Archive for the 'mainstream media' Category

More on the Merc

January 9, 2008

Via Romenesko today:

Just a few weeks before former San Jose Mercury News Editor Carole Leigh Hutton resigned in a surprise move last Thursday, she led a team of staffers in a presentation to MediaNews Group CEO William Dean Singleton to turn the daily into a three-section paper.

Some staffers, still puzzled days after Hutton’s sudden departure, are speculating that that idea, which Singleton and other company brass did not support, may have been the final blow to Hutton’s job.

One of several aspects of the paper’s ongoing “Rethinking Project,” the decreased sections idea was apparently greeted negatively by Singleton and David J. Butler, MediaNews vice president for news, during a presentation in mid-December. [Source]

I’ve written on the Rethinking Project before, in December. I thought it was an interesting if not excellent idea then, and (with no updates to the Rethinking blog to convince me otherwise) am sticking to my guns. Why not have a section for the “important” take-down-the-mayor and wars and political machinations, a section for business, and an “everything else” section? Is it too radical to consolidate sports and entertainment? (Aren’t sports, after all, a form of entertainment?)

What’s sad is that if this project, and specifically the three-section idea, was really the reason behind Hutton’s departure, then it’s probably not going to move forward, or at least not in the way it was going.

Butler, who replaced Hutton as Mercury News editor last week, cited the “Rethinking Project” and specifically Hutton’s description of plans to “blow up the paper” during comments to staffers last week. He said such an approach might be too bold for the moment…


What’s Needed in the Newsroom in 2008

January 7, 2008

Via Romenesko:

Even at the college level, where you might expect all students to be on board with the notion of a digital-centric, publish-it-right-now, multi-media approach to news, I still run into budding journalists who cling to the hope of finding a traditional newspaper reporting job. Especially in the newspaper profession, the notion — outdated, in my view — that print still reigns supreme remains strong...

One thing that’s important in effecting cultural change in a newsroom is to get everyone involved in using new forms of digital media. Imagine if everyone in your news organization maintained a blog, an active page on Facebook, and participated in other innovative new media forms (e.g., Twitter). By actually living the digital life and embracing it (even if you’re forced to by your boss), you’ll better understand how the modern consumer interacts with media and news. [source]

Yikes. Full disclosure–I Facebook, but am growing more frustrated with it by the day. I deleted my Myspace, and I don’t Twitter. And I still like holding a paper paper. And am still clinging to the idea that “they” won’t “make” me take pictures or do video, because a visual person I ain’t.

But of course I know Steve Outing in this column is entirely correct. We’re all going to be dragged kicking, screaming, and clutching piles of newsprint into the Internet. Folk like me will have an easier time of it, but I’m still stubborn and I admit it.

Does anyone reading this Tweet? Can somebody explain the appeal, or is it just one of those fads destined to disappear?

Can blogs do journalism?

December 21, 2007

Great post by Scott Carp over at Publishing 2.0 about Gawker’s search for a real live journalist.

Nick Denton, publisher/owner of Gawker Media (aka that one guy who’s supposedly raking in all that cash) , wrote this in the post advertising a managing editor opening: “We’re casting a wide net for candidates, beyond the clubby world of bloggers. Because Gawker is becoming a larger and more complex operation, and, frankly, a more traditional one.” And “It’s no longer enough to take stories from the New York Times, and add a dash of snark. Gawker needs to break and develop more stories.”

Whoa. As Karp points out, it’s a silly question to ask whether blogs can do journalism–after all, quality, not platform is what we’ve been told for years–and a blog “is just a content management system — revolutionary because it made web-native publishing free and easy for anyone — but at the end of the day still just a CMS.”

Anyway, this is a fascinating turn of events. If newspapers can’t or won’t embrace the Web, maybe Web folks will start embracing newspapers.

Or something. to go free?

November 21, 2007

Rupert Murdoch said last week that he’d like to make the online Wall Street Journal–to which over 1 million reader subscribe–free. [AP via] Frankly, I’d forgotten the WSJ was a pay site–’cause I never visit it.

Let’s see: It costs $79 a year to access most WSJ content on But as Wikipedia says, any newspaper with a subscription to the Dow Jones wire can make that content available. (Case in point: by Northwestern University publishes the Wall Street Journal’s media news.)

Anyway, far be it from me to agree with Mr. Murdoch–but I agree with Mr. Murdoch. The easier it is for someone to get the information they want without leaving your site, the more likely it is that that person is going to see YOUR ads. And for all the talk of new models of paying for Web content, ads are still the way most people are making their money.

Something else that should have been mentioned a month ago is that the Erie Times-News, where I interned over the summer, has opened up its content, too. Previously, filling out a fairly lengthy registration form was required to read pretty much any article on the site. Now you just click and you’re in. Go Erie!

WaPo: The Washington Times, Hunting For A Bionic Editor-In-Chief

November 8, 2007

Last week the Times announced they were searching for a new EIC. The Post has a breakdown of the job description:

“articulate and execute . . . the mission of the paper and Web site . . . Support and contribute to the strategic vision of the company . . . Serve as ‘master’ of the tone and voice for the paper and Web site . . . Maintain an awareness of and respond to market trends/needs identified through market research. Use Web analytics to measure success of Web content and modify approach accordingly . . . Build and maintain a collaborative and productive relationship with the President/Publisher regarding vision, mission, goals and objectives, while fostering church/state separation.”

Good gravy. And it goes on. And on. And on.

This may be a sign that there are too many journalists.