May 02, 2006

Small paper GETS it

My friend David Folkenflik had a great story on All Things Considered today about a small 'Bama paper called the Anniston Star that actually is going to invest in the future of journalism by training at least a dozen students in reporting. Their tuition will be paid, plus they'll receive small stipends and a boost toward their final job hunts.

Even more impressive is their support of the field by keeping the paper privately owned— forming a not-for-profit instead of selling the paper for cash and watching it get eaten by a major corporation.

Sometimes doing things the old-fashioned way makes more sense than "progress."

Posted by sedda at 06:28 PM

April 27, 2006

The business of the newspaper business

Carroll addressed ASNE in Seattle yesterday about how quickly the print industry is tanking, and why, and why it matters. It's a popular topic, but Carroll always sums things up acutely. (Found via Romanesko.)

We have seen a narrowing of the purpose of the newspaper in the eyes of its owner. Under the old local owners, a newspaper's capacity for making money was only part of its value. Today it is everything. Gone is the notion that a newspaper should lead, that it as an obligation to its community, that it is beholden to the public.

This phenomenon he illustrates is one of the main reasons I wasn't sorry when the LAT gave me the boot in a ploy for higher profit margins. Companies with this philosophy staff departments that have to live by this philosophy, even if they don't believe it themselves. The result is fewer staff, overworked staff, vicious inside politics, increasingly low morale, and often a diminishing product (albeit with occasional rays of light sparked by the kind of creativity required to accomplish Good in a limited situation).

He goes on to point out that due to capital gains tax laws, it's more advantageous for corporations to trade large companies for stock, than for an individual buyer to buy outright and get hit up with hefty tax.

Carroll recommends The Elements of Journalism, by Bill Kovach and Tom Rosenstiel, as a clarification of journalists' beliefs, in the face of impersonal corporate moneygrubbing.

By the way, have you ever wondered about the diversity of journalists and newsrooms? They aren't. A recent ASNE study puts minorities at 13.87% of newsroom staff, with one quarter of US newspapers staffed wholly by white journalists. On the upside, this is up from 3.95% in 1978. (Also via Romenesko.)

Posted by sedda at 12:04 PM

February 11, 2006


G. 's dad gave me a copy of the New Yorker with a really interesting story about Edward R. Murrow and the state of journalism today, which I enjoyed, but I also discovered a story about green card lottery winners and how their sudden fortune affects them...the story centers around a couple from Lima, Peru.

Posted by sedda at 06:12 AM

January 28, 2006

It's all about content

Interesting Jack Shafer article on Slate about how newspapers are going to have to pony up with some quality content if they want to survive. He paints an economic picture that makes a lot of sense. What I didn't know: newspaper conglomerates were kicked off by 1970s estate tax law that made it too expensive for families to own the papers any more.

Posted by sedda at 03:51 PM

November 29, 2005

Today's word: Putsch defines it as:
putsch also Putsch (pch) n. A sudden attempt by a group to overthrow a government.

Seen on LAObserved in reference to LA Times layoffs and buyouts. ...But really it's the other way around at the LAT, isn't it?

Posted by sedda at 10:42 PM