January 2, 2010

Pioneering female editor Deborah Howell dies

A roundup of tributes and details on Deborah Howell, who ran the Newouse News effort in Washington DC is in this item.

I always enjoyed talking, no make that bantering, with her. Hope I thanked her for the advice and inspiration over the years.

December 31, 2009

Posts on Advance pull in most eyes in 2009

The new year is just hours away so let's take a quick look back at my main blogging outlet, Inside Out. Knowing where I was sometimes helps me figure out where I'm going.

This post also is inspired by a post on the slowly blooming  back into life Gannett Blog. I told Jim Hopkins I would be borrowing the concept behind his post Tops of '09: Layoffs, a memo, Wausau -- and buck$
and he graciously said:
"Copy away! Once you've got an archive of posts, there's no reason not to recycle them in imaginative ways."

Most traffic comes to the main page, where two to four posts usually wait.

Google and FriendFeed send the most traffic my way, but the Free From Editors sends me a lot of readers. That makes sense since Jim of L-Town often writes about The Flint Journal, letting former employees know what's up.

I'm not surprised that the most read posts of the year concern changes at Advance Publications, Advance and the Newhouse publishing empire. Those are the posts that generated the most feedback here, on Twitter, Facebook and in my inbox. Certainly, 2009 and was a big year of change for the Newhouse media world.

Advance mirrors industry: Change, change, change

Editors and publishers left the organization, pensions and salaries were cut, and publishing schedules changed or totally shuttered. A long-time perk - "life-time job guarantee" - for Newhouse newspaper employees ends Feb. 5.  That spurred lots of talking and another round of buyouts in Michigan, Alabama, Oregon, New Jersey and other states home to news organizations owned by the Newhouses.

Advance Internet changes

Changes at the web side of Advance started in January with the leaving of longtime employees, including Jon Donley who left his editng role at NOLA.com  Surprisingly, two Newhouse newspaper employees moved to Advance Internet after taking buyouts from the New Jersey Star-Ledger. (Hassan Hodges is tech guru at AnnArbor.com; John Hassell is vice president of content at Advance Internet.) Changes continued throughout the year, including another editor leaving (Booth from al.com)

Publishing less

In my backyard - - three Newhouse daily newspapers dropped to three times a week publishing schedule in June, and slashed staffs. The Flint Journal, The Saginaw News and Bay City Times now operate as Booth Mid-Michigan.with one publisher and executive editor. Some other editing functions were combined, although for now each newspaper has its own print edition and some local staff.

Staffing an issue

Most read post of the year was one on staffing the new setup: Why is Valley Publishing seeking help?  Did I mention that Valley Publishing was the core company for the three news organizations for an area the group promotes also as the Great Lakes Bay Region? I'm still looking for the Great Lake in the Flint, Michigan, area.

Wisely, the Flint news organization noticed it cut too deeply and has brought back some long-time employees like Jennifer Kildee in the features area and Bruce Gunther and Brendan Savage in sports. The revolving door continues, with reporter Elizabeth Shaw leaving in January and assistant Community editor Katie Bach replacing her husband as public relations manager at the Flint Area Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Michigan changes hit pocketbook

The second-most read post was Michigan newspapers announce changes, written March 23. That post included news about the mid-Michigan changes, salary and benefit cuts for all employees at Michigan's Newhouse newspapers and changes to operations in Ann Arbor.

In July, Newhouse closed the Ann Arbor News and opened a new organization that focuses mostly on its web effort, yet still delivers two print editions a week, opened. I've gathered some of my posts and others on the changes in Ann Arbor media.

More top-read posts

The next three most-read posts are:
Why May for Advance pension changes?
Ex-publisher sues newspaper
Two more publishers leaving newspapers

Girl Scouts get social

Some of my posts about how Girl Scouts are doing social networking also drew readers. I talked about Girl Scouts tweeting and on Facebook.

I've been helping a number of Girl Scout organizations get up to speed on the Internet. (Yes, I know some of you are laughing since you know I started that effort back in 1994. Some things never change; some things always change.)

Getting personal

Of course, this is a blog written by a person so some of the more popular posts are about personal things and confessions. There's my Advance addiction, my grandfather's hatred of key-turners, and my daughter's breast cancer.

(Quick update: She's doing very well, just finished a round of physical therapy, nearing the end of the year-long chemo and back to work. My husband and I just returned from a visit to see her in Tennessee.)

Thanks for reading ... see you in 2010.