Tag Archives: new york times

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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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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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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Maps are Journalism, too

Maps are one of the best examples of how to integrate technology with journalism. There’s nothing easier for the reader than to see exactly where news happens, without having to describe it in 100 or more words. Maps have traditionally been a standard type of infographic in newspapers, but now online maps can add so much more detail – especially in election coverage. Because this GOP nomination is being dragged out so long, it has consumed my attention.

Google’s map of elections: This is probably the best starting point for anyone looking for election results, and on nights such as Super Tuesday a week-and-a-bit ago, Google’s election maps are a great way to see how people voted in states quickly.

NYT Election Map: The New York Times does some of the best election night reporting, and I’m addicted to FiveThirtyEight. So combine this with maps that are actually a little sharper and better looking than Google’s and you have a pretty addicting set of state and national maps.

SeeClickFix – San Francisco Chronicle: SeeClickFix is popping up in a lot of places lately, but I think the Chronicle has done a good job of using it to help their geographically wide coverage area. Maps pinpointing little trouble spots such as potholes, and bigger issues of public safety, sound like a job for a hyperlocal site. While the Bay Area is plastered with these kinds of websites, SFGate.com has probably kept more than a few eyeballs on their site for neighborhood issues.

The continuing development of maps for interactive journalism can only be a good thing.

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I like what I like

Reporters from "His Girl Friday" (Wikimedia Commons)

I’ll admit, I didn’t really know where I was going when I started this blog. I love reading about the media, but am I qualified to be a writer about it? No, not really. Thank God for the Internet, then. And Media Decoder. I don’t know what I’d do without Brian Stelter and the gang who tell the country what we should be thinking about in terms of the media. Because, after all, it’s The New York Times. (Suck up time, over.)

I have to say, I’m most fascinated about what people tell us we should be using. People like the writers on Mashable’s Media site. They’re the reason I discovered Pinterest and have been ravaging my brain cells thinking of a way to work it into my life. And now, there’s Manterest, because we didn’t have enough social media platforms to think about already. But anyway, Mashable is a tech site and frankly, in the times of new media, I’m a better journalist for staying abreast of new platforms and techniques.

Keeping on the new media developments is Jeff Sonderman, the digital media fellow at Poynter Institute. Poynter is, to some extent, a journalist’s compass. It’s a constant source of information for those of us who are obsessed with the industry. Sonderman is one of the best signs that Poynter has accepted the realities of modern media. Just like Mashable, he’s on top of social media trends and trying to justify the use of them in news organizations. He’s more journalistic than Mashable, or my next source of information.

Gawker gets a reputation for being a trashy gossip blog. It’s well-earned, but that doesn’t mean it’s somehow beneath us all. I think it’s worth navigating its media section because of the way they call some media organizations out. Sometimes it’s petty, but sometimes it’s worth reading. And because of Gawker’s must-beat-everyone-else attitude, when I read something on their media section, it’s often the first time I’m hearing about it.

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Paywalls Closing In on Me

When did reading newspapers online become an expensive hobby? I can understand car collecting, sailing, diving for buried treasure. But reading op-eds in the comfort of your own couch on your iPad? (And, for the record, an iPad isn’t that cheap either.) On my college student budget, I can’t afford to subscribe to everything I want and that’s making for some tough choices.

My reading habits are about to get more expensive now that the Los Angeles Times has joined the Wall Street Journal, New York Times and Boston Globe in the club of big newspapers that ask readers to pony up to read online content. Some are digging that grave for newspapers while they rapidly blog. Others are biting their nails to see whether the LA Times, still the fifth-highest circulated paper in the country, can stop its readership slide. I’m wondering how much I can afford.

When The New York Times put up its paywall last year, I hemmed and hawed for a month before breaking down and pulling out the credit card. Ironically, since I’ve been paying about $8 a month to read nytimes.com on my computer (via their temperamental Chrome app) I don’t think I’ve actually used all of my 20 clicks a month, ones that would be free if I didn’t subscribe. It’s just too easy to get around the paywall since a lot of what I click on comes from social media platforms or Google News.

The Globe’s policy is too cheap to give you any free clicks per month, so you think I’d have given into their paywall by now. Trouble is, the things I actually want to read from the Globe are free on Boston.com. It’s a similar story at the Wall Street Journal. Although I used to regard a WSJ online subscription like a rare commodity, (I used the password from a previous employer for as long as I could) it’s easy enough to find what I want for free. As long as they don’t put Dan Neil behind the paywall, I’ll be a happy camper.

Unfortunately, the LA Times plans to hide their auto critic, Dave Undercoffler, behind the wall – and a lot of other great writers too. They’re only giving out 15 free clicks a month before asking for about $2 a week to read everything. I’m conflicted because while I much prefer the NYT for DC and other national stories, they can’t do California news well. And, more emotionally, I grew up reading the LA Times. I have a devotion to it similar to that of Bostonians to the Globe, which is why they’re willing to subscribe online when I can’t bring myself to.

I tweeted yesterday that buying an LATimes.com subscription might come at the expense of an NYTimes.com one, something of a “Sophie’s Choice” decision to me. James Cobb, the NYT auto editor, tweeted back and said, ” But Sophie would never turn against her Old Gray Lady…” He’s right. I should just pick up the damn paper again.

Photo: Flickr/JoeinSouthernCA

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Feed Frenzy

I’d like to think I’m better at Twitter than I really am. I’ve had an account for getting on three years now. One of those years I used it a handful of times. It’s only been in the last year and a half or so that this social media avenue has taken over an increasing part of my life. But there here are others who spend way more time than I do and tweet things with far greater wit – including @dankennedy_nu. (Glad I got the kissing up out of the way.)

@andrewphelps – Andrew Phelps, future of news reporter at @NiemenLab.He’s popping up on both my Facebook and Twitter feeds, continuously revealing something tech-y about journalism. As someone distracted by new and shiny things, both Phelps and the Niemen Journalism Lab at Harvard are must-reads of mine for information about people’s social media habits and general trends regarding news and its online tendencies.

@gawker – OK, let’s get it all out in the open. I read Gawker like I look at a car accident – I can’t help myself. But it’s been kind of fun lately watching their petty argument against NBC News. I mean, who’s really counting how many cameras show up to cover a story. Lest we forget, it’s the web hits that count. Not the most media-ish of feeds, but today’s gossip is often tomorrow’s news. I think that’s their motto, too.

@LATimesRainey – James Rainey used to be the Los Angeles Times‘ media reporter before he abruptly stopped writing his weekly column late last year. Still, he’s a certified media junkie who reliably spills his thoughts on industry news – he also keeps me up to date with the happs in LA so I never feel the least-bit homesick for the West Coast. As a defender of newspapers too, he puts just the right amount of critique on the Internet revolution.

@BrianStelter – Where the LA Times has (or had) Rainey, The New York Times has Brian Stelter and Media Decoder. Stelter’s tweeting during events like the recent Republican debates goes beyond just what’s happening, but also takes a great look at the reporters, anchors and moderators. I feel like he’d be the person to criticize Scott Pelley for the position of his eyebrows. Frankly, the New York Times is the place to be if you’re a media tweeter. Go on WeFollow and most of the top media handles belong to the Times, such as @carr2n, @paper_cuts, @NYTimesAd, to name but a few. David Carr is another media reporter who tweets just about anything he feels in addition to his own work. His feed is, therefore, pretty entertaining. And the Times’ Paper Cuts and Media/Advertising handles keep things a little more serious when it comes to the printed products. Hey, I have to be serious sometimes.

@dkbermanThe Wall Street Journal is a bit much for me to handle, partly because everything I want to read online is usually behind their paywall. For all of the earnings reports Dennis Berman tweets, there’s some coverage about the media and how much money any given company lost last quarter. (NBC, I’m picking on you again) Plus, it usually gets me on the site before I indulge in some of Dan Neil’s humor. Of course, @zseward, the Journal’s social media editor, keeps things light on his feed too. After all he has the guts to call “bullshit” when wants.

[View the story “Zach Seward” on Storify]

Photo: Creative Commons/Flickr/_DaniloRamos

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What a Media Junkie Feeds On

Writing about my media monitoring habits sheds light on the fact I’m a man of relatively narrow interests. If I’m not reading news, I’m reading about news coverage. Maybe it’s not making me a well-rounded person, but that’s for a therapist to tell me.

Acting as an enabler in this process is Media Decoder over at The New York Times. It’s kind of a go-to for middle-of-the-road analysis for everything media related, from how badly Fox News bungled an interview with Newt Gingrich to whether or not Oprah’s network will ever be watched by people other than those who have shows on it.

I began following Mashable long before Dan Kennedy included it in his class’ must-read selection. They’re all about “new” media and probably waiting for the final nail to be forced into the coffin of the printed word. Their media section is, however, a favorite of mine for lists like X reasons why journalists should use this-website-I-haven’t-heard-of-until-now.

One of the good things to come out of Facebook’s Subscribe feature was my new interest in Jeff Sonderman. The Poynter Institute digital media fellow isn’t as anti-“old” media as others and that’s a good thing. But his posts still include a lot about good and bad changes in the industry thanks to the Internet. Sonderman’s coverage is a little less insider-oriented than Poynter’s own Mediawire, which I also closely monitor – especially when there’s news about the Tribune bankruptcy or something like that.

Finally, Howard Kurtz, longtime Washington Post columnist and now a member of the fledgling Daily Beast and its Newsweek subsidiary, is always worth a glancing at when his face comes up on TweetDeck. I regularly question his analysis, but who said anything about always agreeing with the people you read? Not that I ever disagree with Media Nation and thoroughly respect the ground its author walks on …

Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Jfurrer

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