It's not often a TV anchor quits her job to go back to the blogosphere. In this episode, we talk to popular tech personality Amber MacArthur about why she quit her TV gig and what she thinks of mainstream news. The outspoken MacArthur holds nothing back.
Digital Journal -- Amber MacArthur is a well-known tech journalist in Canada who also has a huge following online. She made headlines recently when she quit her job at a very well-known TV network to go work online.
Why? MacArthur says the network was not putting enough resources into her show. In October 2007, MacArthur was offered two jobs in the U.S. and so she turned in her resignation. Desperate to keep her, Rogers execs begged her to stay and promised her a weekly show that would air nationwide.
Excited about the opportunity, MacArthur stayed. They worked for months on the new show but when she came back to work after Christmas, management told her the show was being killed. MacArthur was given no warning, but management did offer her a chance to stay on as a general news reporter.
Upset and angered she had turned down other opportunities, MacArthur quit. It's been one of the most surprising resignations in media so far in 2008, but the implications of Amber MacArthur quitting from City TV in Toronto are much wider than Canada's borders.
MacArthur is one of the most connected and busy people you will ever meet: She's always on Facebook; MySpace; a million and one social bookmarking sites; she runs her own video podcast called CommandN; she does Net @ Nite with Leo Laporte; she runs her own website (which she says is currently being redesigned); she often hosted the show HomePage airing on CP24; she did a segment on City News International; and had her own bi-weekly tech/web show called Webnation.
So when someone as busy and public as Macarthur quits her job, the world takes notice. A lot of tech and Internet fans screamed bloody murder, calling Rogers stodgy and clueless to changing times in the TV industry. Critics blasted the company for not valuing a personality who really had a strong Web following.
The conversation, first exploding on a BlogTO comment thread, became a very public affair between MacArthur, her fans, a few of her critics and one very brave Rogers executive.
Rogers Vice President Kevin Bartus, seemed to take part in the conversation because he knew a great deal about the topic, but when Digital Journal TV approached him to talk on camera, he refused.
In an email to Digital Journal, Bartus deflected the criticism, writing, "The Amber thing is getting a bit old, and frankly I never knew much about it to begin with. The City folks are in a completely separate department and location. Most of my commentary on BlogTO was meant to counter any notion that Rogers is not web-oriented. Love to support your content in areas other than Amber."
Bartus seemed to follow the BlogTO thread because he knew a great deal about the situation, yet he told us he doesn't know much about it. MacArthur said Bartus did know all about the show but was not involved in having it killed. She also gives Bartus kudos for having the guts to comment publicly which is rare for a vice president in a public forum.
In this episode of Digital Journal TV, we bring you up close and personal with Internet superstar Amber Mac. We find out internal details at City TV that led to her show getting killed by management; her frustration with the traditional TV format; why she thinks TV must change dramatically in the future; and details on the social network she is now building with a well-known U.S. celebrity.
MacArthur says Rogers does not value the Web as an audience and she doubts how long their business model will sustain itself. She also says bloggers and citizen journalists pose a threat to mainstream media.
Find out why.