Friday, October 24, 2008

Newspapers a big success -- on the Internet

MediaPost reports that newspaper websites captured 41 percent of all Internet views last quarter, a big success. Of course, it also reports that they aren't making money from them, not so big a success.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Column laments loss of people of color from Sun-Times

Huffington Post column laments the loss of the last people of color on the Chicago Sun-Times Editorial Board. It's only the latest in a largely-overlooked trend. As newspapers shed staff, they are often losing a large part of their minority staff since, often, these were the reporters and editors with less seniority or minorities jumped to other media or even other occupations.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Maybe the doomsayers are right

It seems that way as more and more industry leaders seem to be wandering the desert looking at mirages with hope. Read this report of a talk by MediaNews Group Inc. CEO Dean Singleton who talks about outsourcing everything, including local reporting, then contrast it with suggestions of "local, local, local," and question whether the industry's leaders have a clue. James McPhearson of a website that has outsourced reporting to India is quoted in the article as saying: "You might miss the nuance of a sneer on a councilman's face but you know how he voted and what he said. That's factual and can be reported on from anywhere." He's correct. Just running the press release will do the same.

Meanwhile, the American Copy Editors Society points out the problems with Singleton's plan. Simply put, it destroys credibility.  FYI, this is a good site to visit on a regular basis.

Show me the money!

MediaPost continues to point to a major problem with all the new media talk: the money's not there yet. Yes, online revenues have increased, (although they are slowing now), but not close to enough to cover the losses in other areas. It's enough to turn even normally-optimistic people like me (who sees the tremendous upside of convergence) into a bit of a pessimist. Still, when I see some of the wonderful media storytelling -- including the current Journal Sentinel opus on Wisconsin's drinking culture (which has some excellent stories among the hand-wringing and preachy stuff) -- I can't help but think of the tremendous possibilities available to reporters.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Some thoughts on newspaper space cutbacks

While I was reading a story on the latest big newspaper to announce it was cutting sections, the Boston Globe, one line stood out to me. The Globe is dropping two sections (actually combining their content with existing sections, while adding a new entertainment-themed tabloid. But the phrase that stood out to me was this: "Martin Baron, editor of the Globe, said while some newshole will be lost, the pages lost include house ads and event listings."

The key part of that was the "event listings" portion. It's long been an axiom in print journalism (back when the competition was seen as broadcast) that newspapers owned "anything in agate type," that is all of the box scores, event listings, calendars, stock tables, etc. that ran in the smallest type. This was because this detail was impractical for broadcast.  

But, frankly, its better on the Internet since it can run in larger fonts and more detail. If I were seeking an online audience, I'd have the most complete listings, calendars, box scores, etc on my site.  Then I'd aggressively promote it on the print pages. Anyway, it's just one more indication of how the media landscape has dramatically changed.