It was with great humor that I viewed Jane Valez Mitchel and her group of talking heads on Monday as they discussed the news that Misty Croslin had been sentenced to 25 years behind bars for her part in a drug ring. Monday’s sentence was nothing more than deferring to the judge in St Johns county that had already handed down a 25 year sentence. Sure he added a few bells and whistles, the fines now amount to more than anyone could possibly pay in a lifetime, and suspending her driving privileges for two years after she is released was truly pointless, but I suppose it was a way that the judge could make his point.

It was the video clips that HLN used that caught my eye. Those jail house chats with her father. There is a story behind those particular tapes.The major news organizations had lost interest in the case, there were however a couple of us die hard people that had not. We had a few problems picking up the DVD’s, we relied on the help of volunteers to assist. I will leave my cohorts names out of the article, but we all worked very hard. As best I can tell we were the only media that actually obtained this set of DVD’s.

What you may not realize is just how difficult it is to convert a DVD into a bite size portions that can be used online, or TV. Even with the best of toys, this is a big challenge. We didn’t have the best toys, we spent hours and hours rendering the files. I had two computers tied up for two days. And my partner in crime fared little better. Even rendered into a format that was usable online the filesร‚ย  were colossal. It was obvious that the Bloggernews servers were creaking at the seams trying to service the the video download traffic.

We were in a scramble. In order to keep the site running we needed to find an alternative hosting solution. YouTube looked great, but it had one drawback, the maximum length of a video was limited to 10mins and the segments we had were all 30-40 mins in length. The solution was to use some ‘free’ software to hack and slash the tapes into smaller segments. The downside of this solution was a ‘butt ugly’ watermark right in the middle of each frame!


I am sure you can guess which video clips Jane Valez Mitchel used on HLN. Yup, clips from our clips, complete with the ‘Butt Ugly’ watermark! And no credit about where the clips came from!

Had HLN opted to contact us, we would have been happy to share the original tapes with them. But why bother picking up the phone when you can just scrape content? Angry? No I am not. I just find a great deal of humor in the entire thing.

Simon Barrett

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