Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Suicide girl: I didn't want to die

Have you read Leila Fadel's piece about the 15-year old girl who failed as a suicide bomber in Baghdad? Have you watched the video? Did your paper or website use them?


  1. Anonymous12:13 PM

    Excellent reporting. I just wish the video had been edited as tightly as the story.

  2. Anonymous6:52 AM

    I hesitate to comment because you have such a thin skin. Frankly, all the video shows is what's wrong with upper management's approach to news. TV is successful so let's be TV. Yahoo is successful so let's be Yahoo. On. And on. And on. How about a fresh idea? I can read the Times, Mr. Weaver, thank you very much. Tell me, show me, something I didn't know.
    The video, apparently more than 10 minutes long, is boring. I don't speak the language so I don't know what's going on.
    You can't compete with pro photographers and sound folks, so stop trying. It's a waste of our diminishing resources.

  3. Anonymous6:56 AM

    What is missing from this list? The E&P list of papers that do it right?

    The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel for maintaining a 10-person investigative team.

    The Carlsbad (N.M.) Current-Argus for overhauling its distribution and bill-collection practices.

    The Richmond (Va.) Times-Dispatch for localizing national and international issues successfully via reader forums.

    USA Today for its ambitious experiments with social media.

    The Las Vegas Review-Journal for launching a series of highly niche job recruitment sites.

    The Huntsville (Ala.) Times for its use of online video.

    The Portsmouth (N.H.) Herald for launching the profitable seasonal publication, The Daily Beachcomber.

    The Chicago Journal for cementing itself in Chicago’s suburbs.

    The Times, Ottawa, Ill. for launching a successful subscriber rewards program that also grows ad revenue.

    The Santa Barbara (Calif.) Independent by springing from its alt-weekly roots and pouncing on the News-Press’ woes to become the leading paper in the area.

  4. Anonymous7:13 AM

    Sooner or later, we're going to have to decide whether we value the reporting or the bells and whistles. I don't really know that badly shot, badly edited, boring video amounts to bells and whistles, but apparently Howard thinks it does.

    We're not TV. They're really good at video, because that's what they do. They're not so great at reporting, or context, or depth. They don't have newsrooms large enough to provide the insight into the community that newspapers do.

    So I agree with 652. Our diminishing resources are being pulled in too many directions, and we're losing sight of what we do well.

    I'm not saying abandon the bells and whistles. I'm saying concentrate on what we do best.

  5. Anonymous9:44 AM

    What we do well has gotten us where we are. We need to do different things not just the same thing differently. "Bells and Whistles" is, frankly, offensive. This video is bad. There is no doubt about that. But concentrating on what we do best, or at least what we think we do best, will make us obsolete faster than doing nothing at all.

  6. Anonymous5:12 PM

    Well, I'm sure you're absolutely right, Anon9:44. No way should we concentrate on quality journalism that serves our communities.

    Newsflash: What got us where we are is the fact that upper level managers failed to invent craigslist before Craig did; refused to recognize that professional, well executed journalism that speaks truth to power can be conveyed just as well, if not better, online as in print; and failed to adapt newspapers' business model to changing times.

    I don't think that means we need to start uploading a bunch of crappy videos and cluttering our already cluttered websites with a bunch of junk.

    You disagree. That's fine. But please be advised that a whole lot of posters on Howard's blog (hi, Howard) as well as mcclatchynext have routinely referred to "bells and whistles" as shorthand for all the extras that we're routinely incorporating these days. How odd that you're offended by the phrase.

  7. Just for the record, if we had "invented" Craigslist, it wouldn't have done us a damned bit of good.

    The central fact about Craigslist is that it is free, or mostly so. It makes like $20 million nationally. A free classified service wouldn't have save us.

  8. Anonymous6:15 AM

    That's like insightful. Do you know what would/will save us? Or do you just know what wouldn't have save(d) us? Imitating TV?

  9. Anonymous12:18 PM

    My point, obviously, was the think-outside-the-box mentality that leads to a craigslist.

    That's what many major corporations lack. Including MNI. We do things the way we've always done them, because that's all we know. And believe me, at my MNI paper, for all the call now to the urgency of the mission, I've watched true visionary editors get slapped down again and again in recent years.

    So we end up with those editors leaving the business altogether -- and our remaining leaders making foolish, ill advised decisions that don't play to our strengths. Bad imitation TV, for example.

    I don't pretend to have answers, and I don't envy Howard one bit for being in the position of having to come up with a few, stat. But abandoning our core mission doesn't feel like an answer to me.

    -- Anon 5:12.