Kathryn Janicek, a 1998 Marquette alumna and Emmy-award winning journalist, is looking to reinvent the traditional broadcast news model through her work at TouchVision. The new video broadcast news network will provide a 24/7 news stream, complete with background music and graphics for a cinematic feel. The news service launched Sept. 3 in Milwaukee and will be rolling out nationwide in the coming months.
Janicek said some students she spoke with expressed the belief that certain news organizations are too biased and lack credibility, issues she hopes to remedy with TouchVision.
“I feel like (the news) can say whatever it wants and nobody really cares,” said Jacob Simmons, a freshman in the College of Arts & Sciences. “That could be because we don’t pay attention to the news as much as we used to, but I wish that we’d hold (news reporters) more responsible and that they’d stick to the facts more often.”
Janicek said she’s trying to avoid that sentiment by using TouchVision to emphasize news as education.
“We cut out all of the bias that might come with having reporters and anchors doing it,” Janicek said. “(The goal is) to give people the news right down the middle, no bias, and to educate and inform.”
Part of that education will involve explaining why certain stories are in the news.
Madeline Makhlouf, a sophomore in the College of Arts & Sciences, said she finds it problematic when she can’t get every side of a story from one news source, especially since she expects most to be partisan.
“I don’t want to have to search through 10 websites to find the truth,” Makhlouf said.
Janicek said she is using TouchVision to tackle this problem as well, placing importance on debriefing audiences with background information for each story.
“I want to make sure that we are the only option if people want the whole story,” she said. “People are very smart. If anything, they need more information on the stories out there.”
In addition to improved ethics, Janicek said she is using TouchVision to reconstruct the traditional news model from the ground up. She aims to revolutionize news by creating “news movies,” which include vivid graphics, movie clips and mood-matching background music in every video.
“We know that (the extra components) will supplement each story,” Janicek said. “We’re composing news movies and you’ll remember the news better this way.”
Reflecting on her time as a journalism student at Marquette, Janicek said she had Jesuit values in mind while creating TouchVision. She said she specifically remembers the Jesuit educational principle ‘Cura personalis,’ which translates to “care for the entire person” in Latin.
“(TouchVision) is about the whole person. I think about what everyone needs to get through their day,” she said.
TouchVision chose to start its launch in Milwaukee due to its strategic relationship with Weigel Broadcasting and the sizable, diverse market. TouchVision is available through five platforms, a free app (for Apple and Android products), its website, Weigel’s Milwaukee station, WDJT-58.4,Time Warner Cable channel 984 and Charter Cable channel 966.
TouchVision has yet to determine an official nationwide launch date.