Friday, April 24, 2009

Football coach apologizes to Whitewater newspaper

UW-Whitewater football coach Lance Leipold apologizes and rescinds his ban on reporting by the school's newspaper after a heap of warranted pressure. The incident began when a columnist for the paper reported seeing three "athletes" abusing students at a student rec center. Leipold banned coverage by the paper, only to back down after the Royal Purple reported his tantrum.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

What newspapers have given up -- and what they haven't

Interesting blog post on what newspapers have given away, and what they still have. It's something that every journalist should think about -- what makes a journalist a journalist. Even though it's written by a blogger, this post lists a lot of what I would call the most important facets of news dissemination that still sit in newspaper hands.

Setting the record straight on the newspaper business

Editor & Publisher's Donna Barrett sets the record straight on what's going on in the newspaper business. Number one, she says, readership is growing, not declining. What's decline is advertising revenue, and it's mainly classified revenue that is going to the Internet. Other ad revenues are off, but that's due to the recession, not shifting ad budgets, she says.

On a related subject, traffic at newspaper sites grew 10% in the past year, Nielsen says.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Maybe the print newspaper is more valuable than we think

Fascinating. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer dropped its print edition to go online only on March 17. Its online viewership has DROPPED 23 percent, according to Editor & Publisher, dropping it from its place in the nation's top 30 newspaper sites. In fact, it dropped below its competitor, the Seattle Times, which notched a 70 percent increase in online viewership as well as continuing its print publication. Don't know for sure, but this may be a significant trend.

The more things change . . .

The more things change, the more they stay the same. A new study finds that teens, surprise, prefer watching scripted shows on regular television live rather than any of the new media alternatives. They do like the options -- and I'm sure they really like having options -- but the old ways work.

I find that myself, even though I spend a lot more money than I should getting my several hundred channels plus on-demand plus the wonderful DVR. I find that even with the options, I'm more likely to channel surf until I find something interesting live rather than use the on-demand options or even shows that I've put on DVR (except for sports shows, where I love being able to skip through commercials; DVR's the choice for them).

The bottom line: Don't give up on the old media until it's really dead.

Some thoughts for newspapers from Wikipedia's founder

In the interests of advancing opinions that, I think, are totally off base but interesting, I point to a talk by Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia. His solution for newspapers, natch, is the Wikipedia model, including saying newspapers should scrap their sports sections and just print offerings from enthusiastic bloggers, "Avid sport fans write tons of content and there are people who would pay money to have the job of a Sports Illustrated reporter." . All of which is true, of course, and I'll even concede his point that some bloggers may be as good as print columnists and reporters, although this is ridiculous: "The very best political bloggers are easily equal to the best New York Times columnists." But this is worth reading because, like so many bloggers, there are some grains of information or thought hiding out in his often-wrongheaded advice.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Hearings to look at ways to help newspapers

Congressional  hearings are planned to study ways to help newspapers economically. It's going to be interesting to see the testimony -- and who will testify.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Cable TV and objectivity

And, while on the subject of objectivity, David Carr in today's New York Times writes (OK, the headline writer wrote the specific words, taken from Carr's column) "Cable TV wars are killing objectivity."

Should we get rid of the White House press corps?

Ana Marie Cox in today's Washington Post suggests we get rid of the White House press corps. A problem faced by those people, of course, is that their jobs depend on access, and access depends upon not offending a White House media czar. That leads to weak coverage.

A good friend years ago suggested that newspaper credibility was hurt by unsigned editorials, and suggested getting rid of the editorial page. I think it's a good time to look at both suggestions.

JS touted for Pulitzer

Editor & Publisher today touts the Journal Sentinel's series "Chemical Fallout" for a possible Pulitzer Prize, which is scheduled to be announced today. It's a good possibility, and a richly deserving honor for a piece of excellent journalism.

Wisdom from comic strips

Today's imaginative Pearls Before Swine comic by Stephan Pastis takes on newspaper business models with a lot more intelligence than most media companies. It's worth looking at.

Living in interesting times

Journalism schools are rapidly revamping their curricula to address the reality of modern journalism. As the old Chinese curse goes, "May you live in interesting times." Today we're living in interesting times.