Friday, November 28, 2008

Media bias and the election discussed has an interesting discussion of media bias and the Obama-McCain election. Exceptional collection of voices from all over the spectrum with an awful lot of wheat amongst the chaff. It's a must-read for those contemplating politics and the media.

Can new, old media co-exist? Two say 'Yes'

A book by super-blogger Arianna Huffington and a conference in Indonesia both reach the conclusion that new and old media can co-exist, and even improve each other.

As could be expected, Huffington says that "journalists are blogging and bloggers are gaining credibility and stature." The first point goes without saying, and the second has more credibility to me when I think about how I received information during the recent national campaign. Most came from and from

The conference, titled "New Media: The End of Conventional Media?" and sponsored by a group named the Alliance of Independent Journalists, called the current news situation a "blogosphere ecosystem" with each form of media informing the other. Despite all the inaccuracies and just plain untruths bandied about by bloggers, there are examples upon examples piling up of where mainstream journalists are picking up on information gathered by non-traditional journalists on the web.

One speaker cited the case of Situ Babakan in West Java as an example of the successful synergy between the social and mainstream media. Objecting to a local administration's plan to build a shopping mall on the lake, local environmentalists and the lake's supporters launched an online campaign to have the plan rejected. "They created a blog, informed web users about the blog and their cause through mailing lists, Facebook, online petitions and other social media. The web-based campaign generated a tremendous buzz that grabbed the mainstream media's attention. As the mainstream media picked up the issue the campaign attracted greater public support," he said.

The key was a mainstream media outlet picking up the issue, and spreading it. If I were editing a newspaper today, I'd have my staff reading over the local blogs for tidbits, just as we used to have beat reporters talk to secretaries at courthouses, then do the reporting necessary to see if the tip is worth a journalistically-sound story.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Do Pulitzers sell newspapers? A lively discussion

It's always interesting to read the letters on Jim Romenesko's blog of media news. Comments by Tribune owner Sam Zell that Pulitzers don't sell newspapers has sparked a lively discussion, well worth reading. Several comments seem to make a lot of sense while others are ridiculous. It's typical of the new media, you have to wade through a lot of chaff to find the wheat. This fact about the new media was graphically portrayed in the Luann comic strip yesterday.

State intervention sought for Connecticut newspapers

Two Connecticut legislators are seeking state intervention in hopes to save two newspapers planning to close. They aren't the first to suggest radical means to save community newspapers. Several nonprofit newspapers have been founded recently, both in print and online only editions. If the newspaper business model is broken, an alternative model may be the industry's hope.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Zell calls newspaper business model "a failure"

Sam Zell, controversial owner of the Tribune Co., speaks extensively on the newspaper industry to Portfolio magazine, calling the newspaper business model "a failure" and that Pulitzer Prizes are worthless ("I haven't figured out a way to cash in a Pulitzer Prize"). He also called his purchase of the Tribune Co. "the deal from hell." There's a lot more.