WTXF, 2016-2017: Web Producer

Fox 29 was one of the two places I should’ve seen red flags, rather than accepting the job, but I still respect several people there.

The station’s web team will do anything for clicks: post out-of-town nonsense including polls on Facebook instead of covering news, search foreign tabloids for sensational material, copy stories verbatim from other Fox stations (obvious examples here and here), and get facts wrong which nobody notices since they’re

“at likely half the staff & budget of competitors.”

That quote was posted by the senior assignment editor, himself. (Click that last link for the original!)

And then there was this:

The errors at the top happened while I worked there but I had absolutely nothing to do with them and found out as the public did. See how the station that brags about being “All local. All morning.” wished the LATE local boxing legend Joe Frazier a happy birthday. Not only that, it gave his day’s schedule which didn’t include “Rest in Peace.” I don’t know how they could’ve come up with so much false information if they weren’t making it up, but they’ll have to answer for themselves.

Many publications took note. You’ll find their stories here, here, here, here, here and here. I think that’s all. Fox 29 sure went there! I do wonder what happened to the person responsible for giving the station such a black eye, to use fighting terms.

At least their web numbers dropped when I left.  They only had Alex Holley to thank. Serves them right! Reasons below.

In May 2018, FTVLive’s Scott Jones and I pointed out to the world that Fox 29 should update its Station History page.

Look at the “posted” and “updated” dates and notice they did nothing. How many mistakes can you find, so far? (Maybe this should be a Facebook poll!) I went to the actual site and counted six. (Make that seven since the names of TV programs are supposed to be italicized, not in parenthesis.) American Idol made a big jump to ABC. Both Bones and Glee went away more quietly. Good Day starts earlier than the 4:25am they claim. There’s no mention of the 11pm newscast. Must not be important. And as you’ll see below, the size of the FOX Television Stations Group differs from what the parent company has online in terms of stations and cities.

(I didn’t count burying the fact they air most Philadelphia Eagles regular season games somewhere in the second half of the story — even after they won the Super Bowl — underneath the timeline which ends in 2008 with some midday newscast that apparently didn’t catch on. Like that’s more important! Or mentioning the 2005 renovation but leaving out the new multi-purpose studio used for news, sports and The Q Show, which got no mention. I don’t know if I should consider those decisions bad writing or stupidity. Sounds like another Facebook poll!)

And there’s absolutely NOTHING on the Phillies on the homepage or even the sports page despite them playing well until the past week and being just two game out of first place — but there’s a special World Cup section and it’s first on the top navigation bar, even though it has been over for a month.

Click the link on the navigation bar and you’ll see a whole lot of white space until you scroll all the way down and find old stories. (Last Thursday afternoon, there had been nothing for a few days about the Eagles’ first preseason game, which took place hours later.)

It’s hard to find examples of my work, since the station will take a story and have different producers update it several times over several days, rather than start a new story each day. That means fewer articles, fewer chances to link readers to older articles for clicks, no way to see the story’s evolution and no way to prove the station does well following up on-scene.

This is one example of almost 24 hours passing. It’s Monday information, which would confuse folks reading the update Tuesday morning, but there has been a vast improvement on this detail. Nobody used to care.

It also didn’t care about Associated Press practices which were designed

“to settle questions of proper spelling, capitalization, punctuation, abbreviations, word choice, hyphenation, and other questions that come up dozens or hundreds of times a day.”

So there’s a free-for-all when it comes to things, especially state abbreviations.

With that comes a byline, which helps in Google searches and gives the story credibility. But this station doesn’t use them, unless the story comes straight from another source, even though there’s room in the template.

Those are reasons Fox29.com content rarely shows up in Google searches, leading to its low readership. (And to heck with Facebook because it mostly makes Mark Zuckerberg money! Was Rupert Murdoch out of his mind when he suggested Facebook pay him for Fox content there?)

It’s 1:13pm on Aug. 15, 2018. I just went to google.com and typed the generic “philadelphia murder.” Look what came up.

Not a single Fox29.com story! Patch.com, whatever that is, rounded out Page 1. Channels 3, 6 and 10 were represented, along with two newspapers and a magazine. Point proven!

How often do you think people go onto the second search page? I thought so. Too bad for Fox 29 nobody in any position of power ever cared to listen to me. You can see how their website is pretty unsearchable. Again, serves them right!

I’ll go as far as to say the situation is spiraling out of control, since popularity leads to search results, which increases popularity!

The ownership doesn’t even list its stations on the webpage titled “FOX Television Stations Group” (below). Look for any of their 27 stations’ call letters or even the word “Philadelphia,” since 17 cities may be too many to name. See for yourself how I probably mentioned that more than a dozen times in my blog posts, with links. (Fake sweat and tears go here for the person who should be naming 27 stations’ call letters and 17 cities, but it could be worse. Fox 29’s Station History page says the company has 28 stations in 18 markets!) To heck with any facts from Fox. Talk about laziness and omission!

I think the change happened when Fox traded its Boston and Memphis stations for one in San Francisco. That meant one less station and one less city.

Anyway, despite all the Fox 29 failures, I’ve gathered and saved a number of stories that were totally mine — or I played a large role in creating — even though you won’t see my name.

(Unfortunately, cell phone users should click here for the Headlines Sitemap. The grid does appear, three to a line on desktops and laptops, and one to a line on tablets.)

I’m proud of the stories below I was able to remember and find, some more than others. I only edited out advertisements.

After looking below, you can click here to see stories from my time as Digital Media Manager at WCYB. It was a much better experience. I left there just five days before starting at WTXF.

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