July 11, 2009

Going, going, gone in Detroit

waving hand


The Detroit News noted the leaving of Mike Lloyd as he "signs off after 42 years as a journalist."

Don't call it retirement, a Detroit reporter learned and shared:
"Don't relegate me to the trash bin that quickly," he said, snapping at a reporter for possibly the last time. "There's still some life in me."
Still, I never did find any farewells to folks who recently left The Detroit News in the News. Fortunately, others did tell us about the 10 journalists fired in May - financial reasons, not employee problems.

Bill Shea talked to Charlie Cain, who ended a 34-year journalism career - the last 18 as the Detroit News' Lansing Bureau chief. It's a bathroom remodeling job and freelancing that unexpectedly will fill Charlie Cain's summer.

On Blogging for Michigan, Cain's firing was called "another nail in the Detroit News coffin."

A Lansing news magazine wrote about his firing as the lead-in to "Capitol news coverage dying."
(That article also looks at how coverage of the legislature has dwindled to two pay-only services.)

The 22 trimmed at the Detroit Free Press are highlighted in a Richard Prince Journal-ism column. He noted 15 of the journalists out at the Detroit Free Press are women, six African American, two Hispanic and two are Asian American.

That number includes columnist Desiree Cooper, who said goodbye in "With faith, miracles can still happen." and posted it in her new Detroit Diary.

Prince also said those leaving included editorial writer Nichole Christian, and Fred Fluker, and Martin Westman, both graphic designers; "Laura Varon Brown, Audience editor and columnist, who responded to readers' questions about the paper; Javan Kienzle, part-time copy editor; Christy Arboscello, a reporter who is Asian American, who resigned in May; Emilia Askari, an Asian American reporter who was part time; Dan Cortez, a part-time reporter who is Hispanic; part-time reporter Kim North Shine; part-time copy editor Amy Butters; Janice Monarrez and Julie Armstrong, part-time Web editors; Paul Barrett and Bernie Czarniecki, sports agate editors; and Rodney Curtis, assistant photo editor.

Prince also named three who resigned to save positions: Morgan Phillips, a full-time designer; Robin Payne, a part-time editorial research assistant who is black, and Robert Ellis, a full-time copy editor.

Askari, 49, told Journal-isms she has a scholarship to get a two-year master's program at the University of Michigan's School of Information, where she'll concentrate on social computing or human-computer interactions.

Christian told Prince she's trying T-shirt design and Web consulting.

Zachary Gorchow is leaving the Detroit Free Press to return to Gongwer News Service to edit the Michigan Report early next month, according to a July 2 Gongwer Report. There's more about the former State News managing editor at the college newspaper's alumni site.

Another hello to Lisa Allmendinger, who has freelanced for the closing Ann Arbor News and will now report for the weekly Ann Arbor Journal.

And one more column that came through the Muskegon Chronicle but is actually from the Los Angels Time: "Stone's story holds lessons for today's newspeople." D.D. Guttenplan asks and then answers:
How did a 44-year-old man, who was almost completely deaf, reinvent himself as what many contemporary observers call the "first blogger."

Is it time for journalism schools to fade away?

Over on the Online Journalism Review blog, there's a a plea to "don't dismiss journalism schools just because newspapers are in trouble."

Trouble is brewing at Michigan State University as its School of Journalism director's resignation is still sought and its students and advisory panel say they don't know why.

And people aski if journalism school is necessary when we've got the YouTube Reporter Center and the Reuter's style guide available for anyone with an interest.

How journalism schools are changing

Larry Atkins, who teaches journalism at Temple University and Arcadia University, quickly hits how journalism schools and departments are accommodating a growing interest in the schools and the changing realities of the journalism profession in the review blog.

Emerging trends include:
  • getting students in the community (that's new?)
  • social media
  • global journalism
  • interactivity
Consider the source says that nagging voice: Would someone teaching journalism at a college say anything but keep 'em?

How MSU is not changing

Over at Michigan State University, some journalism faculty members are saying plans to revamp the curriculum are on hold while the director issue is settled. The plan to revise was unanimously backed in the spring, so perhaps that reluctance to carry out the desperately needed changes is one reason why the new dean of the College of Communication Arts wants change from the top down.

Is the idea of eliminating the school, proposed in 2004, back on the table?

President (she was provost then) Lou Anna Simon's plan recommended forming a new college - CALM - the College of Communication, Arts, Languages and Media - that would combine all of the departments from the College of Communication Arts and Sciences and some from the College of Arts & Letters.

Perhaps CALM is a way of saving money for the university that needs to find some major ways to save as the Michigan economy dives deeper in the hole.

YouTube can teach you everything

So, with the idea that some folks learn by watching the YouTube Reporting Center can show you how to cover the news via video.

7 videos
more info

3 videos
more info

3 videos
Ethics, Law, and Fact-checking

more info
6 videos
Presenting Your Story
9 hours ago
more info
35 videos
Expert Videos -
more info
6 videos
Interviews and Profiles
more info
5 videos
Citizen Reporting
more info

Then, there's the Reuters Handbook of Journalism that includes sections on standards and values; a guide to operations; a sports style guide and a section of specialised guidance on such issues as personal investments by journalists, dealing with threats and complaints and reporting information found on the internet.

Putting the handbook, the guidance for Reuters journalists , says Dean Wright is Global Editor, Ethics, Innovation and News Standards, was for reasons of transparency, service and geography. He gives a detailed explanation.

Oh heck, maybe what we really do need is this sponsor a journalist idea.

Remember "for just pennies a day you can clothe, feed and shelter newspaper professionals" and that "once payment is made we'll send you the name, bio and snail mail address of the newspaper professional your donations are supporting."

Real journalists are featured in the video, just don't go looking for that Michigan person, OK.

And, before you send your contribution I just ask that you take a look at the issues raised in the Neiman Labs four-parter on how sports journalism is changing now that sports organizations also are the media organizations.

July 10, 2009

Advance news organization changing video to match market

No longer daily, no longer read and rip and now grabbing an audience so says Neiman Lab of Ledger Live, the video show that started out as a daily, noontime video show. (The first one is still up.)

To be honest, I figured it died when John Hassell moved out the Star-Ledger into Advance Internet. Neiman explains that the smaller staff that resulted from the 200 or so buyouts is partially to explain for the irregularity and focus change.

Head to the lab for details on lessons learned:
“People want to watch two, three, four minutes of video on the topic they’re interested in,” host Brian Donohue said. “They don’t watch it in the linear fashion they watch on TV.”

The production drew mixed reviews when it first came out last July. Andy Dickinson asked July 29, 2008, if Ledger Live could save "newspaper video." He didn't really answer the question, but he did link to many of the others talking about the show, including:
Even as the effort was beginning, Rosenblum said change would be necessary:
"We’re gonna find out because newspapers like the Star Ledger and others are going to try and try and try again as they fine tune it and really invent it on the fly."
"At about 2:40 into this one, which is good and fun, and has personality and life to it, even if there’s some desk-sitting involved in the process, Brian Donohue takes a typical crackpot reader comment about immigration and does the fricking reporting."
  • DOUG FISHER on Commonsense Journalism called the snarking a shootout. and giving what I still think is good advice for video on the web:
    • Aim at a mobile audience
    • Be tight but newsy and have some attitude (translate: make me smile, make me growl, give me something to think and talk about while you're also bringing me up to date)
    • Stay fresh - update two or three times a day (the "we're airing this at noon and we'll update it tomorrow" is not going to cut it)
    • Have good visuals but remember your audience likely is to be mutitasking and so can't necessarily stay focused on your little screen.
John wrote 10 times about the show, including:
Video is becoming a growing part of the New Jersey experience. Neiman reminds us that some Star-Ledger video content will be making that transition soon: the newspaper recently announced a partnership with Verizon FIOS in which it will provide high school sports video on a hyperlocal station for FIOS subscribers.

Too much media in Ann Arbor, Michigan? Videos capture panel's thoughts.

UPDATED: If you're looking for a scapegoat for the changing media scene of Ann Arbor, Michigan, blame the economy, say a group of people involved with the newest media efforts in that comunity.

A local economic club and a weekly business magazine brought together representatives of five news organizations to talk about "evolution of local media" in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

The Ann Arbor News, which was not represented on the panel, covered the event. I'm borrowing most of its summary of the changing mediascape:
Advance Publications is closing the daily Ann Arbor News this month, its weekly Ann Arbor Business Review in August and launching a Web-centric news company called AnnArbor.com this month.

Last year, former News opinion editor Mary Morgan launched the Ann Arbor Chronicle, a news Web site, joining the longtime monthly Ann Arbor Observer, a news magazine also online. Heritage Newspapers plans to state the Ann Arbor Journal weekly.

Nathan Bomey, the associate editor for the Ann Arbor Business Review who will become a digital journalist for AnnArbor.com when his publication migrates, moderated the panel discussion that is now on Russell Video's YouTube channel. (Smart video company - they have a video ad there also.)

The Review hosted the event with the Washtenaw Economic Club Thursday morning.

Panelists included Paula Gardner, Business Review editor who also is moving to AnnArbor.com in August; Ann Arbor Chronicle's Mary Morgan; radio show host Lucy Ann Lance and Ann Arbor Observer's John Hilton.

AnnArbor.com's chief content director Tony Dearing shares quite a few details about the thinking behind how his news organization is shaping up.

Part 1 - Introduction to Ann Arbor's News: A computer crash delayed this video but it is now up (and skippable). Paula talked briefly about why such a panel and shared the news about the Ann Arbor Business Review's demise before Nathan introduced the panelists. He's surprised that many in the audience say they read newspapers before sharing that he sought a newspaper subscription for his 16th birthday but dropped it five years later when he left the market for an internship.

Part 2 - A Community Resource Will the lack of a daily newspaper mean that some segments of the community will lose their voices? This segment includes Dearing saying that "Newspapers not going away because people don't like them. It's the collapse of the economic model."

You'll also hear one competitor praising another for its effort as part of a discussion of how the community media efforts are finding their places.

Plus is citizen journalism really like "talk radio?"

Dearing said there will be 75 people who will be contributing information to the site, people with expertise in topics such as parenting, wine and books.

Part 3 - A Business Questions include: Is there room for all the media in Ann Arbor to survive? What's the business model? How important is branding?

Part 4 - A Catalyst for Conversation and Comments. A lively discussion about comment included an obersvation that The Ann Arbor Chronicle (not Observer as I said earlier) almost went without comments based on the founder's experience with comments on Mlive.com.

Part 5 - Questions and Answers, includes comments on aggregation and how a reporter reading blogs for two-and-a-half hours can boil the best down for a reader to consume in five minutes. Besides talking about the role of blogs as a news source, Dearing spends time on what what they can do in an online news media.

Part 6 - Questions and Answers, includes Dearing talking about a need for editing content before posted it goes online

(Morgan, by the way, was to also speak to the Ann Arbor Area Chamber of Commerce Thursday about how her news site fits into the overall scheme of things. I'm not sure if it was held.)

Another Michigan publication shifting to AnnArbor.com

The Ann Arbor Business Review announced Thursday that it will cease publishing Aug. 13, but the name, content and two staff members will shift to AnnArbor.com.

Paula Gardner will direct the new effort that will include a weekly e-newsletter and space in the AnnArbor.com Sunday print edition starting Aug. 16.

She's been on the Review awhile, not so long online. She joined the Review when it started as Business Direct Weekly in January 2003. She was promoted to editor in spring 2007 and also became editor of Oakland Business Review. She recently had her one year anniversary on Twitter.
"I'm not the queen of connectivity. LinkenIn leaves me cold. I've even passive-aggressively resisted joining Facebook for the same year that I've enjoyed Twitter. (Yes, I know. I'm the last person in Ann Arbor to start a page. I'm almost there. Really.)"
Nathan Bomey, now associate editor, will become a digital journalist for the effort.

By the way, Bomey started his day by moderating a panel on Ann Arbor's shifting media market, a joint event between Business Review the Washtenaw Economic Club. That panel included Paula, AnnArbor.com's Tony Dearing, Ann Arbor Chronicle's Mary Morgan, radio show host Lucy Ann Lance and Ann Arbor Observer's John Hilton.

He solicited some of the questions via Twitter.

Nathan joined the "Ann Arbor Business Review in September 2006, covering technology, alternative energy, life sciences, venture capital, manufacturing and the Michigan economy." He created the "Michigan Business Innovation" blog on Mlive.com wife,

No word on the rest of the staff or the fate of the other Business Reviews in Michigan.

Business Review West Michigan prints weekly on Thursday. The Tri-Cities Business Review aimed at Saginaw, Bay City and Midland is already online-only and the Oakland Business Review switched to pure online publication in September.

More about the AnnArbor.com including:

July 9, 2009

Michigan city says yes to AnnArbor.com

The Ypsilanti (MI) City Council appointed AnnArbor.com as its newspaper of record, as the Ann Arbor News, its current paper of record, is set to shut down this month.

The News has been Ypsilanti’s official newspaper of record since 2005 when it replaced the Ypsilanti Courier. It was reaffirmed in February after a formal request for proposals was sought when the The Ypsilanti Courier noted that no formal bids were offered.

The Ypsilanti Citizen also covers the area. AnnArbor.com, which will offer two print editions each week while concentrating on delivering news via the web, and the Ann Arbor News, now publishing daily print editions and some news online, are owned by Advance Publications.

At least four of the the new staff have ties to Ypsilanti, including Amalie Nash, who worked as a reporter under Tony Dearing in the Ann Arbor New's Ypsilanti bureau, Steve Pepple, who was city editor in the bureau and Paula Gardner, who worked at the Ypsilanti Press.

More about the AnnArbor.com including:

July 8, 2009

More twittering Girl Scouts

A few more Girl Scout councils have started Twittering, including:

Girl Scouts of California's Central Coast - GirlScoutsCCC

Girl Scouts of Central Texas - GSCTXcouncil

Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta - GSGATL

Girl Scouts of New Mexico Trails

Girl Scouts of Northern California - GirlScoutsNorCalGGT

Girl Scouts of Rhode Island - gsri

Girl Scouts of Utah -gsutahceo

The whole list is on the original post.

Citizen journalism series looks at developing Michigan virtual newsroom project

Getting the right tools for the job can be one of the challenges of getting a community's help in reporting what's happening. The diversity of skills and comfort levels with technology can vary widely.

For instance, I'm working with 66 volunteers on a project that screams wiki to me. Yet, when a question about the type of computer someone is using is answered "laptop" I want to scream something that few want to hear.

Fortunately, there are folks working to pull together simple to use tools for community networks.

Michigan State University jumps in

Ironically, the deadline given Jane Briggs-Bunting for her resignation from the Michigan State University School of Journalism is the same day that Detroit Make It Here featured a project associated with her and MSU's School of Journalism.

Jonathan Morgan and his involvement with the Tandem Project is the focus of Developing virtual newsrooms: Platform to help community supplement dwindling coverage. The article is the second part of a series on citizen journalism in Michigan. (The first part of the citizen journalism series focused on "new media mix.")

Mignon-Media hired

Morgan is working with Mignon-Media to develop the virtual newsroom platform, a computer application expected in September. The article says the application will let groups set up pages with blogs, wikis and forums. Information can be made public or private, and participants will have unique roles, such as reporter, copy editor and managing editor.

(See It's My News, a website linked from Jeff Mignon's profile for an example of Mignon's work.)

Detroit Make It Here writes:
“Our hope is that a lot of communities will begin using the software and covering communities online,” said Briggs-Bunting. “I could see this working well in a small town that no longer has a paper.”

Public's help needed

Morgan, the multiplatform editor at the Detroit News, believes that journalists need the public's help in improving journalism.
"We need to include citizens in every step of the process so they understand the work behind and value of what we do, so they will be more willing to not just pay for news, but help us rethink how we fund news in the future."
That's from his answer to the question of how to do journalism with its core value, make money and attract news consumers/viewers/readers that was asked of all the participants at the Rethink the News symposium at MSU.

Morgan, who has a background in computer programming blogs, and teaches. Read why he blogs (with Michael Happy) on one Detroit neighborhood to gain insight into his take on what journalists need to do.

Get out of newsroom

He also thinks journalists need to be jugglers:
"Journalists can become involved with community -- find balance of involvement using principles of good journalism."
The more I heard him speak at the Rethink the News event the more I was glad he is involved with the Tandem Project.

Tandem grew out of a $230,000 Knight News Challenge grant to use college students to flesh out ideas on how to improve journalism using the Internet. Michigan State students and six other universities worked on the projects, which were presented at the 2007 Online News Association conference in Toronto.

Now, all we have to do is wait.

Read more about Jane Briggs-Bunting

AnnArbor.com picks up two ex-Boothies

Two journalists who worked for Booth Newspapers will move into new roles at AnnArbor.com

Bob Wheaton, who worked for The Flint Journal and the Jackson Citizen Patriot, will be a producer-copy editor for the news team. (His wife Rene has been writing some home decorating stories for Posh, a new section delivered in The Flint Journal, Bay Cities Times and Saginaw News.)

Ryan Stanton, most recently at the Bay City Times, will cover government for AnnArbor.com

More details on AnnArbor.com

I've written about the AnnArbor.com site before
and I've pulled together some other links if you'd like to catch up on that story.

July 7, 2009

Widsom of ages would fit in a Tweet

Steve Buttry pulls together Tweeting wisdom of the ages to to "dispute the myth that short equals shallow."

Like Gloria Steinem: A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle and

Helen Keller: It is a terrible thing to see and have no vision.

Go enjoy his work. Tweet. Tweet.

State News celebration reminds me how long a year can be

The place I really got my journalism education at- the State News - is about to celebrate its 100 years of existing with a dinner and a book.

The news organization, now offering a print edition and web site, actually is an independent organization, separating from the Michigan State University in 1971. It moved off campus and into its own building in 2005.

The State News Alumni Association will host a celebration the weekend of Sept. 12, 2009, in East Lansing, Michigan. A dinner is the main event, although football tickets may be available.

I'm promised no bagels or tacos will be served so perhaps some of the 50 or so people I worked with daily will show up. We won't have to make any food runs across the street, though perhaps some of us on buyouts, retirements or layoffs will be looking for change to purchase our tickets.

There were times when I thought my last year at at Michigan State University was 100 years long. That was the "year" I was editor-in-chief of the broadsheet published Mondays through Fridays. I put year in quotes because my appointment started early and ended late.

The final word

I was reminded of my longest year recently when a Facebook post asked if the newspaper's board of directors and editorial staff ever disagreed on the choice for editor.

It seems that the editorial department still gets to interview the editor applicants and recommend its top choice to the board of directors. But the board makes the final choice after it also interviews the candidates. Usually, the staff and board agree. Usually.

In January 2009, the board went with its own choice. Same thing happened in April 1976, when I was selected over the staff's unanimous selection.

Just say no

I was at Disney World for the first time when I got the call telling me the job was mine.

The next calls came from staff members lobbying me to not accept the position in the hopes that would force the board to appoint their choice. Others suggested I cut that vacation short and return to the newspaper right away instead of waiting to take the helm.

Later, though, I had the support of the staff. That helped when I faced an angry university president several times and had a few heated discussions with the board of directors. Oh, and I can't forget the lawyers.

MSU J school conflicts

Although many of the newsroom employees were enrolled in journalism school, there often were conflicts as employees chose newspaper experience over class assignments.

We worked at the separation of the school and the newspaper. Perhaps that is because the newspaper was still feeling its way to independence from the university.

I was surprised to learn that Jane Briggs-Bunting, who is the director of MSU's School of Journalism, is on the State News Board of Directors. That seems ripe for conflicts as the news organization frequently is at odds with the university. I'm hoping that's not why she's on the outs with the new dean of the College of Communication Arts.

1976 election night crew

Recently, I found a November 1976 election edition of The State News. That brought back memories of working late and pizzas.

I found bylines for Donna Bakun, Byron Baker, Jeanne Baron, Marti Benedetti, Kat Brown, Roxanne Brown, Alan Burlingham, Cathy Chown, Joni Cipriano, Anne Crowley, Jim DuFresne, Geoff Etynre, Phil Frame, Charlene Gray, Georgia Hanshew, Daniel Herman, Sean Hickey, Carole Leigh Hutton, Nancy Jarvis, Pat LaCroix, Joyce Laskowski, Ed Lion, Mike Macksood, Micki Maynard, Paula Mohr, Marna Moore, Janet R. Olsen, Bob Ourlian, Paul Novoselick, Judy Putnam, Tracy Reed, Marice Richter, Nancy Roger, Suzie Rollins, Edward Ronders, Mike Rouse, Michael Savel, Joe Scales, Laurie Scatterday, Ed Schreiber, Tom Shanahan, Don Spickler, Sue Steward, Anne Stuart, Michael Tanimura, Karla Vallance and Debbie Wolf.

There were photo credits for Dale Atkins, Laura Lynn Fistler and Linda Bray.

I worked with Ed Ronders at The Flint Journal and with others through Booth Newspapers. With the help of LinkedIn and Facebook, I even stay in touch with some of the crew.

Ironically, the 1976 newspaper also had a story about newspapers closing and facing dire times.

Tickets available

You can now order tickets to the Centennial celebration at the East Lansing Marriott at University Place, 300 M.A.C. Ave in downtown East Lansing. The reception begins at 6 p.m. with dinner at 7 p.m. $75 for alumni members and $100 for others.

The alumni reunion event will include induction of the newest members of our State News Hall of Fame, as well as a walk through the history of The State News and a look at what the newspaper is like today.

Can't wait? Take a look at multimedia presentation showing the history.

July 6, 2009

Journalist finds fun way to follow federal law enforcement?

A former Detroit News journalist took what he knew and created a specialty site that caught the attention of the (Detroit) Metro Times.

The magazine writes about ticklethewire, a web site that tracks federal law enforcement. It was started by Allan Lengel, who also worked for the Washington Post before turnng to this post-newspaper career.

Andrew Arena (pictured) , head of the Detroit FBI, talks about corruption and mortgage fraud in a showpiece now online.

TickleTheWire.com is named after a law enforcement term, which means to create a situation that will encourage targets of a probe to talk on a wiretapped phone.

Looks like it was 2008 when Flint was mentioned on the site.

July 5, 2009

Holding back: Why newspaper folks don't blog well?

It can be hard to find a print journalist who has made the transition to online blogging successfully. But I'd never considered equipment and the ability to choose your own software as barriers until reading "Developing ownership for better blogging."

Adam Tinsworth argues that the structure of the news business - top-down management and corporate-owned computer equipment and chosen software - makes it tougher for news bloggers to make their blogs their own.
"For the blogger the laptop is their portable office, a communication device that is an extension of themselves (witness the huge degree to which many bloggers customize their laptops with stickers). For journalists, it's another reminder of the fact that everything they do is someone else's."
Does the same hold true for corporate bloggers? They, too, often thrive in similar companies. Or are the best bloggers outside corporate walls?

Robert Niles also posted recently on Why newspaper columnists don't make good bloggers. He starts with the premise that they ought to be perfect for the role:
"the best write in a lively voice and forge a strong connection with their readers. Their work build an ongoing conversation with the communities they cover. Frankly, they've been blogging (in print) since long before anyone other than academics and soldiers went online."
The blog post followed a presentation at the National Society of Newspaper Columnists conference on Tips on Branding Yourself. Niles and his cospeaker told the group that it comes down to the public's perception of its relationship with the writer.
"That what matters most in determining your online success is how your work is understood and acted upon by its audience - more than what your intention with the work was or the process that you used to create it. You can do work you believe to be great, but if no one reads it or no one who does cares, what was the point?"
Niles also suggested that the columnists ask folks to share experiences, not opinions, to keep conversations going.

He also reminded folks about one thing I think print folks find it hard to do: leave the silo and go where the community is. That's right, participate on other blogs, other forums, other sites.