May 28, 2009

Sailing into sale of goods keeps me rushing

It's Rush Week at the house.

I am rushing to discard things for the neighborhood garage sale. As I stumble through boxes - some unopened since 1994! - I am questioning why I ever thought I would need 15 (or more) wine glasses, two punch bowls and nearly every book and stuffed animal owned by my daughter. Or why I have, need or want a 2000 mold.

Meanwhile, my daughter discovered the magnets in the her newspaper purses were too strong for the material so she had to change the design. She's hoping to sell out of those and her other items at the garage sale. Surgery is one week away and who knows what will be possible after that.

It's a bit tense here, so she used a gift from one of my old bosses to go to the show with her boyfriend. (Six people at the movies! How can that number make showing the movie worthwhile.)

The Red Wings won so that made some folks here happy. I listened as I skated through another round of medical bills. Gee, now I show there's only a $6,000 difference between what I say we owe and and "they" say we owe on one bill. I understand why people give up and just work out agreements to pay. Almost every medical visit involved a bill from one source for people and another bill for equipment, space and drugs.

Each Explanation of Benefits makes me grateful we have health insurance. The costs for service for those with insurances is so much less.
And it is surprising how the cost varies according to the insurance you have. Makes me thankfulI don't work in the billing department.

Time to rush out ... I see hired a community director and its post about comments is getting some chatter outside its blog. More to come when I am not blogging by iPhone and able to do links easier.

Today's Flint Journal has its new entertainment section. The area's longtime Girl Scout camp is open four more days. Your Magazine published its last issue. Speaking of last, the writer behind the Gannett Blog says his sanity requires him to move on so that company tracker will soon fade away .

May 26, 2009

Sorry. Even the coolness of the iPhone won't improve watching

I suppose on a slow, sleepness night there's a reason for this video that shows how the June 1 cover of New Yorker was created.

But for most of the world watching how artist Jorge Colombo uses the iPhone application Brushes to do the cover won't cut it.

Even Colombo is quoted as saying a virtual finger painting is not such a big deal:

“Imagine twenty years ago, writing about these people who are sending these letters on their computer.”

The New Yorker says he found that "watching the video playback has made him aware that how he draws a picture can tell a story, and he’s hoping to build suspense as he builds up layers of color and shape."

Of course, the news of what the Conde Nast magazine was doing did draw me to the site and got me to look at the Table of Contents. So maybe the video did what it was supposed to do - notice how the Newhouse magazine gives some content away, holds some for subscribers only and uses the web to offer options not possible in print.

Charging more for less - it's the American way, right?

The hot news of propane tanks coming with less gas is the type of story that gets my husband, whom I love dearly, going.

It's just one more piece of evidence of how "they" try to fool "us" into believing we're still getting a deal, according to the guy who began his vacation being sick. (How sick? He went to a doctor Saturday morning. Plus, we had to uninvite relatives from coming to our house for a potluck cookout. Fortunately, another relative offered her place as the gathering spot so that worked for all but the nephew who was disappointed that his uncle's pool was not moved along with the picnic.)

OK, back to same-size boxes and bags that hold fewer items. It bugs my husband a lot so I know he'll enjoy this link over to The Daily Derelict, which shares how a local newspaper is turning away customers by charging them more for less.

I suspect we'll be reading more complaints as the week goes on and The Flint Journal, Bay City Times, and Saginaw News switch to the new sections -- they start Thursday -- and new publishing schedule on June 1. A two-page ad in Sunday's Journal explained where people will find items in the newspaper and how to access obituaries on non-print days.

Speaking of things ending, this is the last week for Jay Leno in the 11:30 p.m. time slot so he featured some of his favorite headlines Monday night. That reminded me of this from Overheard in the Newsroom:
"One of the single worst things you can say to a copy editor is, ‘We were on Leno on Monday night.’”
Speaking of talking to copy editors, there are two gatherings this week where that could happen as folks who once worked or still work or will work for the Flint-based newspapers will meet.

I hope to be there despite the generosity of my husband who hates to be sick alone.

Some possible related posts:
Leno turning patriotic with free show for unemployed

Jay Leno to the rescue
Twittering, Digg make it to late-night TV

New executive editor reflects on changes

or head over to Free From Editors for a number of posts on the changes in mid-Micihgan

or try Flint Foward for the official news.

May 25, 2009

Citizens won't let newspaper stop printing

The idea of losing their community newspaper was too much for some in one Michigan community so "the presses will roll on - for now."
"The Birmingham Eccentric was to have published its last edition next Sunday after 131 years of operation, But a grass-roots effort to save the paper has gained momentum in the past few weeks, leading Observer & Eccentric officials to continue publishing on Sundays — but with some key conditions.
  • The paper must generate 3,000 new paid subscriptions by July 1 and a total of 5,000 subscriptions by Oct. 1.
  • Ad revenue also must increase to put the paper on a profitable basis."
Possible? Maybe. The small group that has bought some time will seek suggestions and hopes to attract a large turnout to show support at a “Town Hall Meeting to Save the Eccentric” from 7-8:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 3, at The Community House. .

Original plans called for the Birmingham, West Bloomfield, Troy and Rochester editions of the Eccentric to close May 31. The Southfield edition and the Observer & Eccentric group’s Mirror newspaper are merging into a multi-community Sunday newspaper called the South Oakland Eccentric.

Thanks to a posting from Rick Haglund on Facebook for leading me to the news of the community effort to keep the newspaper open I couldn't find anything new about the rest of the newspapers.

By the way, Hamtramck has a newspaper again - the Hamtramck Review. (There's a PDF of a 10-page newspaper being published less then a month after the Hamtramck Citizen closed April 20.

Att the Rethink News symposium at Michigan State University, Clare Pfeiffer Ramsey, managing editor of Model D, talked about how some in Hamtramck were looking for ways to keep a newspaper going, including using high school students to report the news. Metro Times had a few more details on the effort to revive a newspaper in the Detroit suburb.

While you are on the Birmingham Eccentric site, you can check out a column from the editor, Greg Kowalski. He suggested that newspapers should learn from Hollywood, and its battle against TVs in his May 21 column.
"By the early 1950s, the film studios knew they needed something new to combat the popularity of TV. They proceeded on the concept that films had to give the viewers something they couldn't get at home. That led to the development of Cinemascope ... a bit of a gimmick ... But it was different. And it worked. It gave the studios a way to hold onto the audiences until better business practices could be adopted."
Kowalski also suggested that newspapers remember that Hollywood studios first blocked their content from TV and that newspapers need to use their "infrastructure and experience to deliver top quality reporting" to develop a business model to ensure a future.

Not all newspapers are failing in Michigan. Detroit's Crain Business looks at the state of weekly newspapers in Michigan, noting that C&G Newspapers is expanding its 19 free direct-mail weeklies.