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Rebuttal to Statement Issued by "Studio 31 Media Archive"

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This thread has been cleared of all but official statements at the discretion of the LocalNewsTalk administration.

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A recent statement, made on YouTube by Studio31 Media Archive, misrepresents a situation that developed on Sunday November 20th due to a breakdown in communication from myself to the TVNewsTalk staff.


During the evening of Thursday November 17th, I was informed by several concerned community members that the operator of the Studio31 Media Archive account, TVNewsTalk user "sanewsguy", had posted (or "doxxed") the professional LinkedIn of another member of The News Center Discord. This took place on a third-party Discord server, unaffiliated with this site or The News Center.  At that time, I brought it to the attention of both TVNewsTalk staff and the staff of The News Center. Given that this had taken place outside of either platform, no action was taken and the staff of both platforms elected to continue to monitor the situation.


Three days later, on Sunday November 20th, discussion of this matter was renewed by members of our Forum Staff, without my presence. One member of Staff elected to issue a ban to sanewsguy's TVNewsTalk account for Privacy Violations. This was done without my authorization, as I had failed to explicitly communicate that I did not wish for him to be banned. My reasoning to not issue a ban was to monitor the situation and see if additional people were "doxxed". None were. It was later communicated to me that sanewsguy had apologized for posting the link, however the link was not deleted until after the ban was issued.


Upon the issuing of the ban on the Forum, our integration plugin kicked sanewsguy's Discord account from The News Center. This function of the plugin was set up by design, to make sure anyone causing trouble on the forums was also removed from Discord.  This is not made clear on the UI used by Forum Staff. The News Center Discord admin, @ChesapeakeTV, had also elected not to ban sanewsguy at that time, and rightfully objected to the integration kicking him.


When I became aware of this, I immediately reversed the ban and attempted to reach out to sanewsguy over Discord to apologize and to inform him that the falsely-issued ban was removed. My message was responded to by "Clyde", Discord's system message bot, informing me that I was not able to message that Discord account. I had another user in the third-party Discord server relay the message on my behalf. I also sent it as a Direct Message on TVNewsTalk.


The claims made in Studio31 Media Archives' YouTube statement, namely that he was "not given an opportunity to say goodbye", are completely and utterly false. There are currently no restrictions to his TVNewsTalk account, nor to his Discord account on The News Center. These claims are misleading to the community, and mischaracterize his own decision not to return to TVNewsTalk/The News Center into one where he was not given a choice, which is thoroughly incorrect.


I accept 100% of the blame for the fact the ban was issued. I had failed to explicitly communicate my intentions not to ban him to our Staff. I cannot, however, stand idly by as my reputation, the reputation of this site, and the reputation of other community leaders gets dragged through the mud, by a manufactured narrative that attempts to further drive a wedge into our community, and conveniently omits the reprehensible action that led to this situation.



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  • 1 year later...

Yet again, Studio 31 Media Archive is issuing misleading statements regarding (and, apparently, on behalf of) the "Broadcast Plaza" Discord server, directed at both TVNewsTalk and our partner Discord server, The News Center. As before, these statements misrepresent the reality of several different subjects. For reference, these statements have been saved below.


Rebuttal #1: Regarding joining The News Center Discord:

Studio 31 misrepresents our policies regarding joining The News Center by claiming The News Center has "disabled invites".  Since we entered into our partnership with The News Center, we have loosely managed public access to the Discord via these Forums. Similarly, we have long managed access to the Forums via Moderator review of new Members.  While this restricted immediate access for the general public, there have been alternative ways to join for some time. For at least the past year, TNC has maintained a Discord.gg short URL that allowed access to the server, available for anybody to use, if they knew where to find it.


The Discord.gg short link turned off automatically in the past few days, after the server dropped a "boost" level, but appears to have been used as recently as this past Thursday. This is not something the Discord administration have direct control of. TNC previously allowed any user of the Discord to create their own invite links. This was disabled after numerous bad actors (several of whom were previously or later banned from what is now Broadcast Plaza) utilized this feature to either invite other problematic users into the Discord, or evade bans with sockpuppet accounts. Despite all of this, access remained available to anybody with an active and reviewed Forum account, which is the same process Studio 31 would have used to join the Discord.


TVNewsTalk believes this claim to be misrepresentative of the situation, and made in bad faith.


Rebuttal #2: TVNewsTalk and The News Center "literally censors any mention of [Broadcast Plaza]":

Studio 31 misrepresents community policies regarding advertising. TVNewsTalk has maintained (since at least 2015) the following rule regarding advertising:


Any form of commercial advertising or solicitation is forbidden anywhere on TVNewsTalk

Studio 31 has attempted to evade this rule several times, by integrating advertisements for Broadcast Plaza within YouTube Thumbnails. We believe this is to take advantage of the large thumbnail embeds present on both this site and Discord. Studio 31 has claimed this is "marketing", however, this form of "marketing" appears to be unique to Broadcast Plaza, as not even YouTube creators with large followings and merchandising place "marketing" materials like this within their thumbnails. In fact, most popular YouTube creators seem to use very large, very short bits of text within their thumbnails, due to how small these thumbnails can be across devices. In addition, YouTube provides a number of tools for channels such as Studio 31 to market their own websites and communities within the platform.

When this "marketing" tactic was first used during the Summer of 2023, TVNewsTalk and The News Center decided that the best course of action, should this continue, was to continue to allow the links, while deleting the thumbnail/embed. We also made it known to Studio 31/Broadcast Plaza that we were upset that they chose this route to "market" their community. For some time, the thumbnail-embedded ads stopped, but were reintroduced this past Saturday with the launch of WABC's new graphics, which we believe was a targeted attempt at, once again, getting the ads onto our respective community platforms. In response, the embeds were removed, however, the link to the videos remain for anyone to click.


This claim misrepresents and exaggerates the advertising policy enforcement actions being taken by TVNewsTalk and The News Center.


Rebuttal #3: Regarding alleged "competition":

(A TVNewsTalk.net Editorial presented by Operations Director Weeters)

Several times, Studio 31 makes references to "competition" within our communities. Let me be perfectly frank: neither TVNewsTalk, nor The News Center, is in competition with anybody. This is a niche interest. It is a diverse community of individuals who are interested in the various aspects of TV news and broadcasting. "Competing" with Broadcast Plaza would simply be competing with ourselves, and that only serves to cause division within the larger community.


Studio 31 claims that TVNewsTalk and The News Center are the only people calling this a "war". This is incorrect. The only one who thinks this perceived "competition" (another term we haven't used previously) is being seen by the other side as a "war" , is Studio 31 and Broadcast Plaza. Despite their accomplishment at becoming "Discord’s Largest Media Community", Studio 31 and Broadcast Plaza indicate that is not enough for them. That they must continue to grow their own section of the community through deceit, gaslighting, and personal attacks against members of our staff and member base. This is not how you build community. This "us vs. them" mentality is how you drive a wedge into an existing community for your own personal gain.


Why do they feel the need to "grow"? I can't come up with a good reason. There is no prize awarded for being "the largest media community" other than bragging rights, which they have already attained. These videos cannot be monetized. The content being shared is not the property of the people uploading it. I have zero interest in fighting these stupid battles. This alleged "competition" is not worth my time. I will continue to enforce our existing policies regarding advertisements. If Broadcast Plaza and their "partners" feel the need to "market" their own slice of the community to the rest of the community in an attempt to "grow", their advertisements will be dealt with accordingly, as I would any other type of advertisement placed on this board. I have zero intention of "competing" with Studio 31 and Broadcast Plaza, but I will not stand by as they attack the community, our Members, and our Staff.


Merriam-Webster defines "competition" as "the effort of two or more parties acting independently to secure the business of a third party by offering the most favorable terms" and "a contest between rivals", I am not putting in effort to secure anybody's allegiance. I do not see Studio 31 or Broadcast Plaza as a "rival". It's about time they start acting that way, too.



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Addendum #1: Involving Studio 31's involvement with Broadcast Plaza:

A few people have informed us that Studio 31 is no longer the "owner" of Broadcast Plaza, and merely a "partner". This is, and has been, known. It appears some attempt is being made at distancing Studio 31's actions from the Broadcast Plaza server itself. This, however, fails to explain why (if Studio 31 was acting solo on this matter) another video uploaded by a Broadcast Plaza "partner" also featured the same in-thumbnail ad, and why that video, as well as a third, featured a large "FIRST on Broadcast Plaza" watermark through the duration of the video. This appears to show that Studio 31's "marketing" techniques are being adopted by the other server "partners".


If this truly does not reflect the position of Broadcast Plaza, then perhaps the current management of that server needs better oversight and control over the actions of their "partners", who inherently represent the server while acting as one. Standing by as your "partners" "market" your community by demeaning other community members is tacit support of their methods.



4 hours ago, Rusty Muck said:

The only quibble I have is that Jim is not creating unique content. He's clipping from livestreams of television stations' copyrighted material, adding watermarks and chintzy "Studio 31 Exclusive" markings and passing it off as his own in acts of sheer pettiness because he doesn't like it when Stephen Walsh snipes from his uploads.

I remember when this was a fun, nerdy hobby. You'd have to wait weeks, months, maybe even years for someone to get a good high-quality copy of some new news open. A station just debut HD news? You'd get a quick "HD" (probably a SD feed cropped to 16:9) upload and some HD screenshots if you were lucky. Things took time. We waited. We were excited with whatever we got.


Streaming has upended that. Now everyone has access to every TV station at a click of a mouse. What was once a fun hobby has become gamified. It's a popularity contest. Who can get the open up FIRST? Within 30 minutes of the WABC graphics debuting, there were at least 5 uploads of the same exact open. Several of these came "branded" by their respective channel, as if this is some kind of contest to be the Mr. Beast of News Opens.


Watermarking your content is one thing, but slathering it with "marketing" is absurd. It's not your content. You get nothing for being "first". It's a pointless exercise. Even watermarks can be defeated. I once (probably 10 years ago) upload a HD "This is CNN" ident to the old TVNewsTalk YouTube page. It had a small watermark in the corner. Months later, a bit on Letterman used the same ident with a strange blur where the TVNT watermark was. I was defeated in the best possible way. I thought it was neat that some video file I uploaded ended up broadcast on Letterman. There was no point in getting mad they took off the TVNT bug. It wasn't my content to begin with, and there was nothing I could do about it. 


The community growing through YouTube has unfortunately caused several aspects of "YouTube Culture" to spill in. Create content at all costs. Have a big flashy brand for your channel. You can't just be bob9753 uploading news opens, you need to be The Glendive TV Open Archive with a flashy logo and thumbnails exclaiming you were the FIRST to upload something you recorded off a stream, even though 4 other people were recording the same stream and also uploaded claiming to be "FIRST!".


It's been very sad to watch what was once a fun hobby turn into a popularity contest over something as trivial as news opens that don't belong to any of us.


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Studio 31 has made a rebuttal to the rebuttal


Studio 31 alleges that I claimed "that The News Center hasn't disabled invites" despite my post reading "TNC previously allowed any user of the Discord to create their own invite links. This was disabled..." and further explanation about the process we have to join The News Center in the absent of user-generated invites and the current lack of a discord.gg link. I don't know what is so hard to understand about this. I specifically outlined the join process and he completely brushes over it because it's not "open invite".


Studio 31 responds to my claims that I am not competing with anybody with a long paragraph full of a bunch of ego-stroking numbers and stats about Broadcast Plaza. I feel like, perhaps, my message was lost, so I'll reiterate: I do not care what stats Broadcast Plaza has. I do not care what stats The News Center has. I am not playing this "competition" game. He then creates a quote that I called this a "TV graphics fandom" out of thin air, I never said this is a "TV graphics fandom". Reading this section of his response kind of made my eyes glaze over and made me realize further engagement is pointless. I do not have time to argue with someone who has an ego the size of the moon and resorts to gaslighting to try and prove a point.


The rest of the post is his personal beefs with Rusty, Emma, and Jess, which I cannot respond to.


Best wishes to Studio 31 and Broadcast Plaza moving forward,


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