Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Nature abhors a vacuum

     With the Detroit newspapers now online most days a week, it was almost inevitable that someone would attempt to replace their printed editions with a new print product.  Well, they have. A new newspaper is expected to be launched within 60 days.  When the Detroit papers announced their plans, which include printing newspapers only on Thursday, Friday and Sunday, I wondered since Detroit is such a big sports town and Monday newspapers, especially during the what-seems-like 10 months a year NFL season, are important to readers.

Site offers future for citizen journalist

     New web site seeks to build on entrepreneurial journalists. Staffers could be paid by the traffic they draw. Entrepreneurial journalism is a concept that is going to grow as we redefine the media world.
     I'm not sure this is the way to go because things are changing so rapidly. But at least it offers journalist some pay as opposed to those new media folks who scream citizen journalists and free news. Frankly, news, like everything else, is generally worth what you pay for it.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Ad spending continues to decline

News flash!  Ad spending down all over. In fact, Nielsen reports, it's down 12% in the first quarter alone.

This isn't a surprise to anyone, but the breakdown is. The worst category is newspaper Sunday supplements. The best is Hispanic cable networks. All newspaper categories are below the average decline. 

Lenders may take over Tribune Co.

Reports say the Chicago Tribune Co. lenders may take over the company from Sam Zell.  They can't run the company any worse than he has been.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Outsourcing the news

Interesting column by a writer in New England about his newspaper's attempt to show what outsourced news looks like. His auto column was replaced by one written by a writer in India. 

I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, I don't think American media can safely farm out writing and editing news, which depends so much on institutional memory.  However, design, copyediting national and international stories and some columns are a different matter.  For example, an auto column. Having written one for the old Milwaukee Journal, I can say that local climates affect driving enough that I don't think a writer in India can really speak to the local issues.  Still, most car reviews don't depend on climate conditions (I remember four cars and trucks where Milwaukee's climate was mentioned in the reviews).

On the other hand (remember we're talking about India where the Hindu god Vishnu has four hands), I spent two weeks teaching students at an Indian college backpack journalism a few months ago, and was taken with their seriousness and dedication to learning. They are going to be formidable journalists, and I am proud to have helped them.

My bottom line is that as long as it is JOURNALISTS writing the news, it's not all that bad. I am not a fan of amateurs writing the news. There are standards and ethics that shouldn't be overlooked.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Another media success story, the ethnic press

Want to see an American media success story? Go to your local supermarket and look at the free newspapers. America's ethnic media, with newspapers as its backbone, is growing in importance, a poll shows. As the nation diversifies, niche marketers are having a field day.