March 13, 2009

Blogger unhappy with shrinking Oregonian

The Red Electric blog doesn't like the fact that The Oregonian, published by the same parent company as The Flint Journal, moved its business coverage into the front section. Rick Siefert shared 7 suggestions in "Some uninvited advice for The Oregonian, including:
  • Call it the Economy, not the Business section
  • Cover the economy with the same depth that sports is now covered
  • Start talking with other news organizations and institutions about the future of Portland journalism and put together a plan for serving the public.
  • Stop referring to the University of Oregon/Oregon State rivalry as a war — specifically a "Civil War."
By the way, be curious once you're reading his blog. For instance, he shared a quote on Frank Sinatra and the press that was in “Why Sinatra Matters” by Pete Hamill.
“Sinatra’s idea of paradise is a place where there are plenty of women and no newspapers,” said Humphrey Bogart, who was sixteen years older than the singer and a kind of hero to the younger man. “He doesn’t know it, but he’d be better off if it were the other way around.”
And he's into typewriters, so you get posts like this Failed foresenics on History Detectives (Ernie Pyles typewriter?) and a slew of posts on Ace Typewriters

Disconnect? That's one blogger's take on GSUSA's branding and cookies

"New Girl Scout Brand Undermined By Health Hazard Cookies" is the headline of a blog post on Getting Attention: Helping Non-profits Succeed Through Effective Marketing.

Blog author Nancy E. Schwartz ties into the branding of Girl Scouts as fit for modern girls as brought up in a Washington Post article. (Same branding issues expected to be discussed on Friday's Today Show.) She starts off:

"I love the Girl Scouts and actually was one for a couple of years long ago. Still have a great orange layer cake recipe captured in my quest for the cooking merit badge. And now our daughter Charlotte is a Daisy (pre-Brownies).

So I was dismayed to learn that the Girl Scouts are stumbling with the introduction of their new brand. The brand (read on for details) is inconsistent with the Girl Scouts most public action -- the cookie program. As a result, instead of helping the org to move forward, it introduces doubts about the organization's credibility, values and leadership."

What gets this blogger going is that Girl Scouts do not "walk the talk" by using unhealthy cookies as a revenue generator. It's this quote in the Washington Post that Schwartz refers to:
"The biggest change is last year's debut of Journeys, a pilot curriculum that will mostly replace the system of earning badges on specific topics. Girls still will be able to earn badges if they want, but Journeys rarely mentions them, focusing instead on broader themes, including teamwork and healthy living. Rather than scouts earning a badge for cooking a single nutritious meal, for example, the books emphasize fruits and vegetables whenever food is mentioned," reports the Washington Post.
Schwartz suggests the organization needs "a revenue generator that fits its new brand - or cut healthy eating out of its talk. Or, as one commenter below suggests, recommend eating these and other cookies in moderation (there's a merit badge for you)."

At least the cookies generate lots of "healthy" discussion about Girl Scouts all over the web, right?

Related posts:

March 12, 2009

Editor lost it when laid off; you don't have to

Mike Tharp knows how hard it can be to be laid off. He knows how you can chase off family. He knows how you can get depressed and burn bridges you may need.
"I'd been through the deaths of a father, a mother and a brother, who was closer to me than anybody. I'd been through divorce. I'd been through war, as a soldier and as a correspondent."
But a phone call ending his 14-year career as a bureau chief in Tokyo and correspondent on the West Coast was harder.

He wrote down what they wanted back, things like the laptop and cellphone. He wrote down what to expect, things like severance papers and a nondisclosure agreement.

He heard the managing editor blame economics and say it was "no reflection on you or your work."

But for 40 years, "My business card had been my backstage pass to life".

Tharp fell hard, becoming a recluse, becoming depressed. But now, he wants you to know there's hope.

"You can get through this. You can get back your pride, your sense of accomplishment. It takes hard work -- hard brutal psychic work. It takes family and friends. It takes luck -- like the luck that brought me to Merced almost two years ago.

The worst thing I did was to stop working out. I'd played basketball, run distance and lifted weights since I was a teenager. I stopped doing that. You've got to push your body to get your mind and soul right.

My second-biggest mistake was to become, as my friends said, a recluse. You've got to reopen yourself to human contact.

Exercise and companionship.

Seems like a simple enough formula. But you've got to overcome what feels like a mountain on your shoulders to reach out and do that.

You may also have to take a job you don't like. You may have to learn new skills. You may have to accept a lower salary. You may have to commute. You may have to move. You may have to take a pill. I had to do all those.

Some of you will find solace in God, religion, faith. That wasn't my way. It may be your way. If so, follow that path.

All that's left in the lesson is that I know all too well how anybody feels who has been -- or will be -- laid off. My life was changed forever. "

Read his post. Get some hope from the executive editor of the Merced Sun Star.

Few would miss local newspaper

Did you know that nearly 7 of every 10 Americans say they could easily live without a local newspaper.

The Pew Research Center for the People and the Press opened its report on the study this way:
"As many newspapers struggle to stay economically viable, fewer than half of Americans (43%) say that losing their local newspaper would hurt civic life in their community "a lot." Even fewer (33%) say they would personally miss reading the local newspaper a lot if it were no longer available."

The same study asked where people get their news:
"About two-thirds (68%) say they regularly get local news from television reports or television station websites, 48% say they regularly get news from local newspapers in print or online, 34% say they get local news regularly from radio and 31% say they get their local news, more generally, from the internet."

Nearly 85 percent of Americans are at least aware of the struggles of newspapers, but this report shows why you won't see much concern in the communities that will be without local newspapers.

New math tackles laid off

Every Monday, you get a new illustration for new math.

Speaking of layoffs, check out what Jim of L-Town says will happen to 3 Michigan newspapers. No official response, even when the local Flint TV stations have picked up on his entry.

Twittering, Digg makes late night tv talk

Wow. This tech stuff is hot.

First, Ellen Degeneres and Jay Leno start talking about Twitter and Facebook.

Then, on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon there's Kevin Rose and Alex Albrech discussing how Digg works. They even bring out four laptops - three Macs and 1 PC - to show folks how to Digg something. Somehow, I think that more folks saw that then when Fallon appeared on Dignation. But I can see that Fallon would watch Dignation, as it is "a weekly tech/web culture show based on the top social bookmarking news stories."

By the way, an audience member got a big boost in Twitter followers. Folks were asked to get Bryan Brinkman more popular than the president by following him at Last I looked, he had more than 12,000 followers. At the start of the show, he had 7.

Thanks to a post on Twitter picked up throughFriendFeed, I finally found out what number I am .... at least with the name I'm using these days - mcwflint. Supposedly, I am member number 9,131,322.

Here's how Ian D. Nock says to find it: If you hover over the RSS feed link you get a link to ....number.rss where number is your member id. Ev is 20, Dorsey is 12”

Enough. Time for sleep. (please)

Newsweek enters GS cookie battle

Kurt Soller asks "By banning online sales, are the Girl Scouts failing our daughters?" The item had 25 pages of comments by midnight of the day it was posted.

The article concerns an 8-year-old Girl Scout who wanted to earn enough money to send her whole troop to camp. Her dad works as chief operating officer of a Web design and development firm so a web site for orders made sense to the two of them.

I'm familiar with the discussion as it first came up in January when the girl's video first hit YouTube. (You can see it here)

I'm familiar with the selling cookies over the Internet because the troop I advised did it back in 1995-98 before the national office decided that wasn't something girls should do. The rules loosened up over the years to allow email solicitations (never did understand how that was supposed to be stopped.)

So since my troop did it in 1995, why is GSUSA still saying things like this:
"Girl Scouts of the USA is not shunning the Internet … though we still have to figure out how to do this."
That's from Michelle Tompkins, a spokeswoman, who aslo says the marketing of cookies is allowed online, but sales are still verboten. She also highlighted a few other online advances, including the recent creation of a Thin Mints Facebook page and the registering of, a Web site with information on how to buy cookies from local troops. (See my blog post: XXX).

Anyways, back to Freeborn and the video that got more then 700 orders within two weeks. Some folks were unhappy, including Matthew Markie who is quoted in the article and answers a lot of the comments.
"If you have an individual girl that creates a Web presence, she can suck the opportunity from other girls," says Matthew Markie, a parent who remains involved in Girl Scouts even though his three daughters are well into their 20s.

Markie, and other disapproving parents, brought the Freeborn's site to the attention of local Girl Scout officials who told the Freeborns to take down their YouTube video and reminded the family of the organization's longstanding prohibition of online sales.
If you'd rather read about cookies, then eat them try checking out 10 Girl Scout Cookie Crumbs or Sadie's Take:Samoa 4.0: One Scout's Celebrity Prompts Jealousy, Betrayal, Cookies

If you'd rather eat them, sales are down so help out by going to Girl Scout cookies online.

Related posts:

March 10, 2009

Leno turning patriotic - free show for unemployed at Palace in April

Wow. Jay Leno is going to cheer up formerly employed autoworkers and others at a free comedy show at the Palace in April. Free parking and Pepsi too!

The announcement was on Monday's show and we're to watch the web site for details on how to get free tickets. It's the honor system, Leno says, so if you are unemployed and haven't taken the wife out lately come out and Leno says he will get us laughing.

He is doing it because comedy is what he can do in response to President Obama's plea that we all do something to stimulate economy .

Me? I am thinking I will let Leno know women are unemployed too. Yeah, my ears hurt when he repeated the wife line.

Cleveland paper praised in 'headcount slashing not enough' piece

Laura Rich Fine: Reducing headcount not enough

That's the headline on a piece from a writer who admits she prefers print over digital right before praising Cleveland newspaper for its PDF-like version.

Plain Dealer publisher says online report of paper's imminent demise is 'baseless' -

Cleveland Plain Dealer Publisher Terrance Egger says a rumor about its closing is wrong.

"Every plan we have for the immediate future is to make that work," he told Cleveland Plain Dealer reporter Patrick O'Donnell.

O'Donnell also said that Egger wonders why no one asked him for comment.

Despite that, O'Donnell says the original writer who said the Cleveland news operation was one of 10 likley to fail in 2009 sticks by prediction.

"Douglas McIntyre said he talked to sources, whom he declined to name, at Advance Publications, as well as other industry experts for the story. He said he had no sources within management of The Plain Dealer itself.

McIntyre said he chose The Plain Dealer based on financial issues with Advance, with declining advertisements in The Plain Dealer and with the state of Cleveland's economy."

Many in the community are talking about the prediction, with some of the commenters blaming the internet for the newspaper's woes while others cite the city's decline. At least one person warns that the newspaper can't keep cutting staff and offering its paying customers less unique local news.

I found it interesting that the publisher said the newspaper did make money in 2008 and expects to do the same in 2009.

More posts about The Cleveland Dealer.

Magazine: Detroit News, Advance newspaper to fold or go digital

The Advance newspaper is supposedly the Cleveland newspaper, just one of many hard-hit newspapers. I tend to think a Michigan newspaper - or several - would go first (or maybe merge all eight into the print edition. Reverse publishing from the web out might work. More on that later.) Meanwhile read about this:
10 major newspapers to fold or go digital, Time says