“An obituary does not propose a solution,” Richard Rodriguez observes toward the end of his Harper’s Magazine article, Final edition: Twilight of the American newspaper.
“When a newspaper dies in America, it is not simply that a commercial enterprise has failed; a sense of place has failed. If the San Francisco Chronicle is near death—and why else would the editors celebrate its 144th anniversary? and why else would the editors devote a week to feature articles on fog?—it is because San Francisco’s sense of itself as a city is perishing.”
If you haven’t guessed, it’s not an optimistic article, but Rodriguez tells a good story and knows how to save a special phrase for the end of a sentence…
“Newspapers have become deadweight commodities linked to other media commodities in chains that are coupled or uncoupled by accountants and lawyers and executive vice presidents and boards of directors in offices thousands of miles from where the man bit the dog and drew ink…”
Personally (and this is a blog, after all), the article makes me want to go write my own 6,000 word magazine article, mingling nostalgia for my Daily Hampshire Gazette paper route and my old Hartford Courant bureau reporting with something optimistic about the future of journalism.
But I’m too busy catching up on some real news in both those papers… It’s a fire story, of all the traditional newspaper things! And covered by both with all the latest online tools, from YouTube video to Google Maps mashups. That first link was to the Courant (est. 1764), where I saw the story yesterday; here’s the Gazette (est. 1786), and my old hometown paper does appear to be doing a good job of local reporting in a crisis.
What a nice way to wrap up our first year!
(He does say that “There is no ranking or secret formula to this list,” but it’s still nice to see our address on top of 90 equals… Makes me glad we have “AEJMC” in front of the name for alphabetical purposes.)
Are you an AEJMC Newspaper Division member with a blog, a home page, research or teaching resources, a support site for a new book, or other online materials that might interest division members? If so, use the “comment” tag on this page to post a brief description and link… Read more
This one’s not a surprise, but still, it’s disconcerting. I remember scanning its job ads eagerly in the early 1990s. Now everyone I know looks at journalismjobs.com and mediabistro.com. I guess that says it all:
Editor & Publisher, the bible of the newspaper industry and a journalism institution that traces its origins back to 1884, is ceasing publication.
An announcement, made by parent company The Nielsen Co., was made Thursday morning as staffers were informed that E&P, in both print and online, was shutting down.
I just received this email regarding what’s to become of E&P’s archival “morgue,” which — as Bob points out in his comment — clearly holds potential interest for journalism scholars. From Shawn Moynihan, E&P managing editor:
“We’ve had several people volunteer o take it off our hands, thankfully. We’re waiting on word form Nielsen about what will become of it — we have bound volumes in our morgue that go back to the late 1800s. I’ll keep you posted, we’re here through Dec. 31.”
Sounds like bidders better queue up.
By the way — couldn’t Nielson have waited until after the holidays to drop the axe?
This is the week that a bunch of major newspaper and magazine publishers announced their joint venture to create a “highly featured reading application” and “robust publishing platform” to enable all sorts of new portable digital devices, such as the much-rumored Apple tablet.
See the press release from Hearst, Condé Nast, Meredith, News Corporation and Time Inc.
Meanwhile, Time has an online video of one prototype, while News Corp. has a couple showing off another…
If the Dallas Observer is to be believed, section editors at The Dallas Morning News and other A.H. Belo properties now report to directly to sales managers, according to a memo distributed widely throughout the company Wednesday, Dec. 2.
Morning News Editor Bob Mong and Belo Vice President of Sales Cyndy Carr broadcast a memo Dec. 2 to a series of “Everyone” addresses at various A.H. Belo Corp. properties outlining the new order of things. Dallas Observer blogger Robert Wilonsky reported the administrative change in his blog entry Dec. 3. The entire memo is included in Wilonsky’s blog.
If this is indeed what the Daily Kos claims it is, this would be huge: bloggers conducting journalism — and speaking strictly personally, and not for AEJMC, I call such writers “journalists” — could stand to lose key legal protections against compelled disclosure.
In proposing a new amendment to developing federal legislation which limits the scope of media shield laws, two senators have included wording for what constitutes — and by implication, what does not constitute — a “journalist,” reports the Daily Kos. The amendment, authored by Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Dick Durbin, essentially says that if you don’t work as a salaried employee or contractor of a media enterprise, you’re something less than a journalist, at least when it comes to enjoying the privilege of shield laws.
Not surprisingly, both lefty and conservative bloggers are outraged. It seems unlikely, however, that the amendment will survive.
The language of the bill, as first reported by the blog Kos — my bolding, for there is much irony since the mainstream media missed this story – will surely strike some journalism educators as worryingly old-fashioned and narrow in its vision of journalism:
AMENDMENT NO.__ Calendar No.__
Purpose: To appropriately limit the protection from compelled disclosure.
IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES—111th Cong., 1st Sess.
To maintain the free flow of information to the public by providing conditions for the federally compelled disclo-sure of information by certain persons connected with the news media.
Referred to the Committee on ___ and ordered to be printed Ordered to lie on the table and to be printed
AMENDMENTS intended to be proposed by Mrs. F EINSTEIN (for herself and Mr. D URBIN )
In section 10(2)(A), strike clause (iii) and insert the following:
(iii) obtains the information sought while working as a salaried employee of, or independent contractor for, an entity—
(I) that disseminates information by print, broadcast, cable, satellite, mechanical, photographic, electronic, 1or other means; and
(aa) publishes a newspaper, book, magazine, or other periodical;
(bb) operates a radio or television broadcast station, network, cable system, or satellite carrier, or a channel or programming service for any such station, network, system, or carrier;
(cc) operates a programming service; or
(dd) operates a news agency or wire service;
In section 10(2)(B), strike ‘‘and’’ at the end.
In section 10(2)(C), strike the period at the end and insert ‘‘; and’’.
In section 10(2), add at the end the following:
(D) does not include an individual who gathers or disseminates the protected information sought to be compelled anonymously or under a pseudonym.
Problem is, so far, I can’t find the amended bill anywhere. Perhaps it’s already been quashed by an outcry from the “netroots.” I’ll report back when I learn more.
Here’s the amendment:
From Online Media Daily:
“The Newspaper Association of America is touting online behavioral targeting as a partial fix for the industry’s revenue woes.
“‘Targeted advertising shows significant promise for newspapers seeking new ways to support local journalism,’ the organization writes in comments filed with the Federal Trade Commission. The comments were filed in advance of this week’s FTC public workshops about media, ‘From Town Crier to Bloggers: How Will Journalism Survive the Internet Age.’”
The NAA questions the idea of regulations that would require a consumer “opt in” system for targeted ad programs. Some privacy advocates think opt-in is a good idea.
More from OMD reporter Wendy Davis: Newspaper Group Argues Against Opt-In Consent For Behavioral Targeting. Via MediaPost Publications