June 10, 2009

Bye, bye, bye - bloggers calling it quits

Three bloggers who watch the media with an insider's edge are moving on as a result of being burned out, burned or moving in new directions.

The first notice came from Jim Hopkins in Going Fishin' | I'm now handing in my notice. He says he never planned that the Gannett Blog, started on Sept. 11, 2007, would be a long-term venture. He expected a company breakup when he started the blog after ending his 20-year career through a buyout. But with all the changes in the industry, his blog filled a need he was willing to do.

Comments gone wild

Hopkins prided himself on using his journalism skills, reading every comment before publishing them even as the volume grew. But then, the tone of comments changed in December:
"...for entirely understandable reasons. Many of Gannett's 41,500 employees came to understand what was taking place in the company. They are now fear-filled, desperate, angry -- even suicidal, on occasion.

Blogging can be very stressful, of course, Now, I'm finding it may be psychologically harmful, too."
So, on October 1, he'll close shop UPDATE: Comment stopped July 10. Posting, for the most part, July 10 also.. Until then, he's blogging less as he works more on his other project, Ibiza Confidential. He's also stopped accepting donations (He is quoted in a Media Life Magazine post that since mid-October 2008, he earned $11,000 via the blog.)

Oregon Media Insiders

Completely shutting down fast "after three and a half years of chronicling the craziness of Oregon's media scene" is/was the Oregon Media Insiders site run by Lynn Siprelle, an award-winning journalist since 1977. The original post announcing the decision, I'm Done" has been replaced with Site Off-Line.
"I lost a friend today over this site--a good friend, one of my best friends. Losing friends was always a risk of doing this site, and in a way I'm surprised it hasn't happened sooner."
There was a plea:
"I would like very much for someone to take over OMI. I think it's important that a site like this continue, but I don't have it in me any more."
Comments gone wild

From the original post, it is clear that community helped sink this effort:
"I've never liked running uncivil websites, ever. In fact, I've never run one, other than OMI. I've never had a website quite like it. "
She tried to improve the situation:
"Moving to accounts-only posting has helped a great deal with the nasty drive-by posting. But I can't do this any more. A broken heart can do what a purple-faced news director or corporate lawyer cannot."
But it became too much and overnight all of the posts on the Oregonian, part of Advance Publications, and other media disappeared.

Paper Tiger exiting

Not quite as drastic is the moving on by Ann Arbor's "watchdog/critic/curmudgeon" Jim Carty.

The former Ann Arbor News sports reporter who used a buyout to push him into law school says in "When it's over," why a post on what's up with AnnArbor.com although easy to write, just wasn't much fun" and won't be published.

He is ready to move on less then nine months after leaving the daily newspaper grind and Advance Publications.
"It just feels over with me and the ol' Newhouse empire, and unlike Sugar Ray, I don't think either of us is longing for any sort of reconciliation. My interests, and increasingly my expertise, are elsewhere. "
It doesn't mean that that everything is perfect at AnnArbor.com.
"Now, yes, some of the things they're doing right now are so silly they invite ridicule, and the new site better look a damn sight better than what they've got now."
But there's this:
"I want Tony Dearing's operation to succeed and like the hires he made. I just don't feel very curmudgeonly, even when I can muster up the time to direct some attention to things AnnArbor.com-y."
Giving up the 'gimme'

So we have three more journalists who left the corporate world giving up what Carty was told is "gimme" ("Any subject upon which you're relatively well-versed and can easily churn out 16 to 25 interesting inches is one you should be writing on.")

It means the online water cooler dries up. Back to Lynn Siprelle:
"Remember that it is possible to make your own way, if you're brave enough and are willing to not just embrace change but be change. Remember that there is life after media, and that it's usually wonderful."
It just might not be so wonderful covering the media with that insider's perspective.

Posts mentioning Carty or Paper Tiger No More
AnnArbor.com evolving
Blogger: Print's death to damn river of news
Watching Newhouse spiral painful
What's being said about Advance
Michigan media making news again
1 meeting, 3 takes on AnnArbor.com

Posts mentioning Gannett Blog
Sailing into sale of goods keeps me rushing
Multimedia musings: A video on saving newspapers


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