Oct 12

Newsweek’s Big Gamble?

Newsweek went big (previously) trying to go upmarket, focusing on Generation Jones.  It looks like they’ve crapped out, only 3 years into a 5-year plan.  Layoffs are expected to be announced today.

Jan 10

Daily Links for January 12th through January 15th

All excerpts are quoted from the respective link(s).

Nov 09

Daily Links for November 20th through November 22nd

All excerpts are quoted from the respective link(s).

  • Matt Taibbi – Taibblog – Sarah Palin, WWE Star – True/Slant – At the end of this decade what we call “politics” has devolved into a kind of ongoing, brainless soap opera about dueling cultural resentments and the really cool thing about it, if you’re a TV news producer or a talk radio host, is that you can build the next day’s news cycle meme around pretty much anything at all, no matter how irrelevant — like who’s wearing a flag lapel pin and who isn’t, who spent $150K worth of campaign funds on clothes and who didn’t, who wore a t-shirt calling someone a cunt and who didn’t, and who put a picture of a former Vice Presidential candidate in jogging shorts on his magazine cover (and who didn’t).
  • Quote and Comment – I was asked to speak recently at a conference organized by Yale University with the title “Journalism & The New Media Ecology: Who Will Pay The Messenger?” This irritated me. The question should have been “who will subsidize news production?” because news production has always been subsidized by someone or something. Very rarely have users paid directly the costs of editorial production.
  • A Question of Emphasis :: The Scoop – My fear as a Washington Post subscriber and reader of washingtonpost.com is that, when the folks running the organization turn things around (and I believe that it is not an impossibility or even a long-shot), what emerges will be not only a news organization that is a shadow of its former self – most orgs will have to face that reality – but that it will have put so much emphasis on the paper that it cannot take advantage of the possibilities online. That the folks running things are literally rolling back the progress and smart work that has been done, and will not be able to get it back as fast as they might think. And the people who remain – those who will be charged with the task of rebuilding a news operation that embraces all of the ways that its readers and users can gain value – will have neither the support nor the depth to make it happen.
  • The 40-30-30 Rule: Why Risk Is Worth It :: Tips :: The 99 Percent – Many of the strategies employed in competitive and recreational sports are applicable in business and our personal lives. One lesson I learned from alpine ski racing was the "40-30-30 Rule." During training, early on, I tried to go fast, and I also focused on not falling. On a ride up the ski lift, my coach told me I was missing the point. He explained that success in ski racing, or most sports for that matter, was only 40% physical training. The other 60% was mental. And of that, the first 30% was technical skill and experience. The second 30% was the willingness to take risks.
  • Video of Angry Wingnuts Booing Sarah Palin, Calling Her a “Quitter” & Chanting “Sign Our Books” | Rumproast – Teabaggers just aren’t happy about anything these days. I guess the Noblesville, Indiana Going Rogue book signing didn’t go very well yesterday because 300* or so of the 1000 people with wristbands were asked not to tread on Sarah Palin and then she tried to make a getaway with Baby Trig and several duffel bags full of cash but wingnuts have learned to protest about everything these days, so they were having none of it. This is the best thing you will see about horrible, horrible Sarah Palin on the internets all day and until the end of time.

Nov 09

The Iron Paywall?

Saul Friedman, an 80-year old print veteran at Newsday, hops over the paywall (via BoingBoing):

Customers of Cablevision, the cable and Internet provider that owns Newsday, and people who subscribe to Newsday in print will still be able to browse Newsday.com unfettered. But Newsday recently announced that everyone else will have to pay $5 a week to see much of the site, making it one of the few newspapers in the country to take such a plunge.

That did not sit well with Mr. Friedman, a freelancer who wrote Gray Matters, a weekly column on aging. He explained his departure in a note to Jim Romenesko’s media blog. In an interview, Mr. Friedman said, “My column has been popular around the country, but now it was really going to be impossible for people outside Long Island to read it.  That includes him; living outside Washington, he is not a subscriber to Newsday or Cablevision.

Mr. Friedman, who is 80, said he would continue to write about older people for the site timegoesby.net, but he called his decision an end to more than 50 years in newspapers. He wrote for Newsday for more than 20 years, including several years as a staff writer in its Washington bureau.

Meanwhile, the Examiner expands out into 160 more cities (including Philadelphia):

Quality writers wanted: Join us!

We’re seeking people like you who have in-depth knowledge about a particular topic, a passion about that topic and a desire to share related insights with others.

Join others across the country as they provide a wealth of local information, insider perspectives, helpful resources, and a view into a variety of events and activities within their cities.

I suspect that as newspapers start culling and cutting the more expensive talent, more than a few excellent writers will leave for new venues (such as the Daily Beast, True/Slant, or HuffPo) or hang out their own shingle.   The paywall cure may be just as painful as the disease.