For all the talk of journalism’s noble past and uncertain future, the truth is that journalism’s day-to-day is a lot like slinging hash. Everyday journalism is produced quickly, in massive quantities, in front of a live audience.
Think Rt. 22 diner, not Le Cirque. Cheeseburger, fries, soda. Crime tape, victim, arrest. (more…)
It almost brought a tear to our eye when we came across a stirring piece in an 1880 copy of the Red Bank Register, apparently reprinted from the Burlington Hawkeye, “Iowa’s Oldest Newspaper.” Although it was written 130+ years ago, it seems more relevant…
This is without doubt the first time I’m not proud of beating the competition by a good long time:
I wouldn’t have thought much of the initial suicide call, but law enforcement shut down both sides of the highway indefinitely during the height of the evening rush. What’s more, a photo someone sent me from the scene showed what looked like 20 officers from various agencies, local and county. (more…)
When I started Baristanet, one of the first hyperlocal news sites in the country, in 2004, I didn’t realize I was starting a new industry. (more…)
The state of the news business is lousy. A week after the much-revered Boston Phoenix threw in the towel that’s hardly surprising news, but a new report from the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism is packed with statistics showing a weakened journalism profession that is losing reporting power, revenue and audience.
–Some 31 percent of respondents have reported deserting a news source because its quality has degenerated.
–Sports, weather and traffic now account for 40 percent of local TV news.
–Local TV news viewership among adults under 30 fell from 42 percent in 2006 to 28 percent in 2012.
–Mobile digital display is one of the fastest-growing ad markets, but news organizations aren’t getting much of a share. Some 72 percent of that market goes to six companies, including Facebook and Google.
–Some 63 percent of the public has little or no idea of the financial pressures facing news companies.
–At CNN, which invented the 24-hour TV news cycle, the number of produced story packages was cut in half between 2007 and 2012.
By DEBBIE GALANT
Cory Booker is reinventing the future of media in America and that future is … Portlandia. Or perhaps, Williamsburgia. His new video-sharing platform #waywire, an upstart competitor to YouTube with $1.75 million in backing, is a world where hipsters look for the funniest-sounding town in America and see what’s tweeting there. Today, that’s Soddy-Daisy, TN, where #waywire’s #TweetTap team uncovered the nugget of Americana that is a Walmart parking lot barbecue.
Booker’s new video sharing platform #waywire was in the news this week for naming a 14-year-old to its board of advisors, falling prey to anti-Semetic video posts, and being talked about at SXSW, at least by the mayor himself, who was also a headliner.
By DEBBIE GALANT
In his latest blog post, “Hyperlocal Cooties,” Jeff Jarvis frets that recent retrenchment by Carll Tucker’s Daily Voice and staff cuts at Patch might make people give up on the concept of hyperlocal. He offers a post mortem on many of the “cootied corpses” of failed hyperlocal, from BackFence to Everyblock, and acknowledges a maxim that most independent hyperlocals have espoused for years: “Maybe the truth is that hyperlocal won’t scale. One entity won’t own thousands of towns and their sites because the successful site is very much a part of the community.”
Hyperlocal may not scale, or make anybody rich — but Jarvis believes it can succeed when very dedicated journalists set them up in their own communities. And he wants to see way way more. (more…)
By DEBBIE GALANT
As is often the case, TV’s satirists — Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, Seth Meyers — do a better job of getting to the truth of things than those of us actually practicing journalism. A few weeks ago, it was Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein who managed this with their satirical sketch about the Portland Tribune being sold to an internet outfit called Link PDX. Armisen and Brownstein storm the newsroom, quickly explain the art of Gawker-like breeziness and get the Tribune editor, played by George Wendt, to think more of himself as a “linkalist” than a “journalist.” In the end, the editor sheepishly accepts his new publisher’s praise for writing the most popular post in Link PDX’s history, garnering 70 million hits: “Charlize Theron NSFW” (Watch that sketch here.)
Exaggeration of the state of journalism in America today? Perhaps, but not by much. Photos of a scary-looking lamprey eel found by a fisherman on the Raritan River garnered 1.2 million views on Reddit last week, and the story got picked up by the Houston Chronicle and the Christian Science Monitor. We at the NJ News Commons weren’t immune to the story either.
Meanwhile a report issued by New Jersey Watchdog about 45 New Jersey superintendent “double dippers” who get pension pay along with their salaries got a mere handful of pickups in the press.
By GERARD DeMARCO
My friend Dylan, a hyperlocal publisher in Tucson, dialed the number — “for giggles,” he said.
He got a message: “Thank you for calling our circulation department. All of our customer service representatives are busy.”
“No mention of the brand on that placard, none on the recording,” Dylan said. “Wonder why you’re circling the drain?
Over the course of nearly 10 years, I tried repeatedly to convince the powers-that-were to transition to online. Right up to my exit, in December 2008, I was told: “Print first.”
Survival, it appears, came further down the list.
But I do not gloat.
Having been in pulp for 28 years, I’m sad and mournful — and, yes, still a bit angry in a way. But I’m also grateful that I took the road less traveled. Adapt — or don’t.
By HARRY W. HAINES
I can understand the basic appeal of a well-crafted, drowsy British melodrama on a Sunday night, especially if the Giants aren’t playing and the basketball season has yet to hit its stride.
And I certainly wish PBS nothing but good luck, given the cretinous snipers who seem always on the ready to target public broadcasting (really, anything with the word “public” attached or implied) for defunding.
But there is something quite unnerving about the latest U.K. import, Downton Abbey, soon to complete its third season run in the U.S.
I have checked out a few of the episodes, one or two in repeats, and the show gives me the creeps. It has too much in common with Gone With the Wind (GWTW), the 1939 Civil War epic that romanticized the practice of owning human beings as property. (more…)