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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