About John Altenbern

John has more than 30 years of experience in the television and media industries. He has served television networks, station groups and other media companies of every size from across the country on behalf of CJ&N for the past 14 years. John also currently serves as President of the Professional Advisory Board of the Iowa School of Journalism. Prior to joining CJ&N, John served as senior television consultant and manager at Frank N. Magid Associates and held on-air and management positions from Orlando and Tampa to Minneapolis. He’s an Emmy Award winning writer. John earned an MBA and a BA in journalism from the University of Iowa.

Harvey, Trump & Les Moonves

Sitting high and dry a thousand miles from the Harvey disaster unfolding in Texas gives you a different perspective on the story. As local stations in Texas and the networks do yeoman’s duty showing rescues and passing on information, our CJ&N colleagues are noting something else:  The most useful sources of information and help for [...]

Future of Journalism: Youthful Optimism

“Hi, I’m Hayden, nice to meet you,” she said in a rush. We had never met and we had three minutes to connect.  She is a 20-year-old journalism student and in her eyes, I’m certain, I was some old guy with gray hair and a dubious understanding of her world. “What do you see yourself [...]

Local TV: Wallflower at the Big Dance?

I just returned from a weekend trip out of state to see relatives – a whole house full of young couples, new babies and familiar old faces.  In addition to lots of food and laughter, it gave me new appreciation for how people who aren’t in the “media bubble” see the world these days. I love [...]

Alternative Facts, “Fake News” & Local TV

In a focus group I sat in on last week, one local news viewer said,  “There are plenty of places I can turn to for opinion, no matter if it is left, right or something else.  I watch the local news because it isn’t like that.”  According to our research, his viewpoint is shared by [...]

By | 2017-01-24T20:46:41+00:00 January 24th, 2017|CJ&N, Election Coverage, Strategy|0 Comments

Election Day Coverage: An Opportunity to Get it Right

Disgust. Uneasiness.  Anger. As voters put an end to election season tomorrow (hopefully), these aren’t the feelings generally associated with declaring winners.  Those words also apply to how many people view the news media. So for news organizations, striking the right tone on election night is important. Here are some big picture thoughts before you [...]

Making it Up as You Go

A good friend of mine struggles to figure out her computer and phone.  In her world, files disappear and mysteriously move never to be seen again.  When she explains her latest frustration, people are curious:  Why does she have these problems when some of us facing the same thing bungle along and figure out a [...]

By | 2016-12-13T15:28:01+00:00 March 2nd, 2016|Uncategorized|0 Comments

If Your Apps are an Afterthought, Rethink Your Priorities

What's the first touch point for your brand on a daily basis?  For increasing numbers of local television stations, that answer is "an app."  More than many newscasts and probably way more than your website, the app is a growing point of contact for consumers. So who is producing app content in your newsroom?  Chances [...]

By | 2016-12-13T15:28:01+00:00 October 27th, 2015|Uncategorized|0 Comments

The Neglected Screen

Imagine if viewers tuned in to your newscast and saw a complete hash -- random soundbites, video from news conferences, click-bait video, a reporter’s story from two days ago and a weather forecast recorded six hours earlier -- all jumbled together for no apparent reason. Well, guess what?  That’s probably what they get from your [...]

By | 2016-12-13T15:28:01+00:00 July 15th, 2015|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Television: Distribution on the Brink

When I went out for lunch today something caught my eye as I drove by my local cable company: a Brinks truck backed up to the front door (I’m not kidding). They were about to cart off another load of money, some of it probably mine from a monthly three-digit cable bill. I’ve never been [...]

By | 2016-12-13T15:28:02+00:00 April 28th, 2015|Strategy|0 Comments