Thursday, January 29, 2009

the kids were all right

Go here for a New Yorker think piece on running a non-profit newspaper on an endowment -- reminiscent of an idea for the news media of the future that a couple of my intro students dreamed up last quarter.

Such a good idea. If only we could make it work.... Uh, why not?!

From the essay:
It has been very painful to watch papers like the [Washington] Post offer buyouts to dozens of talented journalists at the height of their powers while shutting overseas bureaus and even entire sections of the paper. Not to pick on any one institution, but, from a constitutional perspective, how did we end up in a society where Williams College has (or had, before September) an endowment well in excess of one billion dollars, while the Washington Post, a fountainhead of Watergate and so much other skeptical and investigative reporting critical to the republic’s health, is in jeopardyĆ I’m sure that Williams-generated nostalgia in the emotional lives of wealthy people is hard to overestimate, but still …
And later:
The typical spend rate for endowed nonprofits is in the five-percent range. If the Washington Post had a two billion dollar endowment, it would be able to fund a very healthy newsroom. And this is before revenue from continuing operations—advertising, circulation, etc., which could surely cover at least the cost of distribution and overhead, particularly if the form of delivery is increasingly digital. Two billion dollars, by the way, represents something in the neighborhood of five per cent of Warren Buffett’s net worth, the last I knew that figure. (Buffett is a director of the Washington Post Company and one of the great public-minded businessmen of his age, although my impression is that, as someone who is so talented at making money, he is congenitally unhappy about giving it away—so he has asked his friend Bill Gates to do it for him).

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

riddle me this, blogman

When is a blogger not a journalist? Go here to read all about McCain blogger Michael Goldfarb, who refers to himself as a journalist.

But clearly, is not. Or he plays by different rules. bk

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

another digital model: $19.95 reports that U.S. News & World Report is launching a digital newsweekly. U.S. News Weekly will pop into your inbox in pdf form each week for an annual subcription price of $19.95. what you download will be a page-by-page digital magazine in terms of layout, photos and copy, complete with cover and TOC.

Might this be a model that could help bail out the j. biz?

From the Portfolio article:
"A one-year subscription will cost $19.95 (although subscribers to U.S. News & World Report will be able to download it for free). 'This is what every editor's trying to figure out right now -- how can I pay my reporters to do reporting?' says [editor Brian] Kelly. 'You've got to figure out a way where, on some level, the consumer is going to pay for some type of content." ...

"The upside for the readers, he notes, is that they're only paying for content -- and not for the expense of shipping and printing. And because there's no need to budget time for those processes, U.S. News Weekly will have near-instantaneous turnaround: The magazine will close on Thursday night and be made available at noon on Friday."

Sunday, January 25, 2009

on interviewing. and other stuff.

This is mainly (but not only) for the mag class:

Go here for a thoughtful look at the tricky ethics of the Q-and-A by Clark Hoyt, the public editor of The New York Times. Make you uncomfortable?

Go here and here for some background info on Gary Smith, whose work we will be discussing this week. The first is a piece by Marketwatch's Jon Friedman, who writes that smith is the journalist he would most like to meet. The second is a Q-and-A with Smith posted on Mediabistro. You can also read more about him via a search on jlinx.

Go here for a link to a compelling obit for Studs Terkel, who died this past fall, and who is the master of the oral history. Go here for a sample oral history (you can find others, from several of his other books, thanks to amazon online reader) from "American Dreams: Lost and Found".

If you need a refresher on John Sawatsky's interviewing techniques, go here.

And finally, to continue the riff on Cecile's micro-discussion from Friday: where does a journalist draw the line when it comes to either rescuing a source or observing illegal activity? When do you step in -- or do you? This question could certainly apply to Adrian Nicole LeBlanc's "Trina and Trina", yeah? Comments? bk

Friday, January 23, 2009

you had to be there, Part II

The second part of the speech, both thanks to a staffer's cell phone. (scroll down for Part I)

you had to be there, part I

President Obama's speech to his campaign staff at the Obama for America Staff Ball at the DC Armory on Wednesday night:

Thursday, January 22, 2009

"in the face of doubt, openness prevails"

A great day for America was followed by a great day for journalists:

Pro Publica reports that one of our new president's actions on his first day of work was to issue an order that essentially rolls back the restrictions on the Freedom of Information Act put in place by John Ashcroft, former attorney general under GWB, back in 2001.

From the president's directive (you can download the pdf from Pro Publica):
"A democracy requires accountability, and accountability requires transparency. As Justice Louis Brandeis wrote, "sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants." In our democracy, the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), which encourages accountability through transparency, is the most prominent expression of a profound national commitment to ensuring an open Government. At the heart of that commitment is the idea that accountability is in the interest of the Government and the citizenry alike.

"The Freedom of Information Act should be administered with a clear presumption: In the face of doubt, openness prevails. The Government should not keep information confidential merely because public officials might be embarrassed by disclosure, because errors and failures might be revealed, or because of speculative or abstract fears. Nondisclosure should never be based on an effort to protect the personal interests of Government officials at the expense of those they are supposed to serve. In responding to requests under the FOIA, executive branch agencies (agencies) should act promptly and in a spirit of cooperation, recognizing that such agencies are servants of the public.

"All agencies should adopt a presumption in favor of disclosure, in order to renew their commitment to the principles embodied in FOIA, and to usher in a new era of open Government. The presumption of disclosure should be applied to all decisions involving FOIA.

"The presumption of disclosure also means that agencies should take affirmative steps to make information public. They should not wait for specific requests from the public. All agencies should use modern technology to inform citizens about what is known and done by their Government. Disclosure should be timely."

Monday, January 19, 2009

come on up for the rising

Get yourself ready for tomorrow: Go here for a video put together by the Pennsylvania campaign for change.

Don't forget the Kleenex. bk

Saturday, January 17, 2009

and more.

Jack forwards this piece about the possible demise of the Tucson Citizen, owned by Gannett. The paper gave him his start in journalism and has been publishing continually since 1870, some 40 years before Arizona became a state.

Be sure to read the comments, which are not only creepy, but show a thorough lack of understanding of what journalism is all about.

On a better note, Max forwards this link to Talking Points Memo, which in turn quotes a reader who sees a possible silver lining in the cascade of newspaper bankruptcies: namely that the survivors will return to the original purpose of the press. They'll be in it for the news, not the money.

And finally, in what looks to be a pricey display of hope over reality, the San Francisco Chronicle (currently losing some million bucks a week) will unveil a spiffy new printing press this spring, during its "144 days of surprises" to celebrate its 144-year anniversary. Go figure. bk

Friday, January 16, 2009

goin' poachin'

This is the way the HuffPo rolls, writes Michael Miner of the Chicago Reader: Give us your work, we'll give you exposure. But not, unfortunately, money.

Or publish something somewhere, and we'll link to it, along with a clever riff. But we won't pay for that, either.

But it's not just the HuffPo, it's most blogs. (Ahem) And most of them have only the tiniest fraction of HuffPo's readers.

Makes you wonder: Why are so many writers willing to work for free? Why can bloggers (ahem again) get away with poaching -- even though they call it aggregation? And, as someone smart once mused, don't people who know what they are doing do it better when they are paid to do it?

Or have we decided that all you need to call yourself a journalist -- is a day job.

If the HuffPo is the future of journalism, fine. It's smart and entertaining. But if the HuffPo model is the future, maybe not so much. bk

Thursday, January 15, 2009

the monitor goes web-only

Go here ( to listen to John Yemma, the editor of The Christian Science Monitor, on Fresh Air with Terry Gross. He talks about the paper's new business/publishing model as the paper goes online only during the week, with a print edition on weekends only.

He also discusses web-first journalism, and how that will significantly change the look, feel and interaction of the website. He predicts stories will be shorter, some will be faster, others will be "bloggier." And there will be traditional, longer stories, too.

He also predicts that to meet cost targets, the Monitor, one of the country's most well-respected papers, may have to decrease staff by 10 percent. Still, he says, the Monitor will retain its large stable of international correspondents.

He also addresses the big issue, prompted by a question from Terry Gross: who will pay for the news? And what will happen if no one does? bk

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

scare quotes

Or should I have written "scare quotes" in quotes?

Go here for a great piece in The New Republic on the Wall Street Journal's use of quotation marks to imply skepticism or disdain or, as senior editor Jonathan Chait puts it, when "an editorial whips itself into a frenzy of scare-quoting that can be halted only by the physical limitations of the printed newspage."

Quotation marks mine. Used legitimately. bk

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

so is THIS the new media?

If you weren't confused before about the future of journalism, you will be now:

Just when we thought the journalism biz was heading digital, with no turning back, Wired reports that a startup called The Printed Blog will launch a twice-daily print newspaper that aggregates a selection of ... blogs.

Another way of looking at it: Just when we thought the blogosphere was driving newspapers out of business, along comes a plan to make money off blogs by delivering them on paper. Weird. I mean, Wired. From the article:

“'Why hasn’t anyone tried to take the best content and bring it offline?' said [founder and former business productivity software entrepreneur Joshua] Karp, who thinks print media is far from dying.

“'[For] people around the world, who need to and want to consume information, whether it be in developing countries or emerging countries, newsprint is still going to be a main mechanism for information for years to come,' he said.

"The hope is that the hyperlocal content will attract local advertisers who can spend less to reach out to their target audience. Ads are relatively cheap in comparison ($15-$25) and the paper has already lined up a number of Chicago-based businesses for its debut. It will also host classified ads.

"The first issue is expected to launch on Jan. 27, handed out at three CTA stations around Lincoln Park and Wicker Park in Chicago and one location in San Francisco. A New York edition is due out shortly."

Monday, January 12, 2009

on the age of gigonomics...

Read this: Tina Brown, of The Daily Beast, writes (uh, blogs?) about the "gig economy".

Having been a freelancer for many years, I assume I should take offense that Brown equates freelancing with streetcorner hustling. But, really, she makes a number of good points, many tied to the flailing economy --

"My own anecdotal evidence among friends is now borne out by an exclusive poll conducted last week by The Daily Beast and Penn, Schoen & Berland Associates. Five hundred employed U.S. citizens aged 18 and over were interviewed via the Internet on January 8 and 9.

"A full one-third of our respondents are now working either freelance or in two jobs. And nearly one in two of them report taking on additional positions during the last six months.

"Just as startling, these new alternative workers are not overwhelmingly low-income. They’re college-educated Americans who earn more than $75,000 a year.

"Welcome to the age of Gigonomics."

She also addresses an issue that, clearly, can apply to a new class of reporters-sans-paychecks, who are forced to hustle for assignments at slave wages -- especially online -- and say thank you for the offer. Hmmmmmm, you gotta wonder how much The Daily Beast pays. bk

further adventures of joe the plumber ...

... or why we need professionals to do the job.

read this and weep.

go here for the youtube clip which, for some reason I can't upload. at least right now. listen to what he has learned today. bk

Saturday, January 10, 2009

RIP Seattle Post-Intelligencer (1863-2009)

From a long-time Seattle resident:

RIP Seattle Post-Intelligencer (1863-2009)
by Anonymous

Despite the years of circulation losses, the Joint Operating Agreement with the Seattle Times, the successive rounds of layoffs and all the hand-wringing an over-involved community could muster, it was a shock to the city to hear that the Seattle Post-Intelligencer is about to be put to sleep. The Hearst Corporation, which owns it, announced yesterday that they were putting the paper up for sale for sixty days. Hearst does not expect to sell it, but is merely undertaking a formality which the JOA process requires before they can pull the plug. The last number published will probably be around April.

It is very sad for a literate community like Seattle to see a daily newspaper a quarter-century older than the state fold. This is true despite the fact that the P-I has for many years been a thin, miserable excuse for a newspaper. By far the brightest light left on the huge, iconic P-I globe is Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist David Horsey. Most of the other journalists remaining are those who could not find other jobs or refused to relocate to other cities.

Hearst, which bought the P-I in 1921, used its voice about as irresponsibly as it has its other regional dialects. In 1936 the P-I battered the Newspaper Guild into submission, using its own pages to tar its employees. In 1942 it beat a jingoistic tattoo to march the large and loyal Japanese-American community off to internment camps. In the '60's and '70's it became a wholly owned subsidiary of Dan Evans' and Slade Gorton's Republican state machine; its support for the GOP candidates was crucial to their success because on local issues and national elections the P-I was considered more liberal than the cross-town rival Seattle Times.

So now Seattle, in which more books are bought per capita than all but a handful of American cities, will have only one newspaper. Maybe none- the Times has been so badly managed over the past thirty years that its financial position is now tenuous. Any debate over the P-I's future in recent years would soon hear a counterpoint of speculation that the Times might fall first. Now having the JOA off its back and the P-I gone may not be enough to save the Times, which has lost 20% of its circulation in one of the fastest-growing areas in the country. Microsoft, Adobe, RealNetworks and the other high-tech empires in the Seattle area are teeming with young, affluent employees who get their news online.

Hearst, at the end, once more demonstrated the class that has made it what it is today. Instead of coming to Seattle and giving its longtime employees the news in person, Hearst management sent them an email.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

on the other hand:

Jeremy forwards this link to The Biz Blog on that provides counterpoint to Hirschorn's piece, especially wrt his math. bk

further signs of the end of times reports that:

Joe the Plumber will become a war correspondent, heading to Israel to interview "average Joes" for conservative website

And there are insider rumors that Anna Wintour, she of Vogue and/or Devil Wears Prada fame, may be in the running for an appointment in the Obama administration... as an ambassador?

Crazy talk. bk

the end of the Times as we know it?

Writing in The Atlantic, Michael Hirschorn discusses what could happen if the The New York Times runs out of money in May. Stuff to think about.

Among the scenarios, going completely digital, Hirschorn writes, which could mean the end of a ritual for many American purists. In addition, he writes, "... it will seriously damage the press’s ability to serve as a bulwark of democracy. Internet purists may maintain that the Web will throw up a new pro-am class of citizen journalists to fill the void, but for now, at least, there’s no online substitute for institutions that can marshal years of well-developed sourcing and reporting experience—not to mention the resources to, say, send journalists leapfrogging between Mumbai and Islamabad to decode the complexities of the India-Pakistan conflict."

The problem is in the numbers. While some 20 million readers catch the NYT online, as compared to about a million for the print edition, the latter pay to read. And they are worth significantly more to advertisers who will pay handsomely to play in print -- but not so much on the Web. The result, Hirschorn predicts, is that if the paper were to go completely digital, revenues would decrease such that it might have to reduce its staff by 80 percent.

Here's how he envisions the endpoint:

"... would begin to resemble a bigger, better, and less partisan version of the Huffington Post, which, until someone smarter or more deep-pocketed comes along, is the prototype for the future of journalism: a healthy dose of aggregation, a wide range of contributors, and a growing offering of original reporting. This combination has allowed the HuffPo to digest the news that matters most to its readers at minimal cost, while it focuses resources in the highest-impact areas. What the HuffPo does not have, at least not yet, is a roster of contributors who can set agendas, conduct in-depth investigations, or break high-level news. But the post-print Times still would.

"Clearly, over the short run, there would be a culling of the journalistic herd. If 80 percent of The Times staff ends up laid off, many of them won’t find their way to new reporting jobs. But over the long run, a world in which journalism is no longer weighed down by the need to fold an omnibus news product into a larger lifestyle-tastic package might turn out to be one in which actual reportage could make the case for why it matters, and why it might even be worth paying for. The best journalists will survive, and eventually thrive. Some will be snapped up by an expanding HuffPo (which is raising millions while its print competitors tank) and by the inevitable competitors that will spring up to imitate its business model, or even by smaller outlets, like Talking Points Memo, which have found that keeping their overhead low allows them to profit from high-quality journalism. And some will succeed as independent operators. Figures like Thomas Friedman, Paul Krugman, and Andrew Ross Sorkin (the editor of the DealBook business blog, which has been a cash cow for The Times) would be worth a great deal on the open market. For them and others, the bracing experience of becoming “brands of one” could prove intoxicating, and perhaps more profitable than fighting as part of a union for an extra percentage-point raise in their next contract."

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

some dreamers of the golden dream

For those in the mag class who were lured by the passage I read in class today, and want to read more, here's a link to this classic piece of New Journalism.

As you read, listen for Didion's voice, look for the tiny, concrete details she uses to evoke the sense of place, and think what the story is really about -- not the murder of a husband, perhaps, but possibly the death of a dream?

Enjoy. bk

why we need the local press

Again from CJR: this piece about the coverage of the New Year's Eve bomb threat in Aspen, Colorado -- and it's coverage by the Aspen Times.

As the town was evacuated, the main source of information for both the community and the outside press about what was going on came from the two Aspen papers, which updated the story as it evolved, posting police updates and press conferences on their websites. And when the perpetrator was identified as a local character, the reporters could rely on years of institutional memory -- calling on sources and experience "to explain how a local boy, fascinated with the mining history of this old mountain town, came to hate what Aspen had become and his own failure to capitalize on it."

But here's the irony:

"... the bomb threat story broke on a day in which The Aspen Times had featured a front-page letter to readers about the current threat to the survival of local newspapers, including many in surrounding Rocky Mountain towns. Publisher Jenna Weatherred wrote that the paper’s owner, Colorado Mountain News Media Company, had decided to close three of its local papers and that the Aspen paper was undergoing considerable changes as well, including cutting staff by nearly twenty percent, reducing the number of papers it distributes, and—starting this week—eliminating its Sunday paper, the least profitable edition."

Thanks for the link to Katie Redding, who on the downside had to give up her New Year's Eve to cover the story, but on the upside -- got to cover the sory

on sports journalism

CJR posts this piece on what's gone wrong in sports journalism -- and how to make it right.

I especially like the following passage, which could be applied to journalism in general as newstypes transform themselves, by trial and error, in the digital age:

"... But here is a typical scenario that illustrates the problem for newspaper sports sections. Beat writers covering a baseball game see a player strain a hamstring. Immediately they are all on their BlackBerries posting an item about the injury and how the batting order was just changed. Something must be posted! Any writer who misses the tidbit will be called on it by his or her editor. But everyone has the same information; no one “scoops” anyone. So why not wait and weave that tidbit into the game story? The reporter would have the chance to go to the locker room and ask questions, talk to the manager about the change in strategy after the injury—to add context and nuance and narrative. These days, that sort of insight is too often lost. “If I were the editor,” says ESPN’s Buster Olney, who also blogs, “I would say, ‘Don’t worry about beating the seven other papers on the hamstring story; focus on developing your thousand-word game story. Remember the great writing you loved as a kid? Write it up like that.’”

"Tim McGuire, a former editor and senior vice president of the Minneapolis Star Tribune who now teaches the business of journalism at Arizona State University, says newspaper management is showing a lack of leadership. 'It’s a mission problem. The reporters are doing too much, and they’re confused about their mission,' he says. 'We’re pouring the same news on people that they can get anywhere.' What’s needed, McGuire says, is for newspapers to play to their strengths. Make statistical information readily available on newspaper Web sites, of course, but it’s time for narrative storytelling and vividly written game stories to make a comeback—because journalists know how to weave tales, put events in context, and act as intermediaries to the firehose of information on the Web. Most bloggers don’t have that skill or, more important, that mission.'"

Thanks, Melissa! (BTW, be sure to read to the end to catch a line about the lengths the infamous Hunter Thompson went to in order to cover sports. Gonzo journalism was about a lot more than HST. Which may be something that's lost in the blogosphere...) bk

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

what mag journalism is all about

Again as promised, here's a link to a killer investigative piece I came across this summer. It's by Craig Malisow, who writes for the Houston Press, an alternative weekly. Great reporting, compelling story, and detailed, concrete writing that does what good writing should: catch you with the first sentence so that you have to read the next. And the next. And the one after that. Before you know it, you're hooked.

Not just on the story, but on wanting to do this kind of work yourself.

Just to make sure you clink on the link, let me tempt you with the head and deck:

What Mainstream Publishers Don't Want You to Know About Door-to-Door Magazine Sales

That kid at your door with a magazine order form will tell you a story -- part sad, part hopeful. The truth will be infinitely worse than you can imagine.

readability ability

For the mag class ... or anyone else, actually.

As promised, here's the formula for the Gunning Fog Index, which tells you the number of years of school someone would need to have completed to comprehend a given piece of prose -- or, for that matter, a speech or lecture:

1. Count off a block of 100 words. Count # of sentences, including any at least half contained in that block of words. Calculate sentence length by dividing the number of sentences into 100.
2. Count # wds with three or more syllables. Do not include names, easy compound words or verbs that have 3 syllables because of endings. Calculate the percentage of "difficult" words by dividing the total by 100.
3. Add the results of 1 and 2. Multiply that sum by .4 Your total will give you the approximate grade level a reader would need to have attained to understand the passage.

You may be surprised if you apply the formula to some of the stuff you normally read. Or to this blog. In any event, it's a good little tool to help you determine audience, on one hand, and how to reach said audience, on the other. Cheers. bk

Monday, January 5, 2009

more on mags

should i(t) stay or should i(t) go, redux.

Here's a chart of the decline in ad pages in most national mags over the past year. What it means or whether or not it indicates anything other than that the economy is in the tank, can't say... bk

New year, new quarter...

Welcome back!

(always more than one side to the story, yeah?)

Friday, January 2, 2009

connect-the-dots on digital journalism

Right, I'm starting the new year by cleaning the proverbial closet.... and breaking a lot of blogging rules.


I have been intending to post these linx to several articles that, when taken together, might give us a little more insight as to where journalism is headed. Or maybe not. Good reads, anyhow.

Erin Rosa, who's been a reporter for five years, writes in Columbia Journalism Review, that she finds new media to be alive with new opportunities. She writes: "For young reporters like me, the Internet is the primary medium for news content, and it is already leading to a new and inclusive form of journalism rooted in public participation. Although cynics like to say that the craft is a dead end for both young reporters and veteran writers alike, I think it’s an exciting time to be a journalist."

Also from CJR comes this excellent enterprise piece by Bree Nordenson on the information overload that is the product of today's mediascape. Information is everywhere, ours for the asking. Corralling it, however, is one of the problems. As Nordenson tells us, rather than yielding an American public that is more informed, research has shown that in the face of too much information, the reverse is true.

From the piece: “The tragedy of the news media in the information age is that in their struggle to find a financial foothold, they have neglected to look hard enough at the larger implications of the new information landscape—and more generally, of modern life. How do people process information? How has media saturation affected news consumption? What must the news media do in order to fulfill their critical role of informing the public, as well as survive? If they were to address these questions head on, many news outlets would discover that their actions thus far—to increase the volume and frequency of production, sometimes frantically and mindlessly—have only made things more difficult for the consumer."

This one is for Lotta: A year-old media bistro interview with NYU journalism prof Adam Penenberg, who talks about achieving the balance between digital skills and journalism fundamentals, when it comes to j-school. In response to a question about how citizen journalism and blogging are changing journalism, he replies:

"Citizen journalism certainly has its place. After the bombings in Spain, witnesses posted pictures and blog entries within minutes. NY 1, our local news station, solicited pictures of a tornado that ran through Brooklyn, and posted some of them from their viewers. This is all a tremendous addition to journalism. But it won't replace journalists or journalism. Most blogging is analytical by nature. It is symbiotic to the news media it loves to hate. Without the news -- which someone has to go out and get -- there wouldn't be much material for bloggers to mull. So little blogging actually breaks news, it merely amplifies what already exists. I don't say this as a criticism. I think it's wonderful that news consumers can share their insights and criticisms of media with their own readerships. But bloggers won't replace journalists, just like TV news reporters didn't replace print journalists.

"It takes an enviable amount of skill and experience to write a truly good magazine feature or tight news article. They offer an experience you simply can't replicate on a blog. You can ask a bevy of people to act as citizen journalists to research a story, but that doesn't mean that the information will be good. And let's face it: few of us have the luxury of working for free. I can assure you that I do far better work when I am being paid than if I'm doing it pro bono. How about you?"

And finally, an oldie but goodie from Eric Alterman, writing in the Nation on the future of journalism in the digital age. The article predates jlinx -- he wrote the piece six months ago. It was pretty depressing at the time. Since then, things have only gotten worse.

Love his lead: "Spend some time on the "future of news" conference circuit, as I have recently, and believe me, you'll need a drink and perhaps a Prozac. The flight of readers and advertisers to the web has led to an unprecedented assault on stockholder value, making newspapers the investment equivalent of slow-motion seppuku."

Seppuku? Look it up. bk

whither the watchdogs...

While i was in the midst of the holiday blitz, Jack sent me this link to a piece in the New York Times about the ever-shrinking number of news bureaus in Washington, D.C.

Finally got around to posting it. It's an old story, but one that grows worse by the week. One of the sources in the piece is Representative Kevin Brady, a Republican from the Houston area, who has seen his hometown paper's staff in Washington drop from nine to three in two three people, from nine, in two years. “From an informed public standpoint, it’s alarming,” he said. “They’re letting go those with the most institutional knowledge, which helps reporters hold elected officials accountable.”

As Jack says, "you know when a republican from texas laments the press leaving,
you're in trouble."

From the story, by Richard Perez-Pena:

"The times may be news-rich, but newspapers are cash-poor, facing their direst financial straits since the Depression. Racing to cut costs as they lose revenue, most have decided that their future lies in local news, not national or international events. That has put a bull’s-eye on expensive Washington bureaus.

"Albert R. Hunt, Washington executive editor at Bloomberg News, said he was taken aback by the mood Saturday night at a dinner of the Washington press corps’ Gridiron Club. 'It was like being at a wake,' he said. 'Every time you turned around, someone was talking about their bureau being closed or downsized.'

"A few years ago, after much debate, the club began to admit magazine and television reporters. Now, without them, 'there couldn’t be a Gridiron Club,' Mr. Hunt said. 'You couldn’t get enough newspaper people.'”

happy new year....

I originally thought I'd commemorate the new year by reflecting on all I've learned about blogging since i started, well, blogging.

One thing I've learned is that what a blog turns out to be has very little resemblance to what it started to be, at least in the case of jlinx.

But I digress. The second thing I learned about blogging is that when you're linking your way around cyberspace, you run into a lot of random stuff, purely by accident. Such as this post, entitled "1000 things I've learned about blogging."

Apparently, my work is done.

The entire blog, written primarily by a journalism prof from the UK, is pretty cool. Be sure to check out the posts on the future of journalism, as well as the continuing list of "things I've learned..." by clicking on the twitter link.

cheers. bk