Ten News’s enthusiastic announcement of its
campaign to get punters working as unpaid reporters – by sending an SMS, MMS or
emailing live video footage and pictures directly to its newsroom – may have
come a little prematurely.

To be able to properly
communicate with viewers in this way, you need a decent website offering and if
you take a look at Ten’s website you have to wonder.

The bad news for Ten is that Seven’s already
swinging into action with its own similar plans, with news and public affairs
boss Peter Meakin already identifying the punter masses as a good source of

“It certainly worked during the underground bombings in London”, Meakin
told Crikey. “It is also something we intend to pursue with Yahoo7.” Seven has also set up an email address for
viewer feedback – [email protected]

The big difference here of course is that
Seven has a new powerhouse internet extension to its programming in Yahoo7, set
up specifically to provide a more dynamic connection with audiences.

While Ten’s trial run “received half a dozen
images which were of broadcast quality”, Yahoo7 was ramping up its own services,
managing three times the amount of cyclone content, which it actually published plus video that was sent in which was used through Seven’s news bulletins.

And what Yahoo can bring to the table in its
partnership with Seven is evident in this Reuters report
on plans for a
multimedia extension to CBS’s 60 Minutes program in the US.

Meanwhile, 60 Minutes‘ home in
Australia, Nine, is cosy and relaxed in bed with MSN on the web where its
efforts to extract viewer content extend to a single button if you click
through to its News page.

While on the subject of the networks’ online
program extensions, the ABC’s Four Corners website leads the way with this “broadband edition”
complementing its report “The Ice Age”, into the threat presented by crystal
meth drug use in Australia.