March 28, 2009

Do you have a road map to tomorrow?

To live "perfect life" you need to define that life first. That's the advice from a journalist who now works on the business side of the business. In "Decide what you want and declare it," she shares:
"When I hear people complaining about their jobs, I encourage them to make a list of attributes of their perfect job. I did that before I landed my position three years ago, from wanting to work at company I respected and that would look good on my resume to wanting an office with windows and the ability to listen to music at my desk. I got nearly everything on my list, including pay and vacation time."

A related post by the blogger Colleen Newvine Tebeau, who grew up in Saginaw, Michigan, and posts in the Newvine Growing blog is:

Don’t do what works for other people — make your list in a way that works for you

You might find this post of mine helpful:
Resume-building sites, blogging advice can help you

Could Advance workers tap into job perk?

Any chance that employees of Advance Publications affected by salary and job cuts can take advantage of a new American City Business Journals relationship?

The press release promises:

"... a free detailed and in-depth, professional online career evaluation to all users.

"Those completing the free online career evaluation will also be given free access to additional career resources such as job hunting skills tests, search agents, sample resumes, sample cover letters , career site reviews and much more.

The career services are an extension of business information services, the press release says.

'Our focus has always been to deliver the kinds of information that enable opportunity; we've simply applied those same principles to our career services,' says Michael Montoya, Vice President of Product and Business Development at

The American City Business Journals are in 40 markets (none in Michigan). The release also says company employs more than 550 business journalists.

By the way, DigiDave recently suggested reading "An open letter to journalists: You have an amazing career opportunity on the Dark Side" Check it out.

You might also find these posts helpful:

March 27, 2009

Half the facts enough for Jersey Backup

Is The Jersey Backup filling a void by providing all the news and half the facts?

My husband will be so sad to learn NJ Phasing Out Traffic Circles, Introduces Concave Polygons. He's soooo into traffic.

Here's the description of the site, which the Baristanet says is run by a former employee of The Star-Ledger and Maplewood Patch identifies as Gary Saitz
We know you want your New Jersey news unfiltered, with just as much toxicity as you’d find at the bottom of the Passaic River. So we’re here to help. Real news may give you facts. The Jersey Backup gives you the truth.
The about page clearly explains the intent:
The Jersey Backup is the latest incarnation of what has been a long and proud lineage of muckraking publications. It all started in 1879 with the Bloomfield Bullshitter, which bravely noted former general and current Gov. George Brinton McClellan lost a key battle during the Civil War to a herd of poorly shorn sheep.

In the ensuring years, the publication bounced around the Garden State and was variously known as the Denville Dissembler, the Hamburg Humbug and the Jersey Journal. All the while, its staff kept true to the enduring belief that all New Jersey residents should know that what they’re reading is absolutely, positively, 100 percent true."
Check out the news.

March 26, 2009

Is Advance the surviving five-and-dime?

I reveal my age by referring to Kresege as a five-and-dime store in this day of dollar stores where things cost more then $1.

Still, I found this comparison of Advance and AdvanceInternet (and its new to Kresege and Kmart on/ worth reading.

Perhaps it is because I know the day is coming when some will remember newspapers with the same fondness I reserve for Kresege with its aisles of simple choices - the eight colors of thread, not 15 shades of blue; a few boxed games for children, not an entire store of toys and socks galore as long as black or white will suffice.

Check out the blog post that compares the strategies of retail and media companies.

What's being said about and by Advance,, Michigan newspapers

tweetHere's some of the latest reporting and blogging about the changes at the Michigan newspapers under the Advance Publication umbrella.

Twitter was still talking, with items like "Being a journalist is a privilege. Who else gets to cover their own funeral" and Tim McGuire saying:
"blogged today on drastic actions at Newhouse's Michigan papers. It's at McGuire on Media. It's got nostalgia AND melancholy."
The Michigan native talks about Michigan newspapers grapple with dramatic solutions.
"Numbness is starting to replace sadness with all these industry downsizing efforts , but the level of experimentation at the Michigan Newhouse papers is admirable. Everybody seems focused on finding the right business revenue models and that search is struggling. This search for the for the right cost model to responsibly serve readers is just as important a quest."
Paper Tiger shares more about the plans by sharing part two of Tony Dearing's interview. Learn more on hires, ad sales and content.

Crain's Detroit spoke to Steve Newhouse, who is spokesman for the Advance Publications on the consolidations, printing conversions and new online products for the eight Booth newspapers in Michigan. He shares some details on Booth salary cuts, including:
  • 15 percent range for Jackson Citizen-Patriot, Grand Rapid Press, Kalamazoo Gazette and Muskegon Chronicle.
  • Up to 50 percent for 345 employees at Bay City Times, Flint Journal and Saginaw News (145 up to 25%, 100 up to 30%, 75 up to 40% and 25 will make 50 percent less.)
Also discussed is why the move were made and what may be coming.

Grand Rapids Publisher Dan Gaydou is quoted in Editor & Publisher on what printing will be done on the Ann Arbor presses - twice weekly print editions and TMC product each week for Ann Arbor, Advance's Jackson Citizen-Patriot and regional copies of The New York Times. There also is some discussion on the Kalamazoo newspaper.

The CEO of published a letter to answer some questions about how the Ann Arbor changes affect that site.

Also on is Paula Gardner, now editor of the Michigan Business Review, talking about the changing model and reflecting on the closing of the Ypsilanti Press and Ann Arbor News. A colleague had recently shared a 1994 Ann Arbor News Ypsi edition:
"It's ironic to me that yet another story on that 1994 page introduces Tony Dearing as editor of the debuting Ypsilanti Press edition.
Today, he's introduced as chief content leader for"
The Review, also under the Advance umbrella, will continue publishing, according to a box inserted in the column on the changing of he news.
"These changes in Ann Arbor will come with pain both internally and in the community. But at this point they also bring hope that a sustainable business model grows in Ann Arbor that supports both the scope for daily news coverage and the professionalism that journalists bring to the job."
Not continuing is the Livingston Community News, a product of the Ann Arbor News. The Livingston Daily publishes a piece on the July ending that will leave 16 people looking for jobs.

The Ypsilanti Courier looks at how the closing of the News and opening of will affect its home base while a student at the University of Michigan Dearborn reflects on his chosen career in "Old Newspapers Don't Die, They Go Online."

While on the subject of death, a former Michigan man says he mourns the losses friends in the newspaper world face but he is done mourning newspapers in A Final Look Into the Coffin.

On Sunday, an Ann Arbor News reporter who already lost a job through a newspaper closing worried her newspaper might go to three-days a week. Read her thoughts in A column I never wanted to write as she rebounds from the closing of a second newspaper in her life.

The Ann Arbor Chronicle led me to "The Internet is not my newspaper" by sharing this from Mark O'Brien's Random Camera blog:
“It’s a sad commentary that a city the size of Ann Arbor cannot support a daily newspaper. I know that things have been tough on newspapers all over the country. But I wonder is it truly symptomatic of declining advertising revenues because of the web that some papers are going under, or is it the result of larger syndicates and big corporations that have only the shareholder’s interest, and not that of the people that they serve?"
Ken Doctor in Content Bridges looks at many of the changes coming to Michigan and echos a question:
"What's the difference between an "online-only" product, with two or three weekly editions (the Ann Arbor model) and three-day-a-week "daily" newspapers with stronger online presence? (Flint-Bay City-Saginaw)"
In the same thoughtful post, he concludes:
"It's one of intention. It's one of seeing the world through a new lens -- the way it is, rather than the way it was, newspaper-filtered and newspaper-mediated."
I encourage you to read "Michigan's spawns new hybrid age of news(papers) for its dance through the possibilities.

Let's end with a more optimistic Twitter find. Jeff Jarvis passed along a tweet from long-time friend Dave Morgan( davemorgannyc on Twitter:

"the Advance/Newhouse move in Michigan: bold, market-leading and right on target."
High praise from the man Jarvis once wanted to hire for Advance Internet and is behind online ad ventures Real Media, Tacoda , and now a self-described "entrepreneur working on the next big thing."

The Ann Arbor News, by the way, caught up with Jarvis to talk about the changes:
"What we need right now is a lot of development, invention and experiments. We will find a way to do it online. ... It is a time of great challenge for all of us in the newspaper industry. It is also a time of critically important innovation. There will be some tremendous learning.''
Reporter Tom Gannert also talked to Randy Siegel, president of Parade Publications and co-founder of the Newspaper Project:
"I think this is a new era in experimentation,. It is a very bold, strategic move. There is certainly some risk involved. But if it works out well, it will help a lot of other newspaper companies around the country figure out their respective strategies.''
(I wrote about his piece on the newspaper naysayers in Watching the Newhouse spiral)

That's it. On to new topics, family matters and housekeeping.

March 25, 2009

Facebook quiz leads to post-journalism jobs

"Take a buyout? Get laid off? Or just plain quit your media job? Find out what you should do next."

That's the intro to a new quiz on Facebook. Go ahead. Answer 10 questions like:
  • What was your proudest moment in journalism?
  • What do you do when you hear sirens?
  • How many times have sources called your editor?
  • Turn your keyboard upside down and shake. What comes out?
Some have been told they should become bartenders, hacks, and flack, a position that comes with this message:
"You're destined for the dark side. The good news: the money is better. The bad news: your soul is sold."
What kind of post-journalism job should I get? -- click here to find out!

Don't like the questions or answers? There's a link so you can create your own quiz. evolving, product leaders tell Michigan bloggers, journalists

The details on what are fuzzy, but it is clear that the Newhouse organization believes it has found the perfect community and time to create new products for a media organization.

"We're starting from zero, and we're going to do what we should do," Tony Dearing who heads up the content development for the new product, told employees of the Ann Arbor News on the day the Michigan workers learned of the newspaper's end. "... Because it doesn't exist, it's hard to explain what it is, or what's it going to be"

But Tony and president Matt Kraner spent much of Monday trying to describe it - the, an online community information center that also will birth a new print product twice weekly, - to Michigan audiences. They also expanded the product's reach with a Facebook page and Twitter account, where one Tweet suggested an "information ecosystem" is more of what we hope to grow.

Dearing and Kraner talked with newspaper employees. Dearing also called two former Ann Arbor News employees who head up their own online ventures. (I had to postpone my update from my former boss.)

Jim Carty, sports writer turned law student and blogger frequently posting on his former newspaper, posted part one of his hour-plus interview with Tony early Tuesday and promised two more Q&A installments.

Also posted on Paper Tiger is a transcript of Dearing and Kraner addressing the Ann Arbor News staff Monday afternoon at a local hotel. Carty said the source was an A2 News employee who taped it for personal use.

Tony also talked to Mary Morgan, who is the publisher of The Ann Arbor Chronicle, an online local news publication started in September 2008. He told Carty that the Chronicle's mews feed was one of about 20 that he reads daily. Tony also praised the Chronicle in several interviews, including:
"Her passion and her commitment says that as good as the Ann Arbor News' reporting is, there are other things you can be doing as well."
Morgan, who worked a number of jobs such as business and opinion editor during her 12 years at the News, saw that coverge was updated through out the day on her site and also wrote a column on Why we grieve the Ann Arbor News" while dealing with her mother's death.

In Paper Tiger's first part of the Dearing interview you'll find a brief outline of staffing for, some philosophy and some of the challenges expected. There seems to be a startup thinking, including outsourcing tasks that others can do better. It also seems like the project will try borrowing from innovators, heavy into linking, and trying to blend journalistic ways with people's growing interest in connecting online.

The Ann Arbor area was picked to go with this new venture because of its demographics, including a younger population that is more likely to rent then own their living quarters, and the network of better Internet connections & usage that is higher other Michigan markets.

I don't have any inside information - that is just what I have gleaned online and over the years working with Tony and some of the others working on the project.

Tony is a long time print journalist who has worked at becoming comfortable online. (Ask him about Idol Chatter and Lakisha Jones). Those efforts included his own blog while at The Flint Journal and encouraging others to develop online skills. A few years ago, he also organized an AP Michigan editors panel on new media that I was on.

By the way, Detroit's Crain's interviewed Steve Newhouse, chairman of after the Newhouse family made public its decision to close the Ann Arbor News and reduce publication days, jobs and benefits at its other Michigan newspapers. Booth Newspapers is a subsidiary of New York City-based Advance Publications Inc. that’s owned by the Newhouses.

Jeff Jarvis, who has been involved with Advance Internet for many years and helped in the planning of the latest online project, also blogged about the Ann Arbor project. But he said little beyond
"They are holding community meetings starting in April to do that. I’ll talk more about the project as its proceeds. "

I expect to keep talking about the project and other changes in the world around me even as I make my daughter's battle against breast cancer my number one priority.

As someone who first got online when you needed a university or science connection, these are exciting times. As someone who has worked for six newspapers and with another eight, these are painful times. Eleven months into my own buyout-funded sabatical, I have more questions then answers.

Is it time for Internship or multimedia training?

In the midst of the newspaper layoffs and buyouts, it was refreshing to see that something that might actually help you get a journalism job, even in this rotten economy.

Rob Curley is pretty specific in saying what he wants, especially noting that skillset is important. but mindset is most important. He also says:
"It means we’re looking for at least a couple of people to help us on the news side of, a journalist to help us with, a sports journalist to help us across all of our sites, and a video journalist to help us with our upcoming, new daily television show.

"We want solid journalists who can write their backsides off. (Unless you’re applying for the videographer position, and even then you should still be able to write well, as well as be able to shoot and edit your backside off.)

"We’re also looking for programmers with an understanding of Django. And if you’re a designer with killer Flash or motion-graphics skills, we want you."
Those positions are internships and details about length, pay, etc. are in the post.

Pay, imagine that. So different from what the former managing editor ofthe TV Guide is getting, according to the The Los Angeles Times. Lois Draegin, who was laid off from her TV Guide job in spring 2008 ,is an unpaid intern at, the Women on the Web site aimed at those over 40.

She took the internship as a way to fill out her resume and learn more about URLs, SEO and other Internet items, reports Geraldine Baum. . Her first first story received 200 clicks, whereas her second drew 5,000. The Times story talks about what she's learning and what a much younger intern is learning. wowOwow sees Executive Interns as a way to fight recession. A separate wowOwow items suggests that others should consider creating Executive Interships.

If you are laid off or furloughed, you might want to listen to Angela Grant who suggests on News Videographer that you become a multimedia wizard.

She was inspired by a blog post on a free six-week training opportunity that teaches you "to produce cutting edge content for TV, radio, online and mobile." First, one week of intense training. Second, four weeks getting paid to produce multimedia for a real news organization. Third, another week of intense training. The only catch — INFUZE is in the UK and the deadline is past.

But Grant said it gave her an idea:
"If you were unfortunate enough to get laid off recently, this may be a good opportunity to take the time to teach yourself how to shoot video. No pressure, plenty of time. It would certainly sweeten you up and make you stand out in the harsh job market."
I suggest you start with reading NewsVideographer and look for the Training Sites listed on the right site of the blog. She includes a number of possibilities, including:
FUZE suggested that folks should look at I still like the Mastering Multimedia blog, especially this entry: "Stop bitchin' and just train yourself." And despite the gloomy outlook for many right, now the blog author is still optimistic about newspaper video surviving.

And I'm sorry that I don't remember who shared this link first, but you can find 100 free open courses on journalism, bloging and new media here.

By the way, Kmart has the Flip video cameras on sale this week. They are not the world's best cameras, but you can do a lot with them. A quick start at a low price.

And this just in from Mostly Media: KSU's Center For Sustainable Journalism Hiring A Director

Hey Atlanta journos - especially recently laid-off ones: KSU’s Center For Sustainable Journalism, co-founded by SoCon co-founder, Leonard Witt, is hiring a director. This is an exciting opportunity for the right person. Details are here.

You might find these posts helpful:

March 24, 2009

Why May for Advance pension changes and other musings online about Monday's talks

I'm rushed so just some of the things I've picked up about Advance Publications changes out on the web and in my RSS feeds.

Pensions are not easy to understand, so this blog post on NJ Voices helps explain some of the technical parts. Read Trust the Ledger, not New Jersey, on pension changes.

For instance, why mid-May for benefit changes?
"They froze benefit accruals so the funding hole wouldn't get deeper. In general, any amendment that reduces the rate of future accruals requires a 45-day advance notice to participants [ERISA §204(h)]. That's why they told people today so nobody would accrue past mid-May. That May date is also important since most benefit accruals for the year require 1,000 hours of service. If benefits are frozen prior to achieving 1,000 hours in 2009, there is no 2009 benefit accrual."
Blogger John Bury is an Enrolled Actuary with his own pension consulting firm in Montclair, New Jersey. He shares a link to other pension plans here.

And while we're cruising in New Jersey I discovered TV watching was tough for Allan Sepinwall, the TV critic of The Star-Ledger. He writes the blog What's Alan Watching and said this about How I Met Your Mother:
"Now, admittedly, today's news at the paper may well have made it impossible for me to enjoy a storyline about fake jobs, Ted being on the verge of getting fired, a room designed for firing people, etc., but I don't think so. The biggest laugh I had at the episode was the security cam montage of Barney firing people"
Some of the Newhouse newspapers published letters from the publishers online, including the Oregonian. A letter from the Oregonian publishers Fred and Patrick Stickel details changes within that newspaper and told employees how to calculate their pension benefits.

There was a blog post and an article posted on OregonLive about the changes that include the Stickels and editor Sandy Rowe taking 15 percent pay cuts while other staff will see salaries reduced 5-10 percent; pensions will be frozen in May with company contributions to 401ks increasing. Also some circulation changes coming and some part-timers will lose their jobs.

A slightly different take is offered in this article Oregonian issues furloughs, pension freeze after losing millions.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer announced its cuts and warned more changes may come.
"President Terrance C. Z. Egger announced that full-time, non-union employees must take 10 days of unpaid leave between April 20 and Oct. 4.Full-time and part-time non-union employees will see their first $50,000 of pay cut by 8 percent and any additional pay reduced by 10 percent as of June 1. The furloughs involve 370 employees. Pay cuts will affect about 450 of the Plain Dealer's 1,055 workers. The newspaper also is evaluating its employee benefits packages and could make changes this summer."
An Oregon blogger wrote that a 10 percent pay cut is 90 percent better than laid off but starts off:
"I felt like I was at a funeral today and that is so incredibly sad to me.
Then, the blogger shares the better attitude:
"At the same time, I feel incredibly blessed and fortunate to work for Advance - most other papers have layed off much of their staff, cut benefits, frozen 401K matches and reduced salaries. I am still employed, I still have great benefits for myself and my husband (we certainly need those right now) and I still get to say that I work for one of the best papers in the country. I just wish I was confident that I would have that long-term. But as someone I know said recently, "nothing lasts forever."
Meanwhile, the demise of the Ann Arbor News brings out support for newspapers from Ann Arbor blogger Mark Maynard:
"Newspapers, when they function well, invest time and money in cultivating leads, checking facts and really digging into stories. They demand accountability. The bottom line is, I don’t know that I’d want to live in a community that isn’t served by real journalists."
The changes brought some reminiscing. In Old newspapers don't just die, they .... Mark Silvia says
"As someone who spent some of his most memorable early years in the business in Michigan, at the Muskegon Chronicle - it took me four hours to get there from Saginaw - and who once traveled to corporate headquarters in Ann Arbor for some management screening which included a couch-session with a psychiatrist - which could be considered essential to continuing work in journalism today - we could not help but wince at today's news of the Ann Arbor News ceasing publication."
Tom Wickham, who has worked at a number of the Michigan Advance newspapers, remembers what happened during his years as a Newhouse employee in No celebrating here before moving onto the issue of newspapers.
"Frankly, I agree that the newspapers need to adapt to survive. But it does nothing to assuage the melancholy feeling that came over me today when I read the news, online, of course. I immediately tweeted the story to others in my network and I placed a link on my Facebook page."
Wickham also replied in another post to a former friend celebrating the demise of newspapers.
"It is sad that you see the death of newspapers as something to celebrate. While you are entitled to your opinion, your comments cut deep. The people impacted by the changes are my dear friends. Many will lose their jobs. Some, I am sure, even share the political views as you do, but seem to be justifiable collateral damage in your eyes."
Fitz and Jen talk about the "three forces that killed Ann Arbor News" on the E&P site.

But let's end on a more positive note with a thoughtful post assuring all that journalism is not ending comes from Jane Briggs-Bunting, who is director of the J-School at Michigan State University. She starts by noting the effects of the economy and changes born because of technology.
“ The times have changed. The news and information delivery models will be different. And news organizations like newspapers, TV and radio are scrambling to catch up (and frankly, somehow must have missed that press release when Tim Berners-Lee developed the World Wide Web, or Craigslist started running free classified and…the list goes on and on.”
Make no mistake, these are not easy times.
"This is shake up, break up and then we will make it up. The founding fathers didn’t protect a free press in the 1st Amendment to be nice guys. They did it because they got it that someone had to watchdog government and the press was the one entity to do that—fearlessly.....
....So hang on. This makes the worst roller coaster in the world look like a kiddie ride. This is scary, challenging, thrilling, fun and most of us will live through it and even benefit.

Change can be good - even in Facebook

Change is tough ... on all fronts. But trust me, you're going to get used to the new Facebook. And if you're a reporter, or just someone dying to know something, Facebook will become a more valuable tool.

I was able to follow what was happening with some Michigan newspapers because I had assigned some contacts to groups that let me scan their status updates and postings quickly by filtering my newsfeed on the opening page

The pages for causes, businesses and organizations are becoming more valuable. In some ways, they remind me of the early days of geocities, angelfire and other templated sites that made it easy for almost anyone to build a web site and get traffic easily.

Lots of changes, but as Stacy Lukasavitz from Fenton, Michigan, says in Attention: Facebook Luddites — STOP WHINING!:
"Social sites, much like software, much like hardware, much like anything, evolve over time. Changes will be made as more people use a product. You may not like all of them, but the usability that Facebook has now is tremendous compared to when it began. When you first started listening to mp3s, did you kick and scream to bring CDs back? When you first started listening to CDs, did you cry and complain that you wanted cassette tapes back? Not bloody likely."
Out on the web, some bloggers help me understand some of the possibilities of Facebook. For instance, Rob Diana wrote about mining Facebook for data, building on a Chris Messina *post on the value achieved online when everyone uses their own names. Robert Scoble goes further on illustrating how Facebook could be a goldmine for marketers, using his new father-to-be status as a down-to-earth example.

Jesse Stay from Stay N' Alive shows how some coming Facebook features means The Potential for Facebook Search Kicks Twitter’s butt. His explanations helped me a lot.

Some of the possibility depends on your definition of Facebook friends. It's a subject that came up recently in a family discussion - one member doesn't believe I could know everyone on my list.

So I loved it that Robert Scoble nailed the subject of friends in Scoble responsible for destroying the utility of the social graph. It means I have to ask:

Are we friends? Are we connected on Facebook? Know me well enough for LinkedIn? Or just want to see what I'm doing online via FriendFeed?

* This post was updated because I had Chris Messina's first name wrong. I've apologized.

March 23, 2009

Michigan newspapers announce changes; new online effort in Ann Arbor

The chain of newspapers informally known as Booth Newspapers announced changes today that include the closing of the Ann Arbor News, the opening of a hybrid online-print product that invites community participation, three editions instead of seven for three newspapers, and salary and benefit cuts for the newspaper employees.

Employees at other newspapers in the Newhouse/Advance Publication alliance also are reporting salary and benefit cuts.
(video below) will offer news coverage to the Ann Arbor market. It will be a site independent of the joint site now serving the eight Booth Newspapers. A print product, created out of Jackson, will be available on Thursdays and Sundays. Plus, the operation will seek community input in designing the product and contributing to the coverage.

The Bay City Times, Flint Journal, and Saginaw News will print three times a week instead of seven times. Printing operations will be combined. Plus, some sections will be the same, including the new Diversions (TV listings, puzzles and advice), Social (friends and family news), Let's Go (what to do where) and Posh. There's also a hint about a Great Lakes Bay news section on the Bay City and Saginaw announcements.

(Update via Twitters from employees: Flint, Saginaw, Bay City newspapers 35% layoffs; pension freeze May 14 but more to 401k; 25% pay cuts; job pledge void)

Salary and benefit cuts were announced for employees at the Kalamazoo Gazette, Grand Rapids Press, Jackson Citizens Patriot and Muskegon Chronicle.

Editorial production for Kalamazoo and Muskegon newspapers moves to Grand Rapids this summer. The Kalamazoo publisher also says its printing operation may also move to Grand Rapids.

Here are links to Michigan announcements:
Ann Arbor News Press Release March 23
Ann Arbor News to close in July. will launch with daily reporting on the web and a bi-weekly print edition (Thursdays and Sundays). (Note: The site is live, public meetings set up so community can contribute)
Letter from Ann Arbor News Publisher March 23
This is a difficult day for all of us at The Ann Arbor News. I've announced to my colleagues here that we will publish our last edition in July.
Coverage on mlive March 23
The Ann Arbor News will close in July and will be replaced by a Web-based, media company called

The Flint Journal announces big changes
Beginning June 1, The Journal, The Saginaw News and The Bay City Times will publish intensely local print editions only on Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays, which research shows are the highest readership days for newspapers.
A letter from the Journal publisher
Frequently asked questions and answers for Journal readers

Saginaw News announces changes

Grand Rapids Press institutes salary, benefit cuts

GRAND RAPIDS - The Grand Rapids Press will reduce wages and add cost-sharing provisions to the health benefit package for all employees beginning in June, Publisher Dan Gaydou announced Monday.The announcement comes as a response to the slow economy and its impact on advertisers.

Kalamazoo editorial production to move

Editorial production center to open in Grand Rapids this summer, looking at joint printing operation

Jackson paper to to print new Ann Arbor product

The Jackson operations will print the twice weekly edition of product (Coming out on Thursdays and Sundays. The publisher also said that wages and benefit reductions are planned.

A note to Chronicle readers from Publisher and Editor Paul M. Keep

Bay City Forward - Information on the future of The Bay City Times

Geek gurus on end of dead-tree media wrong, rants SFgate columnist

Out in San Francisco, Mark Moford has had it and he's not going to take it any more from the 'smart, motley crew of big-name, big-brained tech seers and programmers and futurists" known only by Slashdot regulars, co-founder of Digg, those with "a fetish for hardcore database programming" or stargazers at the SXSW Interactive event.

Oh yeah, Moford has had it with Clay "Thinking the Unthinkable" Shirkey and Dave "If you Don't Like the News" Winer, and Steven "Old Growth Media" Johnson and the others who predict the end of newspapers. He lays out his arguments in a post titled "Die, newspapers, die!" and even includes links to the works that set him off.

It basically boils down to a belief that a newspaper - in print or online - means:
"you immediately have an anchor, some credibility and authority, not to mention a sense of place and context. In whatever you read, you know there has been, at minimum, some real editorial oversight and integrity of product borne of trained, experienced editors and writers who, believe it or not, still value accuracy and truth above all else.

Don't believe me? I understand. Get your contemptuous butt into a real, extant newsroom (yes, before they're all gone), sit in on a few editorial meetings, talk to actual reporters who haven't yet been laid off, see how the meat is made, and decide for yourself."

Please do read his words so carefully put together. But - spoiler alert - just know that the man is on Facebook and jas a Twitter account besides his column on The bottom line, I think, is he wants to make sure that someone will keep paying for content.

March 22, 2009

A newspaper's blogger's apology for silence gets debate on newspapers, politics going

Andrew Heller, a Flint Journal columnist who now blogs a lot, recently apologized to his online readers for being more quiet then usual. The reaction was unexpected.
"Well, it's nice to see I can launch an entire media/politics discussion with a mere apology."
The responses were all over the map, with many focusing on why people don't read newspapers. Blaming lifestyle, the liberal bias of newspapers, and oh so much more.

The newest comments are at the top and there's no threading so start at the bottom of page.

Dreamers can help publishers keep offering luxury of 'unplugged content'

I started my morning by reading a print edition of a newspaper, currently delivered seven days a week to my home. That reminded me how much I agree with John Blossom that it is a "luxury to spend time reading "unplugged" content."

It's a luxury I've indulged in this week as the changing of chemo treatments for my daughter offered the opportunity to work my way through stacks of magazines that now will go to the waiting rooms of medical facilities in need of new distractions.

Yet, as I turned the pages I realized that I only read certain features and departments of each. That makes me eager for the success of projects like Printcasting and Time MINE. It makes me eager for the success of creative thinkers like those meeting this weekend for RevenuePointTwoZero or on Apil 25 for BarCamp Philly.

Printcasting lets you create a digital, print as a PDF, magazine on any subject. You can see samples for the arts, nutrition and many other subjects.

Time MINE lets you build a magazine from articles found in Time, Travel & Leisure, Real Simple, Sports Illustrated, Food and Wine, Money, InStyle and Golf or delivery by email or post office box.

As I clipped a few cartoons that will likely end up in collaged cards for friends and family, I realized I'd soon be missing pieces of the stories told on comic pages. I wondered why all the publishers are picking the same days to publish. Wouldn't those of us still attracted to print subscribe to another newspaper if it filled a void? So I get the Detroit Free Press three days and the Detroit News the other days. Or perhaps the Detroit papers three days and the Michigan East edition the other four.

That gets me agreeing again with John Blossom, on ContentBlogger. His post acknowledges that Time MINE shows "Online Lessons Creep Into Print Content" with its blending of articles in a common publication. He points out that this is just another small step for Time, which already customized some editorial and advertising based on ZIP codes.

"So kudos for Time testing the waters for their MINE publication, but I do hope that major publishers will finally begin to see the light and start enabling the printing of massively customized print and print-formatted publications that aggregate content from whatever sources interest their audiences the most.

"The result will be far higher ad rates, far higher returns on investment and a much more healthy print publishing business in the long run. Let's stop allowing printing presses to go dark in major cities just because the one publishing company running them cannot build a business model to support them.

"Let those printing presses role with whatever content will command the highest interest from audiences from whatever sources produce it, and the money will follow with due haste.

Let's hope so.

Ann Arbor News editor Petykiewicz to retire

The Ann Arbor News, another Advance Publication, followed up the short announcement on its editor's pending retirement with a longer article today. It's a run through of Ed Petykiewicz career at the various Newhouse Advance Publications, including a stint at the Washington Bureau that gave him insight to the company he has worked for:
"In Washington, which is a mecca for journalists, I realized the way I was treated and the way other reporters were treated was drastically different."
(It's an experience that most won't be able to repeat. The bureau closed in November as have Washington Bureaus for Copley Newspaper, Des Moines, Hartford, Houston, Pittsburgh, Salt Lake City, San Francisco and Toledo. The Cox chain, publisher of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Austin American-Statesman and fifteen other papers, will padlock its DC bureau on April 1.)

Petykiewicz remains optimistic about the future of journalism:

"People ask, will journalism survive and I think it will survive. The way stories are told will be different and the way they are delivered will be different. But it's the journalists who have fairness and objectivity who will be sought out online. ... I believe we are on a short timeline for the printed newspaper."
His advice for people just entering the field of journalism:
"If you are going to do it, make sure you are well (educated) on the technical side as well as the journalism side. ... If you are not resilient, go somewhere else."
Perhaps most telling is the response to the challenges he faced as an editor:
"The hardest, toughest part of my career, the toughest thing I ever had to do, was the three days when I had to sit down with everyone in the newsroom and talk to them about the buyout. It was draining for me. It was unbelievably hard."
And though the man who first went to school thinking he'd become a lawyer says he's retiring now to avoid making the mistake his father did - "I'm not someone who wants to die in the saddle." - don't you wonder how much the current situation played into that decision.

Related articles:
Flint Journal Editor Tony Dearing joining Advance Internet