Monthly Archives: March 2009

Tweeting On the Rise

The Palm Beach Post recently published this story regarding the allowance of texts, blogging and other forms of communication at federal courthouses.

This is quite a coup for the new media age. Court reporting is an ideal use for Twitter, as reporters often need to chronicle the progress of a court case without immediate means.

This allowance will likely boost page views from readers who want to keep track of a given court case. More page views means more opportunities to advertise.

Could this be a step toward saving newspapers?

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When Does it End?

It must be getting difficult for those at NewspaperDeathWatch.com to keep up with all the paper closings throughout the country. They added the latest, the distinguished Ann Arbor News to the list today.

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(See the full story in Editor & Publisher story, here.)

I can’t help but shudder for the dismal future of a world without newspapers. Will people notice what they had when they are all gone? Will they be intelligent enough to care?

As I watch my friends take pay cuts and fear for their careers (I fear for mine as a journalism educator, too), I am having a hard time seeing the silver lining.

Yes, new media is the future for journalism. But who is going to pay for it? How will it be done?

After completing my master’s degree in community journalism at the University of Alabama, I was convinced of one important truth: hyperlocal is the key.

When we go to the Web for information, we expect it to be personalized. Hell, even my Yahoo! mail page knows what’s on my mind and what I need to know.

So, OK… We need personalized content delivered through the Internet. But who is going to write it when all of the reporters are gone? And who is going to pay for all this hyperlocal news? Certainly not anyone who is used to getting their news for free.

Journalism cannot die. It just can’t.

But it will take on a new form. Most likely, that form will consist of hyperlocal niche publications with targeted advertising and content.

And somebody will figure out how to pay for it. But until they do, what will happen to all the good journalists in the world?

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Cue the Tumbleweeds

USA Today had an interesting story this week regarding the disastrous state of newspapers. True to form, the story glistened with graphics, like this one illustrating the staggering number of papers cutting jobs and salaries.

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The article does a great job chronicling the rapid downfall of our beloved industry, but be warned: there is certainly nothing optimistic about it.

The latest paper to add to the growing list of those mandating salary cuts is my own, Florida Times-Union. Staffers were informed last night of gasp-inspiring salary cuts that will take effect almost immediately.

It’s not so much the money, but the permanency of it all that stings.

Worse, USA Today also posted this tidbit of information: Survey says: Many newspapers won’t be missed. According to the survey, “nearly 30 percent said there would be other ways to get news if their local paper shut down.”

Forgive them — they know not what they do…

Without local newspapers acting as community watchdogs, corruption will run rampant. Bloggers cannot possibly keep it all in check. And without newspapers, who will TV news producers rip off their stories from?

I know, I know… I’m preaching to the choir.

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Roll on Rocky Mountain!

“When the Rocky closed, it was traumatic, shocking. It was a hard blow. It was a death. This is sort of like a phoenix.” — RMN reporter Tillie Fong

The Rocky Mountain News isn’t throwing in the towel yet!

Like, perhaps, many of my peers, I cheered out loud when I read this: Ex-Rocky Mountain News staffers plan news Web site.

Here is “the plan.”

Basically, 50,000 people must agree to subscribe to the paper for $4.99 each month by April 23. If they meet their goal, Rocky Mountain News staffers will go live with a Web-only edition of the newspaper on May 4, called InDenverTimes.com.

Could this be a new, successful business model for newspapers? We’ll find out in about a month!

On behalf of journalists everywhere, we’re pulling for you Rocky Mountain!

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Convergence Musings

A friend alerted me to this post from yelvington.com regarding newsroom perspectives on converging newsrooms.

Having worked in several newsrooms that are in the midst of trying to figure out this phenomenon, I think responses to some of the posts questions could really run the gamut, from “convergence at my paper is the wave of the future” to “convergence at my paper is a catastrophe.”

How convergence is handled at each publication really is unique. Unfortunately, one paper handling it better than another may just prolong the life of the paper a bit, but it won’t save it.

Until we can figure out a revenue stream to compensate for the ad space being stolen by dot-coms, like Craig’s List or Vehix, newspapers will be in trouble.

It’s sad, but true.

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