Flashback: That Time I Was an Online News Anchor (Way Before YouTube)

Warning: Flashback moment ahead

I used to produce (and read!) online news when I worked for a tiny little consulting firm in 1998-1999. We were a video conferencing consulting firm, which means I spent most of my time learning video conferencing systems, then developing and delivering training to government departments. I learned a ton about telecommunications networks, telephony protocols, designing systems from pre-existing components, writing bids, etc. etc. etc. It was my first job out of university and it was the beginning of my nerd awakening. I was fully immersed in tech and loved everything about it.

And then one day, the owner walked in and asked if anyone had ever edited audio or video. I had played with editing software on my home computer, so I spoke up. Next thing I knew, I was editing video and audio files to create virtual trade shows and producing an online news channel.

I was still a video conferencing trainer by day, so basically I would troll PR sites for tech-related press releases, write a news story, then film myself reading the story, edit it, post it in a variety of resolutions, then sending a newsletter out to our carefully curated mailing list of tech execs. As 9am hit, and the news was published, my regular work day would start.

[Aside: Next time you bump into @caro_sauve, ask her about being the voice of Radvision ads for KSN News. She did multimedia production for us over the summer of '99.] 

The amazing thing was that the company owner had a friend who was an uber geek: he had an algorithm that permitted us to stream full motion video over 14.4 kbps. (Granted, the videos were slightly larger than a postage stamp, to maintain the high quality.) We posted a variety of formats up to 128kbps, to accommodate a range of users coming in from their home dial-up or their corporate ISDN networks. And we figured out that with minimal movement, the video would stream even cleaner. It was pretty incredible for the time.

All of the stories featured news from the tech industry and they were crazy technical, often super nerdy. I covered announcements about new Telcoms Protocol standards, the launch of streaming technologies, multimedia-related hardware and software, etc. The terminology was so difficult at times that it would take me multiple attempts to get through the story in one go (which was key to keep editing time to a minimum).

We had a good run for almost a year, and then the little consulting firm ran out of money. One of the bubble casualties. But it was a lot of fun, and I learned TONS. Had it been just a few years later, I might have been a YouTube star. Then again, maybe not :)

Take a look: KSN News

This is one of the least technical articles I produced, and one my faves since it was also one of the last stories we ever did. This is an article about the aftermath of the MP3.com IPO and the impact of this newfangled thing called "streaming digital music". Yes, it's awful. I'm not a newscaster for a reason. But as I mentioned, it was also a lot of fun to research, write and produce every day. And we were playing with incredible technologies that are such a no-brainer now. Incredible where we've come from. Take a look!


If you can't see this plug-in, a larger (fuzzier) version is available on my YouTube Channel.

(FTR, can we just acknowledge how young I was back then? Such a baby! LOL)

Hope you enjoyed this look back at my past. I certainly did. :)

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