Tag Archives: news

Journalism bloodbath

The Arizona Republic‘s publisher, Gannett Newspapers, announced long-awaited layoffs of almost 100 people, including some of its long-time reporters. It’s part of a national epidemic. Who’s going to write the newspaper? Interns and journalism students, apparently.  Jon Talton has been blogging about the things he couldn’t say when he was a columnist for the paper:

I learned a few things, chiefly that Gannett is not really a newspaper company. Yet it will be remembered as the company that destroyed newspapers.

Gannett has its roots in small newspapers and it never could shake its inferiority complex. …Gannett didn’t believe it had anything to learn from excellent newspapers. A top executive used the word “metro-itis” to describe, and quash, any effort to do high-impact journalism, build superior reporting and editing staffs or develop sophisticated content.

To these leaders, who by this time were highly influential in the industry, small and “lite” papers had all the answers. Lite being the operative phrase.

So maybe it’s not just teh intramawebs that are killing newspapers. It may have something to do with content so fluffy you can finish reading your morning paper before your cereal has time to get soggy. More and better journalism, please.

[Dead Sea Newspaper, Wikimedia Commons]

Investigative journalism to make an online come-back?

Following on from Tom M’s mention of Spot.us, the New York Times has an article on the organisations that may well end up replacing it. Local news websites like VoiceOfSanDiego.org are looking to beat both the current newspaper and web news models by returning to solid original journalism on the matters that matter:

Voice is doing really significant work, driving the agenda on redevelopment and some other areas, putting local politicians and businesses on the hot seat,” said Dean Nelson, director of the journalism program at Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego. “I have them come into my classes, and I introduce them as, ‘This is the future of journalism.’ “

The problem being that, currently, online advertising doesn’t provide enough income to run a proper newsroom, even with the lower overheads of the straight-to-web model. But will that always be the case? I’d be a lot more tolerant of internet advertising if I felt I was getting decent content as a result of it.

South Ossetia: tell me what to think

I admit it: I hadn’t heard of South Ossetia before the events of the 7th August. Like so many things I was previously ignorant of as soon as it makes the front pages suddenly everyone has an opinion.

I am curious though: is anyone in the right here? Is it an act of foolish aggression, as the Foreign Secretary is saying, or is it the result of a strategic mistake on the part of Georgia? Any ideas?

The War Nerd is as callously insensitive as ever, but suggests that Georgia started it:

There are three basic facts to keep in mind about the smokin’ little war in Ossetia:

1. The Georgians started it.
2. They lost.
3. What a beautiful little war!

For me, the most important is #3, the sheer beauty of the video clips that have already come out of this war. I’m in heaven right now.

On the other hand, David Miliband, UK Foreign Secretary is saying that the Georgians were provoked:

Since the early 1990s the frozen conflicts of South Ossetia and Abkhazia have been the subject of international mediation aimed at peaceful resolution. In the first week of August South Ossetian provocation prompted a Georgian military response.

So who do you trust to be correct – a shady Internet personality, or a high-ranking British politician?

[The Exiled analysis via Ken MacLeod]

Is it time the print media stopped printing?

newspapersAn article on the Business Week website suggests that some of the bigger American newspapers should stop printing physical copies and withdraw to publishing solely on the web – maybe not right away, but within the next year or two. It’s hardly a new suggestion, but it’s gaining more weight as time goes by – the logistics and overheads of print media are making it a tricky business in which to make a profit, and we’re consuming more media online all the time. The UK’s Guardian already lets you download the latest editions in PDF form, to print or not as you choose. How long will it be before all periodical publications are electronic? [Print Is Dead]