Unrequired Reading {24.11.08 to 25.11.08}

November 25, 2008

These are some of the things that have caught my atten­tion lately. It’s a more eclectic mix than just the news busi­ness, but then so’s life:

  • Tom Gish, a rural news­pa­per editor who made a dif­fer­ence | Howard Owens — A while back I read a book titled Man­aging News­pa­per Cor­res­pond­ents.  In the defin­i­tion of the book, a cor­res­pond­ent was a house wife or farmer or soci­ety lady who sent in a weekly column of “loc­als” to his or her news­pa­per. This 1941 book said there were 250,000 news­pa­per cor­res­pond­ents in Amer­ica at the time. I often won­der, what happened to them all?
  • One exec’s savvy take on the news biz | Reflec­tions of a News­o­saur — “Eighty-six per­cent of the cost of the news­pa­per busi­ness is print, paper, dis­tri­bu­tion, and pro­mo­tion. That’s unten­able long-term and short-term…. If you attack the prob­lem and solve it, you then make news­pa­pers a much more eco­nomic advert­ising venue. Right now, that infra­struc­ture sets the floor. That makes news­pa­pers uncompetitive.”
  • Fox Ends Saturday-Morning Car­toons | NYTimes.com — Anim­ated pap moves to cable: “Fox net­work closed down its Sat­urday morn­ing block of car­toons on Monday, and became the first major broad­cast net­work to agree to sell a part of its sched­ule to pro­du­cers of infomercials.

    Fox exec­ut­ives said that children’s pro­gram­ming was simply no longer viable on net­work tele­vi­sion — mainly because of com­pet­i­tion from cable channels.”

  • Journalism.co.uk :: What Meyer didn’t say: a speech ignor­ing the real short­com­ings of press self-regulation — “Had press self-regulation per­formed its role effect­ively then we would not have the incre­mental devel­op­ment of a pri­vacy law based on Art­icle 8 of the Human Rights Act. Had the PCC taken action in recent cases of inac­cur­ate news­pa­per cov­er­age, then we may not have yet another DCMS inquiry about press stand­ards, only 18 months after the last.

    Even now the PCC has not examined the press’ cov­er­age of the dis­ap­pear­ance of Madeleine McCann.”

  • Media futures: where’s the crit­ical think­ing? | Howard Weaver — Seth Godin, mar­keter — meet Howard Weaver, editor.
  • News­pa­pers Seek New Busi­ness Plan — ArkansasBusiness.com — “It’s not that Huss­man hates the Inter­net; he just hasn’t found a model for mon­et­iz­ing the medium as effect­ively as a print product, he said.

    An advert­iser want­ing space in a Wehco paper might pay between $20 and $40 per 1,000 cop­ies, depend­ing on the ad, Huss­man said. A com­par­able ban­ner or pop-up ad on the Inter­net gen­er­ates less than $1 per 1,000 page views, Huss­man said.

    The prob­lem is not traffic. You get mil­lions of people who go to look at news­pa­per Web sites every day,” Huss­man said. “The prob­lem is the fact that you can’t get $1 a thou­sand for it because there are mil­lions of people out there selling that advert­ising. So there’s an over­sup­ply of sellers, which drives down the price, and it’s not effect­ive, so people don’t want to pay for it.”

  • Blog­ging at a Snail’s Pace | NYTimes.com — Mr. Siel­ing, the writer of the Slow Blog Mani­festo, gave up his per­sonal blog because he felt no one was read­ing it. “I called it the Robin­son Cru­soe feel­ing of blog­ging,” he said by e-mail, “and I think it’s common.”
  • A scen­ario for news | BuzzMa­chine — “The essen­tial func­tions of journ­al­ism — report­ing, watch­ing, shar­ing, answer­ing, explain­ing — and its ver­it­ies — fac­tu­al­ness, com­plete­ness, fair­ness, timeli­ness, rel­ev­ance — are eternal, but the means of per­form­ing them are mul­tiply­ing mag­ni­fi­cently. That is why I so enjoy teach­ing journ­al­ism, because we need no longer pick a medium and its tools for a career but can select them every time we need to tell a story — and because journ­al­ism is no longer about pre­ser­va­tion (it never should have been) but is instead about change and growth.

    Could journ­al­ism die? Yes, but I have faith and optim­ism that it will sur­vive, evolve, and grow. I believe there will be a grow­ing mar­ket demand for journ­al­ism; I know there is a grow­ing need.”

  • Journ­al­ists and the information-attention mar­kets: Towards an eco­nomic the­ory of journ­al­ism, Fen­gler and Ruß-Mohl 9 (6): 667 | Journ­al­ism — In this art­icle we sug­gest eco­nomic the­ory (spe­cific­ally rational choice the­ory) as a prom­ising approach to ana­lyze the dra­matic changes journ­al­ism is cur­rently going through.

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