Friday, September 28, 2007
But in my defense, I will offer the following weekly newspaper article. Think about the current political bribery scandal in Alaska when you look at this – which was published in 1987.
Nearly all newspaper websites mistakenly segregate their blogs off with the other blogs. They're organizing by form, not by content. (The Times does a better job, both promoting blog posts on the front page and integrating each blog's content into existing sections.)
And this seems particularly damning:
... most of the blog writers end up screaming into the void. Take internet critic Steve Johnson at the Chicago Tribune; how will his long piece on internet gossip trash ever get seen? It's total traffic-bait—and it has nary a comment. No entity on the internet has even linked to it, as of 4 p.m. EST today.
AASFE's Best Section Winners
The winners of the 2006 Best Sections contest for the American Association of Sunday and Feature Editors were announced at the conference Thursday afternoon in Savannah. The Top 10 Best Sections are
The Charlotte Observer
The Chicago Tribune
The Houston Chronicle
The Los Angeles Times
The Kansas City Star
The New & Observer (Raleigh, NC)
The State (Columbia, S.C.)
The Virginia-Pilot (Norfok, Va.)
The Wilmington Star News (NC)
Always wanted a Pulitzer? Get your checkbook.
Thursday, September 27, 2007
Yes, it's a random conversation with a single reader, but I found a lot to think about in the reflections this editor gained by talking with an airplane seatmate about newspapers.
Here's a sample:
After stowing my laptop under my seat, I asked her if she would be interested in reading one of the newspapers during the flight.And this:
Her reaction, which I totally didn’t expect given how she had first inquired about the newspapers I had purchased, was a less-than-measured response:
“Naw, thanks, it’s just full of day-old stuff … ”
Realizing that she might have just insulted me, she quickly began to apologize: “I didn’t mean to say that you are wasting your time” … “It’s just that, in my experience, newspapers are a bit slow ... Whatever important news that I need is either on TV or on the Internet, you know.”
She seemed irritated, almost as if she felt cheated with her newspaper experience, which led me to inquire whether in fact she USED to be an avid reader.
Guess what: She was.
She had very strong feelings about what a newspaper’s role used to be versus now: “I used to read all the time 10 years ago, because my paper would tell me a lot that I didn’t know. It was full of stuff from around my area and the rest of the state. It made you feel smart to read it. It just isn't that way anymore."
It's all about advertising. As I've noted many times, newspapers don't really charge for content anyhow. Since it (often) costs more to print and distribute the paper than we charge for subscriptions, we're already giving it away in order to build an audience we can charge advertisers for.
Yes, it's helpful to have paid circulation since that demonstrates what the advertisers call "wantedness," differentiating newspapers from free shoppers. The environment in which you see an ad matters. But subscription prices aren't really about charging for content.
Now Scott Karp at Publish2 offers another illuminating way of thinking about this. In this post, he argues that people actually do pay for content online; the wrinkle is that they're paying their internet service provider – Comcast, or SBC for instance – rather than the producer.
In a way, this is analogous to paying for the newspaper: in either case, what you're really paying for is the delivery.
In England, there's a fee attached to television sets that helps pay for the BBC. (I believe it's about $260 per year). I think the same is true of blank VHS tapes, and perhaps other media, where a small part of the purchase price is returned to various copyright holders.
Since it's easy enough to meter what gets used online, why couldn't there be a fee attached to ISP charges that rebates to content providers?
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Monday, September 17, 2007
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
Monday, September 10, 2007
Spend a few moments searching through the groups spawned in opposition (and support) of the original and you quickly see what a thicket it is. For instance, what about the "fuck the fuck islam groups and fuck the fuck the fuck islam groups" group? How about "Fuck Tibet - Free Palestine"?
The New York Times has a brief story, including this:
The latest concern centers on a group with a crude title denouncing Islam that had more than 750 members at last count. While the group takes pains to say it has nothing against Muslims, who “can be and usually are peaceful and respectful,” it asserts at the start: “The Quran contains many lies and threats. Islam is false, no god exists, and someone should say that loud and clear.”
In the month or so since the group was created, the reaction has been building across Facebook. As of the weekend, more than 58,000 Facebook members had joined a group that said that unless the anti-Islam group was removed, “we r quitting Facebook.”
Facebook declined to comment on Friday on the subject of hate speech or on what steps had been taken.
Friday, September 07, 2007
News Agencies Boycott on Limits By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
PARIS, Sept. 6 (AP) —The world’s three leading news agencies suspended coverage Thursday of the Rugby World Cup in a dispute with the sport’s governing body over media restrictions.
The Associated Press said its representatives would not attend any World Cup events until the dispute over media credentials was resolved with the International Rugby Board. Reuters and Agence France-Presse also said they were suspending coverage.
The A.P. said it hoped for a resolution so it could return to full coverage of the six-week tournament before the opening match Friday between France and Argentina.
The A.P. said it would not distribute text stories, photographs or TV images from precompetition events Thursday.
Message from the Associated Press
The press freedom dispute with the IRB has just been settled and normal coverage should resume. Other information may follow.
Thursday, September 06, 2007
What is a "real" journalist? I have a degree in Journalism, does that count?
If one publishes a "journal" -- online or not -- doesn't that by definition make one a journalist?
Or is there a test? A certification? That would indeed make us Journalists as opposed to journalists.
Here's my reply, posted here for wider consideration and comment:
A journalist is a person who does journalism.
A journal? Nope, not enough. A Flickr stream? Not necessarily.
Journalism has a lot in common with science: it's a process of testing, calibrating, disputing, refining and adjusting notions about reality. There's no "whole truth" or final answer to be had, but there *is* a process available that gets us closer. It's neither an accident nor a revelation from on high; it's the product of evolution. (See “The Truth Discipline” in Jack Fuller’s book “News Values,” pp 86-89).
Good information advantages those who have it, and “journalism” is simply the process by which we have sorted and codified one kind of information as being more refined than some others. (Ideally, a doctoral thesis, investment newsletter or CIA briefing might all be even higher grade info than journalism.)
Not everybody with a blog about biology can call herself a scientist, nor is every political blogger a journalist. But some are.
Way back when I started this blog, I promised to use it as a medium for reporting on the many meetings, some of them interesting, that we have as an editorial board and never get around to writing about. The idea was not only to disseminate stuff worth knowing, but to lower that ol' drawbridge to the ivory tower I keep talking about. You know, if someone is talking to us and helping shape our world view, readers should know about it.Well he didn't. But now he is.
Maybe you should?
Tuesday, September 04, 2007
The Los Angeles Times To Feature
First-Ever Ad With Scented Ink
For Fox Walden’s “Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium”
Distinctive and Original Frosted Cake-Scented Ad to Appear in The Times’
Fall Movie “Sneak”s September 9th
LOS ANGELES, September 4, 2007 – The Los Angeles Times and Fox Walden today announced that the paper will feature the first ever ad using scented ink to uniquely tout the 20th Century Fox release of a Walden Media and Mandate Film, “Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium” opening nationwide on November 16th. Starring Academy Award® winner Dustin Hoffman and Academy Award® nominee Natalie Portman, “Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium” is the story of the strangest, most fantastic, most wonderful toy store in the world and the equally fantastic and wonderfully innovative ad will debut in the paper’s annual Fall Movie Sneaks section on September 9th. The Times becomes the first major newspaper in the country to successfully present and implement the pioneering application which adds a rich, new dimension to the medium.
Fox Walden seized the opportunity to create new levels of involvement and connection with Southern California’s readers and moviegoers and chose the universally beloved frosted cake scent to remind consumers of all ages to be young and have fun.
“The scented ink ad is yet the latest tool The Times is offering its advertisers as they continue to search for new ways to reach, excite and inform L.A.’s market of buzz,” said Dave Murphy, executive vice president and general manager of the Los Angeles Times Media Group. “Fox Walden has been a terrific partner as we roll-out this bold concept and underscores our industry leading ability to create unique marketing solutions.”
Times readers will be able to scratch designated areas of the “Mr. Magorium” ad, which will emit the frosted cake scent made from soy-based ink. Written and directed by Zach Helm, “Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium” centers around a magical toy store that only asks one thing of its customers; you must believe it to see it.
“‘Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium’ is about a magical toy store that comes to life,” said Jeffrey Godsick, president of marketing at Fox Walden. “So when the Los Angeles Times came to us with the idea to create a magical scratch and sniff ad we felt it was the perfect fit since it brings the ad to life.”
Nancy Sullivan, Los Angeles Times
HYPERLINK "mailto:email@example.com" firstname.lastname@example.org
Stephan Pechdimaldji, Los Angeles Times
HYPERLINK "mailto:email@example.com" firstname.lastname@example.org
Susie Hayasaka, Fox Walden
HYPERLINK "mailto:email@example.com" firstname.lastname@example.org
Monday, September 03, 2007
On Sunday the New York Times Book Review introduced me to another gem of the economical genre: fait divers. Apparently a staple of French newspapers, they are short, complete, succinct tidbits that (as the reviewer notes) reach a kind of sublime poetic quality.
This review examines a collection of faits divers by a previously anonymous writer of is entitled "Novels in Three Lines." But I don't know where the lines break, so these are presented entire:
On the bowling lawn a stroke leveled M. André, 75, of Levallois. While his ball was still rolling he was no more.
A dishwasher from Nancy , who had just come back from Lourdes cured forever of tuberculosis, died Sunday by mistake.
They’re leaving, those Laotian dancers who graced the fair at Marseille; they’re leaving today aboard the Polynésien.
There is no longer a God even for drunkards. Kersilie, of St.-Germain, who had mistaken the window for the door, is dead.”
Lit by her son, 5, a signal flare burst under the skirts of Mme. Roger, of Clichy; damages were considerable.
In Oyonnax, Mlle. Cottet, 18, threw acid in the face of M. Besnard, 25. Love, obviously.
Seventy-year-old beggar Verniot, of Clichy, died of hunger. His pallet disgorged 2,000 francs. But no one should make generalizations.
Sunday, September 02, 2007
From that single striking image flows a stream of multimedia – narrative, photography, video – designed to listen to the stories that echo across those 50 years. Move beyond the famous, regal face of Dorothy Counts: What happened to that boy behind her? To that one, pictured at the right?
What have they – and Charlotte – learned? And what about the rest of the country? Today the Observer guides us on a search for answers.
That will cost us a little traffic – but not much, and not very valuable. That kind of random, out-of-market traffic in search of generic wire news isn't at the heart of what we do.
I'm not yet fully informed about this – and I do fault the AP for failure to communicate with us adequately about the deal. There are likely to be some yet-unknown implications, but I will say that most of the commentary I've seen so far seems a bit apocalytic.
AP doesn't sell Google its "state wire" with local news that originates from our papers, so that traffic isn't affected. Neither is organic search at google.com.
What changes is that Google News readers won't click on one of the multiple newspaper sources previously listed by Google News for basic AP content. And what's the effect of that? It's better for readers, doesn't affect much traffic for us, and could even clear the way on Google News for better display and availability of the genuinely unique material newspaper websites feature.
Anybody whose business plan revolves around drive-by traffic from incidental links to generic AP stories is in deeper trouble than this issue raises.
I'll report more about the details and implications as I know more.