have suggested it.

In short, except for the "top 10," there is no general indicator as to "freshness." For this reason, I would watch the tapes now and then continue to return to the website to catch up on old stuff that gets added throughout the summer. If we are able to achieve what I intend for the site, there will eventually be new stuff that no one has ever seen before....

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Thanks Jeremy, for your insight. I find the behind-the-scenes work even more fascinating than what goes on in front of the camera, and this has given me much to chew on. It makes perfect sense that video clips of some perennial favourites (like Colbert and Suzuki) will develop a life of their own.

The traffic among related clips is something that I had not even considered previously, but of course you would be interested in tracking that. Does this help you make determinations on future story ideas as well? Aside from breaking news, that is.

I shall take your advice on watching the tapes now, coming as it does from someone in the know. And of course I will visit the website over the summer.

Jas Bhambra said...

I would save them, Barb. Because, the show is more than just news. It is a collective in the real sense. A collective of news, and then discussions, perspectives, and viewpoints on the news. Like Jeremy said, it is always good to go back and take another look when similar stories/news recurr.

And, lastly, can't have enough of G.S. :)

Anonymous said...

Jas , do you mean save watching them until later, or physically save the tapes for posterity? The latter I think I will leave for the CBC itself- they have much more storage room than I do.
And I still haven't watched them yet - those evenings are too short!

Jas Bhambra said...

Watch them while they are hot, and save them for later, Barb! :)
(we should get a dvd recorder, dvd's take way much less space!)

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Except that my house is already full with cds, Jas. I feel like I'm living in a library sometimes! I'm thinking I shall just go to the Hour website for my fixes over the summer instead.