Category Archives: Media

I’m over the fact I won’t see my name in print anymore

Most people tend to be really excited to see their name in print, which is why it confused others when I just shrugged if I saw my byline in a newspaper. When I was an intern at the Santa Barbara Independent five years ago, my name (finally) appeared one week in the news section with the other writers’. My mother framed the page of the paper.

She was probably never going to frame another byline of mine again, but my mother could be out of luck if David Carr is to be believed. And why wouldn’t we believe him.

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‘The Newsroom’ satisfies my need for a news show that’s newsy. Watch it bomb.

Think about it: When was the last time there was a good, long-running show about a newsroom? “Murphy Brown” comes to mind, and that ended before I lost all of my baby teeth. One could make a case for the fifth season of “The Wire,” but again, that ended a while ago. Thankfully, now there’s the bluntly named “The Newsroom.”

It’s in good hands with Aaron Sorkin, because a newsroom is just one big walk-and-talk, anyway.

There are reviews here, here and here (which range from “well worth watching” to “preachy and from a writer who still can’t write roles for women”) from various writers and all giving a general synopsis of the show and rundown of characters. But I’m judging the show on the quality of its journalism. It does well. Continue reading

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Student journalism is worth the rising costs

This might surprise the technologically inclined, but most college students don’t expect their campus news on a phone or tablet – they find it printed on newspaper.

Editors say over and over that students get news by stumbling across their college newspaper and flipping through it casually, or seeking out their friend who might be in a picture or mentioned in a story. It’s not a regular habit to seek it out on a website or like it on Facebook.

In my interviews with some Boston college paper editors, they say they’re still experimenting with online strategies. But their hands may be forced soon as university budgets make newspapers a costly proposition.

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As editors dream up online strategies, the short-term future of college newspapers remains in print [Video]

Flickr gallery

While the current trend among newspapers in this country is to throw brains and money at the online side of the business, student newspapers are just getting strategies in place to put more thought into websites and social media.

At first glance, it appears counterintuitive. Today’s students are technologically savvy, quick adopters of new devices such as smart phones and programs like Facebook and Twitter. Product planners are also fast to note how infatuated twentysomethings are with their phones and tablets. But in Boston at least, student newspapers aren’t planning to abandon the print product anytime soon.

While students are generally connected through social media, it’s going to take more time to get them to go to the Internet before going to the newspaper. So much time, in fact, that editors are in no rush to abandon the print product and view the two technologies as generally separate entities.

“This is as social media savvy of a school as you can find,” said Alexander Kaufman, editor in chief of Emerson College’s Berkeley Beacon. “People at Emerson are eager to tweet about things that irk them or what they’re thinking about.”

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A Pulitzer win for David Wood is a win for the future of HuffPo and online-only journalism

Photo/@joshuahersh

Poynter tried to tease media junkies yesterday morning before the 2012 Pulitzers were announced, but I saw one of the big news pieces of the day about an hour before official announcements came down – and it wasn’t as shocking as I might have thought maybe a year ago.

David Wood‘s win for the “Beyond the Battlefield” series, posted on The Huffington Post, is a deserved win for a seasoned journalist producing really great journalism. But it’s proof that it’s the writer, not the organization, that wins the Pulitzer. The organization, however, gets to bask in the acknowledgement that it employs a Pulitzer-winning journalist. And for HuffPo, that’s a great sign.

Online media nabbing Pulitzers isn’t really news these days. Politico and ProPublica have done it for a few years now, showing great journalism doesn’t always need to be printed. But HuffPo, the target of right wing bashing and criticism for headlines so big and sensational that’s it’s not even funny, hasn’t enjoyed a reputation for really specialized content. Calling it a news aggregator as little as a year or two ago wasn’t that far of a reach. Things have changed, and the Wood’s Pulitzer is proof.

The fact that good journalists are coming to HuffPo is a great thing for the company. Yes, the dialup-grade connection to sinking ship AOL is a downer, but the Pulitzer cred should be taken as a sign that Arianna’s creation is willing to foster strong journalism. As a sucker for good journalism entering the job market, that’s more than a little comforting.

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Journalism in China is “almost like playing a video game”

Wu Nan, March 29, at Northeastern University

Based on Nieman fellow Wu Nan’s testimony about her work in Chinese journalism, being a reporter in that country has similar appeal as eating fire. Remember, some people like that stuff.

Wu’s work at various sites, including The Wall Street Journal’s Chinese site, gave her insight into the difficulty that nation’s reporters face in reporting every day news, she said to about 50 Northeastern students. She also said the emergence of social media in the area, from Facebook and Twitter knockoffs, has become crucial to the reporting process.

Wu’s roughly 35-minute discussion was kind of insider journalism discussion, but her experience reflected her talent in navigating censorship and disclosure restrictions, something journalists in every state have to face. But she described it as kind of a thrill, suggesting, to me anyway, she was interested in reporting that was challenging.

As China increasingly becomes a more important country, it makes sense to understand the ability of their reporters in covering the national news. On the face of it, it sounds like China embraces citizen journalism because it’s already a backbone of the journalism scene there.

Wu doesn’t mind, though. She thinks Chinese journalism is like a maze in a video game – and a great challenge.

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New media grows up by changing old guards

The news Chris Hughes scooped up the long-suffering political magazine The New Republic earlier this month took me by surprise. Not so much that Hughes – Mark Zuckerberg’s old Harvard roommate and one of Facebook’s founders – spent money on a company peddling a print product, but that The New Republic was still around. Quite simply, I’d forgotten about the magazine in the first place.

It’s always flown under the radar, but The New Republic has long been the reading of liberal politicians – and few others.

Already, Hughes is making his mark. Today, The New Republic’s staff announced it was disassembling part of its paywall.

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Old habits die hard

Here’s the news peg: The Boston Globe this morning announced something that sounds much more interesting than it actually is. Their new ePaper sounds like the best of both worlds, seeing the print version the same way on your iPad as in your hands as a newspaper.

To be fair, if I were still working for a newspaper, I’d love this announcement. The time and energy and sweat I’ve spent laying out pages, only to have Quark XPress self-destruct before you’ve hit save, is essentially vindicated now that my blood and tears are now available for the anti-print crowd to see on their techie devices. And I understand there is a market for such things as the ePaper, especially at publications that treat their website and Internet presence as an afterthought.

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Non-profit investigative reporting sites do one thing, do it well

Kristen Lombardi at Dan Kennedy's Reinventing the News class, March 22

Investigative reporters are probably seen by accountants and others who stare at spreadsheets as big money losers. It’s not totally unwarranted. A daily newspaper is pretty much in the business of writing daily news, and investigative stories take months, if not years, to report. That means investigative reporters aren’t exactly turning over stories quickly.

Kristen Lombardi works for the Center for Public Integrity, a non-profit site started decades ago by an ex-“60 Minutes” reporter who was “frustrated by commericail media and an inability to do deep-digging investigative projects,” she said.

“Much of my work at the center has been what you’d call an investigation hidden in plain sight,” Lombardi said. “It’s not as if these stories weren’t out there for mainsteam reporters to seize upon. Nobody, I think, had the time or resources to deal with them.”

Lombardi, who is a 2011-12 Nieman Foundation fellow, said she came to the center after taking a buyout from the Village Voice. Out of a job, she said she didn’t want to go back to daily assignment reporting and wanted to work at an online publication, seeing that as “being ahead of the curve.”

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10 is a scary number when it comes to paywalls

With all of the discussion in the last year or so about them, you could probably write a blog just on paywalls.

It’s already been a year since The New York Times instated its paywall on online readers, limiting readers to 20 articles a month unless they paid up for home delivery or a digital subscription. Or if they just found a way to circumvent the paid journalism guards, which proved pretty easy to do if you follow the Times on Twitter or Facebook.

But I finally caved in a few months ago and bought a digital subscription, mostly because I’d go on to NYTimes.com looking for a specific story and then get distracted and click-happy when I saw other stories I hadn’t seen on Twitter. In one sitting, 10 clicks could be gone.

Ten clicks is all non-subscribers are going to get from now on, since the NY Times has made it just that more difficult for cheapskates to scale the paywall. And 10 really isn’t that many, especially if they get any smarter about making clicks from social media count.

In just 10 days, I slammed into the Los Angeles Times’ new paywall. It felt like I hit it head first and I might have let out a few choice expletives in the middle of a Starbucks. I read the LA Times frequently for California-centric stories the NY Times doesn’t do well, or at all. And their paywall counts what you click on through social media. If they cut their free article limit to 10, I’ll be out of free clicks in a couple of days.

Twenty clicks got me through most of the month on the NY Times. Fifteen clearly wasn’t enough at the LA Times. Now 10? That’s going to make scaling the paywall tricky. Looks like I need to get some extra jobs to pay for online subscriptions.

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