Media Convergence

Friday, November 10, 2006

Journalism Selections #7

Romenesko

Again, a few articles of note from Romenesko:

1. The new editor of the Philadelphia Inquirer, Bill Marimow, sat down with Editor & Publisher to talk about his decision to join the staff of the Inquirer, which is struggling financially. The clip that Romensko excerpted stood out to me as well:

"I have come to believe that a newspaper has to tailor its mission to the resources that are available," Marimow, 59, said. "I don't think a newspaper like the Inquirer can sustain a network of national and foreign bureaus. But if the mission is defined as being the absolute authoritative source on Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania suburbs, and South Jersey, it can do it."


In light of my recent obsession with Rob Curley and his love of "hyperlocal" news media, I find this very interesting. While I don't dispute that national and foreign news is important, I do think that more news outlets should focus on their local communities. The St Petersburg Times is good about this, with segmentation that gives just about every community within the Greater Tampa Bay area its own news coverage. Today, I spent a considerable amount of time at OnMilwaukee.com, reading articles about recent events in Milkwaukee and checking out a few of the features it offers, especially the entertainment reporting.

I have no idea as to how successful OnMilwaukee.com when it comes to connecting with their community, but I know that I was riveted, and I've never even been to Milwaukee before. I've said it before, and I'll probably sound redundant at this point, but if St. Petersburg had something like this, or like Lawrence.com, I would visit it all the time. TampaBay.com is nice, but ultimately it's just a portal for other, more traditional media outlets. (I count the blog-style of itsyourtimes.com as "traditional" media, as blogs have been so ubitiquous as to be a part of mainstream discourse at this point in time.) I really love good feature writing for this reason - it lets you know what's going on in your community on a personal level.

2. The death of Ed Bradley is a tragic loss. Everything I've seen and heard of him indicates that he was not only a gifted journalist, but a wonderful person as well. This WaPo article is one of many powerful obituaries I've read about him today. This anecdote from Deborah Willis, professor of photography at NYU, really stood out to me:

Willis chatted with Bradley two months ago in Manhattan. Bradley had arrived at the New-York Historical Society to listen to her interview the artist Betye Saar. Afterward, "He complimented me on my interview! Do you know how much that meant to me?" she says.


3. Normally the business side of journalism bores me to sleep, but this article, about the clash of cultures between the LA Times and the Chicago Tribune held my attention all the way to the end.

The LA Times is known as a newspaper with a global focus, sometimes to their benefit and sometimes to their detriment. I tend to like them. They win Pulitzer Prizes and they cover lots of important international stories. Last year I read a book written by Chris Ayers, one of their entertainment reporters who became an embedded journalist in Iraq. It was self-deprecating and funny and human and I thought it was a great read. Earlier this year I found an article written by Claire Hoffman, in which she is physically assaulted by Girls Gone Wild head honcho Joe Francis, to be riveting. They do great work, yet I hear a lot of criticism about their seeming obliviousness to local news. It certainly make me think a lot about the different niches occupied by various news outlets.

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Altercation

Eric Alterman posted this article about the lack of election related news in a survey of the most emailed new stories. The author points to two potential causes:

  • Oversaturation of political ads in every other media outlet led to election burnout.
  • Voters who felt they learned all they needed to know about the candidates and issues from TV and radio


I know I certainly agree with the first cause. I was very interested in the election and its outcome, but after the first week or so of the constant barrage of campaign ads and posters and people standing on the corner waving signs, I could not wait for November 8th. I remember hearing that some campaigns had started buying up radio time, simply because they had more money to spend on advertising than there was space available. That's an insane amount of money, and an argument for publicly funded elections if I ever heard one.

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PressThink

Next week I'm going to find a new blog to cover. He hasn't posted anything since November 2, when he wrote about the Polling Place Photo Project. I checked out the site but didn't really think too much of it.

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