The Online Journalism Blog has been running the results of a survey of journalists about the impact of new media on their profession. In its fifth installment, the site asks how “blogging has affected what happens after news is ‘published/broadcast.” To their credit, journalists are going with the flow. “After the story goes up, instead of moving onto the next idea I’ll spend time answering reader questions and comments,” says a 26-year-old Australian journalist, reflecting the words of several colleagues. As we’ve noted in past entries, the Web has flipped the model of publishing. In the old days, publishing was the end of a process; today, it’s the beginning. Once a story is published, it’s subject to enhancement, analysis, commentary and updates. Journalists need to be ready for the likelihood that they may be called upon to revise and develop a story long after it’s been published. It’s the Wikipedia model gone mainstream. Stories never die as long as there’s some who’s still interested in them.
Columnist Dan Walters of the Sacramento Bee laments the loss of veteran reporters from Capitol Hill bureaus. While he’s impressed that some smaller papers have kept their Washington corps intact, he says the survivors miss the expertise of people like recently retired San Diego Union-Tribune reporter Ed Mendel, who had more than 30 years of experience covering the budget. The Capitol press corps is a group of friendly competitors, Walters notes. The most experienced members are the first to have their heads on the chopping block because of their high salaries. But those veterans are also the ones who raise the level of performance for everyone else on the Hill. Fortunately, there are glimmers of hope in cases like that of the UCLA daily newspaper reporter who “blew the lid off insider dealing at the School of Dentistry, which was giving coveted orthodontics residencies to major donors and their relatives.”
The Baltimore Sun’s John McIntyre sounds off on the increasingly popular option of outsourcing editing tasks to offshore body shops. “Imagine…that General Motors and Ford, fighting desperately to reverse their plummeting sales and stock values, concluded that it would be smart to save money by eliminating the quality control function. Think they’d wind up selling more cars?” he asks. There is truth in his argument. Recall the last time your call to customer service was answered by someone with an Indian accent. Was that a more positive experience than speaking to someone who shared your culture and values? Maybe it was. We’re just saying… We’re reminded of an item we posted last week about an experiment at the UK’s Sunday Express, which has started letting some reporters post their stories directly to print, leading to some horrific gaffes. Newspaper credibility is at an all-time low in the US. Tolerating typos, inconsistencies and stupid mistakes won’t make them any more credible.
The anonymous blogger at Newspaper Biz says the trend toward big newspapers cancelling their AP subscriptions is the road to mutual suicide. Now’s the time for newspapers to leverage the AP’s status as a cooperative to fight mutual foes like Google, which make money by stealing content, he argues. We’re not so sure a lot of newspaper publishers would agree.
Huffington Post’s Jack Myers reports on recent comments by TiVo president Tom Rogers to a group of TV executives in which he predicted that the coming implosion of TV advertising will make the newspaper industry crisis look like child’s play. “Probably two-thirds of homes or more that advertisers care about reaching will be fast forwarding the majority of television ads,” he said. With 3.5 million DVRs in the market today, Rogers should know. He says there are plenty of ways advertisers can reach DVR users, such as presenting messages when a viewer is about to delete a program or – horror of horrors – actually producing messages that viewers want to consume. Not surprisingly, he believes TiVo can be their ally because the service, which has been one of the worst things ever to happen to the television industry, knows so much about viewer behavior. He also quoted The New York Times as saying that actual TV viewership is 40% to 60% higher for some programs when DVR viewership is factored in.
The accountants taketh away, but they also giveth back. This quarter, the giving was to McClatchy, which swung to a profit of $4.2 million because of an accounting change. A year ago, the company lost $1.3 billion in the same quarter, also because of bookkeeping gymnastics. The most telling number is in the revenues: down 16%.
The Waterloo Courier will move printing operations to a bigger press in Cedar Rapids, causing the layoff of 52 employees at its current printer. The news was reported in the fifth paragraph of a story titled “Courier moves printing operations” next to an enormous photo of an unidentified balding man. Please post a comment naming this person if you can, because his forehead overwhelms the lead. Also note the many comments that have already been posted on the story, most of them savaging the Courier for moving jobs out of town. It appears that deliver is already a problem in Waterloo, and most commenters can’t believe the 50-mile truck ride will improve things, particularly in snow.
The Dayton Daily News will lay off less than 10% of its 120-person workforce. Specific numbers weren’t released pending union negotiations.
The Los Angeles Times hasn’t formally announced a new round of layoffs, but LA Observed says the axe has already fallen selectively. The website posts a memo from the head of circulation reading, “Yesterday was a tough day . . . 31 of our co-workers are no longer part of the circulation team.” There are rumors of much bigger cuts coming. The site also reports that Sam Zell is sniffing around the Orange County Register and the San Diego Union-Tribune, apparently believing that his employees’ retirement funds aren’t yet leveraged enough.
This entry was posted on Wednesday, October 22nd, 2008 at 9:24 pm and is filed under Business News, Future of Journalism, Journalism, Layoffs, NewMedia, Newspapers. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.