Friday, September 2, 2011

7 JS newsroom staffers reportedly take buyout

The latest word is that the Journal Sentinel has had seven takers from the newsroom in its current attempt to slash people in the newsroom. Supposedly two more are being sought and, should they not voluntarily agree, involuntary cuts (read "firings") will be made.

I have a suggestion: Get rid of company CEO Steven Smith who has totally destroyed the company (stock is worth less than a quarter of it's value when he took the company public and began cutting) and use his multi-million-dollar pay package to increase staffing in the newsroom. That would directly improve the product.

A real news cafe

The Winnipeg Free Press offers an interesting way to engage readers -- by actually seeing them in person. Read about the newspapers' News Cafe, where readers engage reporters and editors in person. They use it to host online events as well as a base for reporters. Great idea

I remember when the Journal and Sentinel had a lively crossroads of the community in the lobby of the Journal Building (it's public service department went back decades). Of course the far-sighted (note sarcasm here) management killed the budding operation in the first of its many ill-considered cutbacks that have led directly to today's newspaper which is neither hefty in bulk nor in content.

If I were attempting to stabilize a newspaper, I'd look hard at what they are doing in Winnipeg. It seems to be working.

Journalism and transparency

OK, journalists' talking about journalism isn't rare. But sometimes it's worth listening to. Yesterday, on Poynter's blog, Matt Thompson urged journalism to follow the "scientific method" of transparency in reporting. That means reporters should make it very clear how they conducted the reporting they did, not only what a quote said but the context in which it was gathered -- that along would end some of the worst offenses of national reporters -- and how a reader/viewer could replicate the story.

Of course, that's the underlying argument in Bill Kovach and Tom Rosenstiel's Elements of Journalism from nearly two decades ago, and the reason I still use the class in Journalism 1964, when we talk about what makes a journalist different from a non-journalist.

The point is that it's the way journalism must work for credibility today, and the more discussion the better.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Overwhelmed by friends

Nina Khosla, who describes herself as a 22-year-old designer who founded a social media startup, offers an interesting look at community, friendship and social media. Her premise is that we can become so friendly that we lose connections. In other words, we have too many friends on Facebook or Twitter just because of the volume.

This is a point I've made to several social media "experts," many of whom don't really understand. For example, I have so many connections on Twitter that my feed this morning goes back only two hours -- and it's morning. By midday when traffic rises, it'll go back about a half hour. And I don't have time to check it every half hour.

Anyway, Khosla's essay should be looked at by everyone attempting to get their mind around how social media fits into the larger mass media world.