Bylines of Brutality – IowaHawk, Jan. 17, 2008

[Satirical reporting that is also chillingly real. The author rounds up recent incidents of criminal activity by journalists and concludes that newsrooms are at risk of becoming a “killing field.” Of course, you could conduct this exercise for lawyers, accountants or plumbers and come to the same conclusion. Best line is from Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit: “I think it’s unfair to single out journalists as thieves, or violent, or drunks, or child abusers. Sometimes they’re all of the above.” The chart is amusing, too. This story is impressive for the sheer number of links to examples of real-life journalist crime. – Ed.]

What David Simon, auteur of The Wire, doesn’t (and does) understand about the newspaper business. – Slate Magazine, Jan. 22, 2008

[Jack Shafer sets out to debate David Simon but actually delivers an interesting analysis of the failure of the newspaper industry. Noting that publishers were aware as early as the 1960s that their futures were in peril, he documents the rising importance of games, comics and racing forms in the 1970s and 1980s as newspapers struggled to appeal to an increasingly disenfranchised audience. And in a bit of insight that hadn’t occurred to me, he correlates the consolidation and collapse of the department store market with the crisis in newspapers’ business models. – Ed.]

Gutted by Money Men, Chicago Newspapers Circle the Drain – Alternet, Feb. 20, 2008

[The staff cartoonist from the Evanston Roundtable writes of the collapse of the Chicago newspaper – not just the Trib and Sun-Times, but the free weeklies and advertisers as well. Some of those alternative papers practiced pretty good journalism, she says, but everything’s now been dumbed down to reach the lowest common denominator reader. There’s an interesting observation about commuter behavior that any urbanite will value: 20 or 30 years ago, you’d get on a subway train to find a wall of newspapers. Today, it’s just people talking on their cell phones. – Ed.]

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This entry was posted on Thursday, February 21st, 2008 at 8:06 am and is filed under BusinessModel, Demographics, Journalism, NewMedia, Newspapers, OnlineMedia. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

Comments Off on Fear, loathing and biting satire about the news business

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  1. February 21, 2008 @ 12:52 pm



    …seems dubious.

    To argue that The Sun lost its market in Baltimore, he cites the decline in Baltimore city population. But the surrounding Baltimore County and the outer counties of Anne Arundel, Howard, Carroll and Harford are where population rose dramatically. On the whole, the metro region — from which The Sun draws its circulation base, increased significantly in the time period cited by Shafer.

    So his premise is non-existent.

    The Sun lost readers from a larger pool of them. And the idea that newspapers were worried about losing readers in 1960? Yes, to television. But they actually weathered the maturation of TV news and The Sun increased its circulation significantly and was in a very profitable period in the 1980s and early and mid-1990s. Simon’s argument is that chain ownership merely took those profits and did not reinvest in improving the paper, which was in no better shape to withstand the challenge of the internet’s arrival. Shafer doesn’t deal with this argument in any substantive way that I can discern.

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