October 10, 2009

Police reporter moving into editor role; other changes at Michigan newspapers

waving hand

Michigan newsrooms

Bryn Mickle wrote his last Offbeat column as he leaves the police beat he's nurtured for 10 years at The Flint Journal to become an assistant community editor. It's a new position, where he'll be editing copy and helping guide news coverage for online and print.

Reporter Laura Angus, who has covered the Grand Blanc area after graduating from Oakland University and Holly High School, moves into his police beat. She's also collecting the zany police happenings for her version of Offbeat, a column started by the Jim of L-Town (despite my name there) before he moved onto Free From Editors.

Eric English, 43, of Bangor Township, also is a newly named assistant community editor, according to an article about Michigan Press Association awards. English's new job is for the Saginaw News and The Bay City Times, also part of the Booth Mid-Michigan group with The Flint Journal. His LinkedIn profile says he's been a business reporter for both newspapers and the Great Lakes Business Review. He started at the Bay City Times in 1988.

While I"m on the subject of Michigan Press Awards, the Kalamazoo Gazette is the newspaper of the year. 
You can find the complete results on the Michigan Press Association site. The advertising contest results also are online.

Jessica Standen, a sales representative since 2008 at The Flint Journal, left last Friday to become development director for the Birch Run Chamber and Convention and Visitors Bureau.
That's the same day there was a farewell party on Friday for some circulation people working for Valley Publishing, which delivered the Saginaw News and Bay City Times. The last three full-time employees of the circulation at the Flint Journal recently had their farewell party.

I'm late on these:
  • Laura Leigh Lenter, a recent Michigan State University graduate and State News alumni,  became an inside sales representative in June at The Flint Journal.
  • Shannon Murphy, a reporter at The Flint Journal, moved up to Bay City to cover city and county government, in September.
  • Dean Bohn, 49, of Chesaning,  worked for the Saginaw News and is now at The Flint Journal.
  • Jean Johnson, a design intern at the Reading Eagle Company, also joined The Flint Journal. The Wayne State University journalism graduate is a reporter.
While over at Linked In creating some recommendations for job-hunting writers, I noticed that
Karen Koziel says she became the Advertising Director of The Flint Journal  three months ago. She worked with publisher Matt Sharp  at the Michigan Business Review.

The Times Herald in Port Huron published a number of promotions: 
  • Daren Tomhave, the new  executive news editor, and Mandy Burton, the new news editor, will lead a regional copy desk, based in Port Huron, that is responsible for preparing the Times Herald and the Battle Creek Enquirer pages for publication every day.   
  • Michael Stechschulte, a 2009 graduate of the University of Michigan-Flint, is the assistant news editor on the regional copy desk. 
  • Paul Costanzo is now a  senior sports reporter
  • Liz Shepard is a senior news reporter.
  • Pamela Ford is now senior advertising sales manager
  • Meagan Hustek is the new advertising supervisor. 
Some of the changes are prompted by the reorganization that followed the Times Herald publisher becoming president and publisher of Gannett's Courier-Post in Cherry Hill, N.J, in August.  The first change was the decision to not name a publisher, instead promoting the ad director to manager. Lori Driscoll kept her advertising position while taking on some of Tim Dowd's responsibilities.She now reports to Brian Priester, president and publisher of the Lansing State Journal, who will oversee all Gannett community newspapers in Michigan.

A former Detroit Free Press reporter (and newlywed)  is returning to Michigan after reporting on Coke for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, saccording to Talking Biz.

Joe Guy Collier, who joined AJC in February 2008,  last day is Oct. 15.   He told Talking Biz he'll continue as a blogger and freelance reporter covering the food and beverage industry.His wife  works in public relations at Ford Motor Co. in Michigan, according to Talking Biz.

Updated 10/12/09: More Michigan comings and goings Plus, see a story about Michigan media moves? Bookmark it in the Publish2 Michigan News about News  newsgroup.

October 9, 2009

Advance's New Orleans site partners with local TV station

A New Orleans TV station will provide breaking news, sports and weather video for NOLA.com, the online home for the Times-Picayune newspaper. Both win - WDSU-TV gains web audience and NOLA adds more video to its Advance Internet web site.

WDSU-TV, which announced the agreement, effective Oct. 9, on its web site said it also will contribute health reports and investigations from its I-Team. The station, however, will keep and run its own web site.

NOLA general manager Mark Rose said the partnership helps supplement content provided by the Times-Picayune and the NOLA staff.

Meanwhile, bloggers are reporting that all Times-Picayune staffers were offered buyouts,  No details were published but the possibility has some, like Karen Gadbois, worried folks will "watch the Times Picayune sink into irrelevance" as the staff shrinks.

Employees at The Times-Picayune, like the other newspapers in the private Advance Publications, face the likelyhood of layoffs when the company ends its job pledge in February.

Oregonian public radio station focuses on 'future of journalism'

What do you see as the future of news? Is print media dying, or is it merely in a state of transition? What do you think about the major changes at the largest newspaper in the state? Where are you getting your news?

Those are just some of the questions asked in Thinking Out Loud: Future of Journalism
a radio broadcast on Oregon Public Broadcasting.

Read the post and follow the comments for more interesting discussion, including some comments on the structure of OregonLive

Oh yes, the invited guests include:

Oregonian editor tells newsroom new arrangments, new journalists needed

Journalists hoping to continue working at the Oregonian got clear orders Thursday: If you're staying, you're going to interact with the community, know the community, and help the community.

The print operation will take on more responsibility for the web, developing more topic pages, generating more content 24/7 and interacting with the people previously known as the audience.

The safety net of multiple edits will give way to "one-touch editing" as the news organization strives to streamline and change its main focus to delivering news from printing a newspaper.

You can read the plan via Oregon Media Central which shares an Oregonian memo that says many current news teams will 'cease to exist'"

A careful reading, though, shows the real changes focus on the type of journalists wanted: Flexible, Internet smart, independent, and willing to foster community. And don't forget the traditional values and skills of journalists.

Oregonian executive editor Peter Bhatia's memo outlines a reorganization that replaces many teams in favor of three teams: Local Expertise and Enterprise Reporting, another called Community and an editing/production team. Community, by the way, is more then geography as the reorganization recognizes communities form around topics. The production team is more then just print - it is a universal desk for web and print, all web and all print.

It is great to see newspapers that are part of Advance Publications spell out plans as employees decide if they should take offered buyouts.

The Oregonian memo refers to the buyout offer made last month.

I've written about The Oregonian before, including the retirement of its publisher, an ad wrapping its front page and other topics.

October 8, 2009

Catching up: Blame the numbers in Alabama, Detroit

In Alabama, Lagniappe's Rob Holbert looks at the Mobile Press-Register's circulation numbers in his latest speculation on why its publisher was forced to retire early.

Numbers are not adding up to the desired financial picture so that means more layoffs are coming at the Detroit "daily" newspapers. Crain's Detroit reported about a meeting and Joel on the Road published a memo from the union, giving more information for those curious about what's up at the Detroit Free Press and the Detroit News. Ad sales in 2009, for instance, are down 30 percent.

(Updated 10-9-09 to link to comment)

To be or not to be a journalist .... first, though, find your blog?

A college instructor on the east side of the United States is requiring students in his Writing for the Web class to post in several blogs frequently.

What caught my eye was two posts from the students: Sending out a search party for our masslive.com blog and Confusion.

One of the journalists-to be asks:
"Seriously, if I’m stuck rummaging through my backpack to find that random sheet of paper from class with the web address for our blog, instead of finding it easily on the site’s own search feature, what makes Masslive think anyone else will accidentally pluck the blog out of obscurity? "
Perhaps the instructor, who also is executive editor for AdvanceInternet, parent company of MassLive.com, needs to add to the class syllabus.so the students learn how to use bookmarks or the site's new recommendation feature to easily find their blogs.

Or perhaps more work on the the search function is needed. I've noticed some improvements in search on the AdvanceInternet sites like mlive.com, oregonlive.com and nola.com - you can limit the dates searched, for instance, - but more are needed as often better results come from off-site searches.

(Side note: I like how one profile works across the multiple AdvanceInternet sites. I also like that following someone pulls in their posts, recommendations, comments, photos and videos. So far, though, it looks like posts are limited to staff. Let's hope that opens up to so more can post. Also, I'm still waiting for a way to merge personalities.)

By the way, the instructor, Scott Brodeur, has pulled together some thought-provoking posts, including one under the headline "To Be or Not to Be a Journalist: " and The Story Behind the Story Behind the Story.

In that first post, Scott is talking about the popularity of journalism as a major despite the cutbacks in the field. He includes a quote from Dean Mills, the head of the Missouri School of Journalism:
The days when you climbed onto the best newspaper you could and looked forward to doing the same thing for 40 or 50 years are over. People who want security or lack ambition probably should not be in journalism schools these days.
Scott finishes the post with:
That sounds like a challenge. You up for it?
Their first challenge, though, is finding their blogs.

I've written about teaching journalists before, like in these posts:
What would you tell a college student today?
Rookie professor: Jumping from newsroom to classroom

October 7, 2009

Pink spreads: Gannett launches companywide anti-breast cancer effort

The cross-platform campaign targets broadcast, print, online and out-of-home properties, according to the company press release.

The campaign runs through the month of October, and includes front-page spadia advertisement in the Cincinnati Enquirer; home delivery in a pink plastic bag wrap with National Breast Cancer Foundation's message; ads in community papers plus full-page ads in USA Today and USA Weekend; pink-shaded elevator screens in the 763 hotels and office buildings using the Captivate Elevator Network of elevator news and information; and home page and subfront ads on USAtoday.com, the top five Gannett Broadcast sites and the top five U.S. Community Publishing sites.
Gannett said it topped the initial campaign by donating an additional 20 percent  in advertising and production.

Related posts:

Stolen thoughts: Love for journalsim continues beyond buyouts

It's a shame this comment made over on Free From Editors is anonymous because there's so much I love about it that I'd love to credit the source.

The words come in reply to Beth Macy's Hunkering down in the April/May issue of AJR that Free From Editors linked to in September.  She explains why some journalists are not grabbing life preservers or jumping into lifeboats to escape the newspaper business. She's staying in the business because " I still get excited when I happen onto a great story."

I remember the article, which quotes someone who opted to stay at the Newark Star-Ledger. I recognized Beth's optimism, but think she skipped a few beats  in not recognizing love of journalism is not enough.

The commenter on Free From Editors expands eloquently:
"Great article, unfortunately as much as I love reading about those who continue to believe in journalism, those who still write from the trenches despite salary decreases and plummeting readership, my heart belongs to those who had to leave journalism not because of the lure of a magnificent buy-out offer, but because they had given their life to the career and made too much money to be allowed to stay."
I can guess where the commenter worked from this comment:
"Sure you can go into PR or marketing and write the press releases we all loved to make fun of, and you can probably find two or three low-paying jobs to make up the income, but how do you ever find a position that gives you the sense of accomplishment that old-fashioned newspaper work used to give?"
And from previous posts, you know I believe that there are places to use skills acquired in 25-plus years of journalism, including " how to conduct in-depth research and work on tight deadlines"and others that let makes it possible to reveal "corruption beneath shiny exteriors ... question motivation and ...  know the difference between spin and truth."

Still, as noted, there are a lot of the same people vying for the same jobs in the region. It's not easy starting an alternative news source - look at the struggles with starting Reporting Michigan or The Rapidian. or the effort in Kalamazoo. Getting donations - ask Reporting Michigan - or grants takes energy and time.

October 6, 2009

Undercover journalists checking out covers

A new website is offering journalists with good reporting and writing skills the chance to go undercover, actually under the covers. Yes, there are more journalists  bed blogging.

So, let's go to New Jersey this time where Star-Ledger reporter Leslie Kwoh writes about the 20 undercover reporters writing about the covers as part of their hotel ratings for a new web site. in Hotel reviews, with a little investigative journalism

She talked with Elie Seidman, the co-founder and chief executive of the Oyster Hotel Reviews and with journalists like the 48-year-old Richard Linnet who had been jobless for nearly a year before landing this gig.
Kwoh tells us the hotel visits are done anonymously, reporters "travel on average two weeks out of five and follow a 65-page manual as they hunt for sofa stains, take stock of the minibar, try out the room service, and even note the brand of each mattress and shampoo. Using a $4,000 Nikon camera and lenses, they snap hundreds of photos that eventually appear, undoctored, alongside a 2,000-word review"

The competition is stiff for a job that requires reporting experience:: An ad for six job openings drew 1,500 resumes.

Here's part of Richard L's bio from the review site:
Richard L. has been knocking around for a while, from Southeast Asia to South Central LA. He's done Hollywood (onset carpenter to screenwriter) and Madison Ave. (agency executive) and has no regrets. He's lived on both Coasts and points in between, as well as Paris and a village in Charente Maritime. He hopes to eventually retire to a pokey Shasta trailer parked alongside a sulfurous hot spring.
The site also notes he's written for Media Magazine, Cineaste, Ad Week, Advertising Age, Penthouse, Hustler,among others.

So head over to NJ.com for a quick read.  For more inspiration, come back for posts about JWJ - Journalists with Jobs, especially people formerly employed in newsrooms:
I list more in Writing about Jobs for Journalists

Or maybe you remember G.D. Gearino, mattresses and a dream blog.

October 5, 2009

Online-only effort launches in Holly

Two journalists with Flint Journal ties recently launched an online effort, the Holly Express.

Vera Hogan, who started in January 2008 as an editor for the Community Newspapers and left May 31, has teamed up with freelance writer Amy Mayhew to start the new effort that focuses on what's happening in the small town in Oakland County.

The two met five years ago and say they would have loved to continue working for a newspaper. But this effort, launched about two weeks ago, is going so great that they had to come with a plan for advertising sooner then expected, Vera said. Still, she expects it will take longer for the two to draw a salary as they plan to pump the money back into the operation for now.

Read more on  the about us page. Originally, the two planned to also cover nearby Fenton but decided to pull back and focus on one community for now.Read more about that in welcome column, where Amy and Vera also introduce two columnists.

Their slogan: Keeping you on track with local news

October 4, 2009

Pink Power: Black and white and pink all over in Huntsville, Alabama

Pink should be everywhere in one Alabama town during Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Every day in October, the Huntsville Time in Alabama will feature one story connected to breast cancer. It kicked the month off by printing on pink paper, and putting a pink ribbon and pink lights on its building.

The Advance Publication also will add to its Think Pink page online throughout the month.

Plus the newspaper plans to donate to breast cancer fighting efforts a share of any October print ad that includes a pink ribbon.

A local Huntsville car dealer is distributing pink ribbon car magnets. A local hospital helped pay some of the extra costs of printing on pink paper.

A similar effort by the Augusta Chronicle in Georgia inspired the project, editor Kevin Wendt said.

Check the Think Pink page for a daily story about a breast cancer survivor as well as articles on events, advances in treating breast cancer treatment, and related subjects.

An entry in the Perfect Moment Project blog congratulated the paper for making such a bold move.

I want one more bold move - at at least one of the featured survivors is under 40 so that more people learn that breast cancer can happen to that age group so that no other woman needs to go four months before the doctor will test a breast lump. I'm sure the Young Survival Coalition can help identify someone in that age group.

Related entries
The Oregonian's series on breast cancer
My daughter's story

Checking a list: Newhouses still on Forbes richest list

The writer behind  Freefromeditors:  came back from a well-deserved vacation in Hawaii and reminded us Someone in the Newhouse chain is still doing well  though not a well as they once were.

The 400 Richest Americans, according to Forbes , has Si Newhouse is #52. I can't tell if he's down $3.5 billion or $4.5 billion as the facts box says one thing and the paragraph says another. Donald Newhouse is at #65, with net worth down $4 billion.

Another Flint connection is on the list, Tom Gores at #147. His worth is down and he lost a three-year battle to get Delphi. I wrote about him in Flint connected: Union Tribune's, Delphi plants' new owner. Guess my post headline overstated things.