Friday, January 2, 2009

Dailies Go Darwin

Reports of newspapers' death are exaggerated — but after the changes coming in 2009, will we still recognize them?

If you're a tree, you're probably feeling pretty good right now. We've long known that the traditional newspaper — a hard-copy compendium of the previous day's events, printed on an obscene amount of wood byproduct — was terminally ill. But two of 2008's big media developments — the Christian Science Monitor's plan to kill its daily print edition outright, and the Detroit News and Detroit Free Press's decision to radically scale back their print operations and refocus online — suggests that the traditional newspaper's death will come sooner than anyone imagined.

But the term "newspaper" has another meaning, too: it's an organization staffed with men and women who report and analyze the news for the public. Newspapers in this sense aren't about to go extinct. [Click for MORE]

AsianWeek to cease print publication Friday
Kansan going online-only starting Jan. 10
> Lee Enterprises warned by NYSE it may be delisted
> Village Voice Lays Off Nat Hentoff and 2 Others
> Gannett, Register cuts extend into eastern Iowa Sphere: Related Content

Uncle Jay Explains the News of 2008

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Thursday, January 1, 2009

Grow a Pair

From Jeff Jarvis' Buzz Machine:

Via Ryan Sholin on Twitter, I find a post by journalism student and practitioner Suzanne Yada (what a great name for blogging) with great advice for journalism students. Ryan’s and my favorite bit:
Grow some cojones. Let me level with you. The world doesn’t need more music reviewers or opinion spouters. The world needs more people willing to ask tough questions. The first step to reversing journalism’s tarnished image is to have the guts to dig for information the public can’t easily find themselves, and be an advocate of unbiased, straightforward truth. If you can show depth and research with your reporting clips, if you can show you can ask the tough questions and be more than just a parrot for your interviewee, if you can fact-check the living snot out of your articles, you will rise to the top of the crop.

She has tons more superb advice (including: be prepared to go entrepreneurial), which I recommend to all my students and j-students anywhere.

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The Miller Chop

Rafael A. Olmeda and Juan Ortega, or one of them anyway, had one of those rare ideas for a perfect lede paragraph. It was for a bank robbery story where the dye pack exploded but the bandit got away. Here's the lede:

DEERFIELD BEACH - The man who robbed a bank here Wednesday might have thought he was about to make a clean getaway. He was half right.

Or that's what the lede should have been. It's freaking beautiful, with a bit of Miller chop to it. [Photo of Gene Miller, right] There's an intrinsic question in it; nobody is going to stop reading at that point. But here's what actually ran in the newspaper:

DEERFIELD BEACH - The man who robbed the Washington Mutual branch at 1100 E. Hillsboro Blvd. at midday Wednesday may have thought he was about to make a clean getaway. He was half right.

Not only is the name of the bank there to break any clean flow, but also the address in all it's numeric and abbreviated clunkiness. The beauty is still there at the end, but it's like filet mignon drowned in cheap steak sauce. It's hard to get to and it doesn't taste as good as it should. [Click for MORE]

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Government Aid Could Save U.S. Newspapers

Connecticut lawmaker Frank Nicastro sees saving the local newspaper as his duty. But others think he and his colleagues are setting a worrisome precedent for government involvement in the U.S. press.

Nicastro represents Connecticut's 79th assembly district, which includes Bristol, a city of about 61,000 people outside Hartford, the state capital. Its paper, The Bristol Press, may fold within days, along with The Herald in nearby New Britain.

That is because publisher Journal Register, in danger of being crushed under hundreds of millions of dollars of debt, says it cannot afford to keep them open anymore. [Click for MORE]

> Should the Government Bail Out Newspapers?

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Sunday, December 28, 2008

TV News Winds Down Operations on Iraq War

Quietly, as the United States presidential election and its aftermath have dominated the news, America’s three broadcast network news divisions have stopped sending full-time correspondents to Iraq.

“The war has gone on longer than a lot of news organizations’ ability or appetite to cover it,” said Jane Arraf, a former Baghdad bureau chief for CNN who has remained in Iraq as a contract reporter for The Christian Science Monitor.

Joseph Angotti, a former vice president of NBC News, said he could not recall any other time when all three major broadcast networks lacked correspondents in an active war zone that involved United States forces. [Click for MORE]

> Chicago's newspapers facing troubled futures

> Media Matters: Media and journalism will survive ... somehow

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