November 6, 2009

Building a better journalist disappoints

The goal was to become a better journalist by attending a daylong session. But Matt Davis left unimpressed. or maybe it was left disappointed.

Part of the disappointment came from learning what happened after a three part investigative story on how there was a documented evidence of a cover-up in a case where a police officer sexually assaulted a woman while on duty.

Yes, despite the investigation, the published report the two key figures are still working in their departments.

There's more on some other breakout sessions in a column you'll enjoy. Byron Beck misses having an editor, Jack Hart shared some writing stories and the comments help.

Conde Nast hires crisis intervention expert

Things are getting serious. The New York Post reported that Conde Nast is hiring a crisis intervention expert. bUT I must admit that the Gawker report and comments on the hiring of the man who calls himself a "confrontational debate specialist" and "one of the most utilized consultants" are just a bit more fun to read. That piece identifies a picture of Scrooge as chairman S. I. Newhouse.

The Post article says CEO Charles Townsend and Chairman S.I. Newhouse, Jr. hired Washington, DC-based crisis manager and media coach Michael Sheehan to help with PR.

Sheehan has coached Democratic presidential candidates, including Barack Obama and "handled AIG during its near-death experience and JP Morgan in its acquisition of Chase." The magazine branch of Advance Publications has folded six magazines, including Gourmet and Cookie, and fired at least 460 employees.

The Post article also points out the rising influence of the Lucky publisher in the Newhouse family of publications. staff meeting leads to stat reveal

There was this Tweet: just held a full staff meeting after three months in operation. We're a hit. Literally: 1.5 million unique visitors to our site

which led to this: is averaging 170,000-180,000 average weekly unique visitors; 30,000-40,000 average daily unique visitors.
which led to this: has more than 22,000 readers and growing subscribed to its daily e-mail newsletter.: "
which led to this:
Summary: has created a sustainable business model that is working.
Meanwhile, Michigan media again goes under the microscope, this time at Convergence and Society: The Changing Media Landscape (#cconf09) Doug Fisher writes more about this panel and others.


Class party: Words expensive to buy

Amazing. A Michigan writer is learning that his words may be too costly to buy. The New York Times would charge Joel Thurtell more for reprint rights then it paid him to write a story. Details in Class party

November 5, 2009

Columnist: moving into top lists

The progress of, the central home for Michigan newspapers affiliated with Advance Publications, climbing the charts is part of a column on The changing face of news media

Candace Beeke, editor of the Business Review West Michigan, shares that reaches "1.77 million unique users per month — making it the largest news site in the state."

She also writes that "the Web site is now in the top 30 for newspaper sites in the country, according to Neislen's Internet ratings."

Oh, and she's looking for feedback on's new look, how people use online news and how your news preference is changing.

Oregonian editor: Not enough taking buyout; 70 must go

 A memo from Sandy Rowe, editor of the Oregonian, warns that not enough employees have signed up for a buyout from the Advance Publications newspaper.

Williamette Week published the memo under the headline Layoffs Are "Inevitable"

Rowe says 70 positions need to be eliminated but "only 25 full-time staffers and 6 part-time have either accepted the buyout offer or have indicated to us they are going to sign the paperwork" by the Nov. 9 deadline.

Among those going is the person behind the Portland Arts Watch, who posted "The first words of a long good-bye" online.

The Oregonian newsroom is rearranging its structure
to cope with new staffing levels and news requirements.

Other Advance Publications employees weighing buyout offers include those at the Star-Ledger (50 must go), Staten Island Advance (40 must go) and Times-Picayune.

Another Newhouse newspaper says 40 must go

The 'Staten Island Advance' offers a buyout and warns layoffs coming if 40 employees at the New York newspaper don't accept the offer by Dec. 21.

The offer includes
two weeks' pay for every year of service up to six months of salary, along with medical coverage.

The Staten Island Advance is part of Advance Publications.

New blog (to me) leads to inspiring story, inspiring site

Gosh, Google Reader figured out I might be interested in blogs about multiple sclerosis. Not sure if it is because I've already subscribed to so many or the words in my blog. So over on MS News Updates: I learn about a new web site using storytelling and also a story about using adaptive devices.

makers of Rebif and Cladribine and behind MSLifelines, an online support group/website with nifty journals, symptom trackers and information, now is using storytelling by 5 people diagnosed with MS in the 2000 to distribute information and tips. The best part - the company is paying the five bloggers - to be a part of How I Fight MS.

MSLifelines has featured stories before, so what's different here is that there is ongoing storytelling by the individuals.

Also shared on the site was an article about a woman with MS who leads city tours for government officials via wheelchairs. The Star Ledger’s Oct 15th Middlesex County Newswrites about Jackie Jackson and her learn by doing tours.

November 3, 2009

Save journalism? Or save democracy?

Bill Mitchell of Poynter shares some of the conversation from last month's Community Conversation in Ann Arbor, Michigan, in Four things people miss about newspapers and what can be done about it

You've heard some of the people and conversations before. Mitchell sums it up:
"Much of the discussion involved the role a newspaper plays in facilitating in-person discussion -- in homes as well as broader communities -- in ways that online news might not. Other gaps mentioned by the group included newspaper-as-common-document for the community, the story-telling form of a newspaper article and a popular re-use of newspaper delivery bags."
Interesting conversation about what happens when newspapers stop "creating the space journalism occupies" and its effect on narrative commitments. Will it jar as black-and-white movies do for some teens?

I've been wrestling with journalism and democracy, so the comeback to's We're here to save journalism added another round. Do we need journalism to save democracy?

You can read an earlier update on the forum or look at the post to get an idea of what was to happen.

Another Michigan publication switching publication plan

Editor & Publisher says another Michigan newspaper will drop its Monday edition in 2010. The 'Huron Daily Tribune' will publish a Saturday newspaper to meet the customer's demand "for more timely coverage in print of important events, like local sports and breaking news from Friday evening." That quote is from Mark Aldam, senior vice president and group publisher for Hearst Newspapers.

The Huron Daily Tribune also will move printing to its Midland production facility, which also prints the Midland Daily News.

Moving on, moving up

A former Flint Journal employee, Carol D. Rugg, will become vice president-communications at the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation in January.  She left the newspaper's lifestyle section in 1985.

One year later: Journalist to lobbyist

For 12 years, David Reinhard was an editorial columnist for The Oregonian. He's spent the last year getting surprised in his new job as a lobbyist. The former journalist talks about what he misses and what is different in his new role in The education of a Salem lobbyist

If you believe the photo bylines and ignore the text byline, you can still read what Reinhard thought he was moving from and to in "And one more thing: David Reinhard says thankyou and goodbye."

"I want to be part of a team that shares a common goal and commitment. I want to work with folks who share my basic values. I no longer want to be the odd man out."
Or maybe the last one out of the newsroom?

Technology 'ruins' night for political geeks - columnist

Many Michigan ex-journalists will need to adjust to something different tonight - an election night without waiting for results, an election night without pizza, an election night outside the newsroom.

Brad Flory of the Jackson Citizen Patriot, who is still collecting a paycheck from a Michigan news organization, mourns the way technology has changed coverage of voting results in Election nights aren't the party they used to be

He calls the gathering and waiting of votes a "fairyland for political junkies." Check it out.

November 2, 2009

Out front: Do Birmingham publications suffer from a lack of diversity?

Media of Birmingham uses a new landing page for the Birmingham News to ask Do Birmingham publications suffer from a lack of diversity?

Two of the eight columnists featured are women, all are white.

The post prompts comments asking if the columnists match the newspaper's and news site's audience?

Birmingham News is an Advance Publications newspaper. Media of Birmingham is a networking group in Alabama.

CEO: Newhouse business journals suffering cold

Talking Biz Journal pulls some nice quotes out of Whitney Shaw in American City Business Journal CEO talks about the business of business news

The 40 business journals are doing better then the Newhouse newspapers and magazines because of lean staffs, no printing presses and no debt, Shaw tells the Talking Biz Journal.

Shaw also puzzles over why newspapers cut back on business coverage when the economy is such so important today, though says he's never studied if his publications benefited from that decision of newspapers.

Interesting read - more on events, wooing of reporters and editors and more. Head over.