Reading Around on July 20th

Some additional reading July 20th from 09:53 to 19:30:

  • The Return of the Pay Wall | The Big Money – The summer of 2009 is a terrible time to start charging for what was free. …

    So is this really the best time to start charging for online news? No. The best time was back in 1994, when the Web made online publishing to the masses a snap. And now that newspapers are finally making the move, they're applying a 1994 solution to the 2009 Web. Today, online publishers are seeing more and more traffic coming through blogs, aggregators like Google News, and social sites like Facebook and Twitter. Ignoring them is even more perilous to a paper's image than it was two years ago, when the New York Times tore down its Times Select pay walls. The hypertext link that made the Web unique is even more powerful today, and pay walls that break those links send would-be readers a clear message: Don't bother.

  • – these things don't just blame themselves – Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr., one of the nation’s pre-eminent African-American scholars, was arrested Thursday afternoon at his home by Cambridge police investigating a possible break-in.. Gates, director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research at Harvard, had trouble unlocking his door after it became jammed.
    He was booked for disorderly conduct after “exhibiting loud and tumultuous behavior,” according to a police report. …
    Now, I can understand why the police might think that a middle-aged black man was breaking into a home during lunchtime by trying to ram the front door with his shoulder, because it’s what many middle-aged black men do with their time, between Young and the Restless commercial breaks.
    … I’m sure that a significant number of people will read this and think that this is just a black man screaming racism because he handled a situation poorly, because a significant number of people like being dead fucking wrong.
  • The Return of the Pay Wall | The Big Money – The summer of 2009 is a terrible time to start charging for what was free. …

    So is this really the best time to start charging for online news? No. The best time was back in 1994, when the Web made online publishing to the masses a snap. And now that newspapers are finally making the move, they're applying a 1994 solution to the 2009 Web. Today, online publishers are seeing more and more traffic coming through blogs, aggregators like Google News, and social sites like Facebook and Twitter. Ignoring them is even more perilous to a paper's image than it was two years ago, when the New York Times tore down its Times Select pay walls. The hypertext link that made the Web unique is even more powerful today, and pay walls that break those links send would-be readers a clear message: Don't bother.

  • Hullabaloo – Wrecking Ball – Davis really had only bumped the fee back to its historic level: to 2% of a vehicle's value, rather than a recently enacted 0.65%.

    Schwarzenegger's canceling of the fee hike actually amounted to the single biggest spending increase of his reign. That's because all the revenue from the vehicle license fee had gone to local governments, and Schwarzenegger generously agreed to make up their losses by shipping them money from the state general fund.

    The annual drain on the state treasury was $6.3 billion until February. Then the governor and Legislature raised the fee to 1.15% of vehicle value, saving the state $1.7 billion.

  • Kennedy ’suicide ramp’ improvements to increase suicide rates | The Daily Blank – "According to an official Illinois Department of Transportation report, the notorious “suicide ramps” on Chicago’s downtown Kennedy Expressway will undergo much-needed improvements in order to bring the annual number of suicide deaths back up from what has been a startling decline in the past decade."

Yalta Meeting of Top Newspaper Publishers

Interesting, and amusingly clandestine.

Pippen Peruses the Newspaper


Here’s a story the newspaper industry’s upper echelon apparently kept from its anxious newsrooms: A discreet Thursday meeting in Chicago about their future.

“Models to Monetize Content” is the subject of a gathering at a hotel which is actually located in drab and sterile suburban Rosemont, Illinois; slabs of concrete, exhibition halls and mostly chain restaurants, whose prime reason for being is O’Hare International Airport. It’s perfect for quickie, in-and-out conclaves.

There’s no mention on its website but the Newspaper Association of America, the industry trade group, has assembled top executives of the New York Times, Gannett, E. W. Scripps, Advance Publications, McClatchy, Hearst Newspapers, MediaNews Group, the Associated Press, Philadelphia Media Holdings, Lee Enterprises and Freedom Communication Inc., among more than two dozen in all. A longtime industry chum, consultant Barbara Cohen, “will facilitate the meeting.”

[Click to continue reading Shhhh. Newspaper Publishers Are Quietly Holding a Very, Very Important Conclave Today. Will You Soon Be Paying for Online Content? – James Warren]

Hope somebody surreptitiously videotapes the conference and posts it to Google’s YouTube.

Thursday begins with a quick declaration of goals at 8 a.m., then an 8:10 a.m. session labeled, “Fair Syndication Consortium/Attributor.” It’s described as a “presentation on technology/service to track content on the Web and to extract payments from third-parties and ad networks that have appropriated newspaper content.”

That first session is followed by “Journalism Online: Presentation on proposed service to charge for access to newspaper content and to license that content that (sic) online aggregators” (the assistance of at least one of the many copy editors sent packing by the attendees might have been sought).

That presentation would seem quite important, with many conflicting ideas floating about whether charging will work and how to even try. The stark reality is that the industry will have to soon start demanding payment for at least some of its online handiwork.

Changes are afoot, undoubtedly.


Broadcast plagiarism is standard procedure

I studiously avoid receiving any news from television broadcasts or radio shows, but in my limited experience, the plagiarism discussed by Linda Thomas is a long-standing issue. Of course, some print journalists routinely steal from blogs as well.

Lonely Zenith

A newspaper reporter would be fired or suspended for something TV and radio reporters do quite often.

Print journalists consider it plagiarism. Broadcasters call it a “rewrite.”

Here’s how it works in nearly every news market in the country. Print reporters do research and interviews for a story that ends up being about 800 words or so. Broadcasters rewrite and condense the paper’s story to around 50 words – sometimes adding their own audio or video – then present it as their own.

[Click to continue reading Broadcast plagiarism]

Too much of broadcast journalism reporting directly lifts from print media: and especially now when so much of print media is in danger of vanishing, wonder what would happen if trends continue like this. If the print media vanishes, how will the lazy broadcasters survive?


Reading Around on April 6th through April 8th

A few interesting links collected April 6th through April 8th:

  • Attribution and Affiliation on All Things Digital – – ” Also, where the source of the article is acknowledged, there’s no corresponding link to the page/URI to which it refers (something I’d regard as a convention that’s at least a decade old now). “
  • Roger Ebert’s Journal: Roger Ebert: April 2009 Archives – awesome remembrance of the long-ago vanished world of print journalism. “One of my editors at the Sun-Times once asked me, “Roger, is it true that they used to let reporters smoke at their desks?” This wasn’t asked yesterday; it must have been ten years ago. I realized then, although I’m only writing about it now, that a lifestyle had disappeared. “
  • Audio: Bob Dylan on Barack Obama, Ulysses Grant and American Civil War ghosts – Bill Flanagan: In that song Chicago After Dark were you thinking about the new President?Bob Dylan: Not really. It’s more about State Street and the wind off Lake Michigan and how sometimes we know people and we are no longer what we used to be to them. I was trying to go with some old time feeling that I had.

humor Links

Reading Around on March 20th through March 22nd

A few interesting links collected March 20th through March 22nd:

  • Spring Cleaning Hits Chicago | Today’s Photos: Today’s best Chicago photos, handpicked by our editors. in Chicago – Cleaning Cloud Gate photo by swanksalot
  • Chicago Tribune Twitterizes masthead | Geek Gestalt – CNET NewsHe added that, “If you’re a reporter or an editor, Twitter is a great way to get in touch with your audience in real time, and if you do it right, if you follow the right people in your sphere of knowledge, you will get a lot out of it.” And, in an experiment to show the many Twitter users among the paper’s audience that the Tribune gets the microblogging service, and to make it easy to get in touch with the top editors and executives, the publication decided to publish, for one day only, the Twitter-friendly masthead. “We were talking at dinner,” Adee said, “and maybe we had too many glasses of wine…but we were just all talking, and we were like, ‘Hey, let’s do it.’ Tomorrow, it’s back to normal, but you never know when it will spring up again.”
  • [1960 Playboy Magazine advertising image via]

  • The Venereal Disease Channel Imaginatizes Greatastically « Whatever – “Apparently one of the motivating factors to change the name from “scifi” to a phase-changing-vowel-filled homonym was to have a name that was trademarkable and extensible, and it seems no one else in the world actually uses the word “syfy” for anything. Well, except Poland, where the word is used to identify crusty, scabby sexually transmitted diseases, and no, this is not a joke. No one there is going to use the word to associate with their product, any more than someone here might try to market, say, Chlamydia™ brand adhesive bandages.

    Note to SciFi Channel: when your new brand identity means “venereal disease” in any language, it’s the sort of thing that — excuse the term — gets around.”

Business Chicago-esque News-esque

Death of the Chicago Tribune

Seems like an almost done deal. The Chicago Tribune has chosen to become a shallow, tabloid newspaper, chasing 20-somethings with a short attention span.

Pippen Peruses the Newspaper
[Pippen already prefers the WSJ]

I got in touch with Coleen Davison. “We’d been [Tribune] subscribers for 12 or 13 years,” she told me. “Obviously we’ve seen changes we weren’t thrilled by, but the last redesign was the final straw. It was sound-bite journalism — all pictures, no stories.”

They gave the new Tribune a week and then decided to cancel the subscription to their Naperville home. At the suggestion of the woman in circulation she spoke to about that, Coleen participated in a readers’ phone survey. “As I recall,” she told me, “almost all of the questions were extremely vague and general. The respondee was asked to answer on a scale of 1 to 5 whether they agreed or disagreed. The only question that came remotely close to allowing me to voice my displeasure was something like ‘I think the redesign contains too many pictures.’ I was frustrated that the survey seemed designed to only allow for positive feedback.”

So she wrote a redesign feedback link she found at the Tribune Web site and complained. She told the paper that although its survey hadn’t let her say so, she was “also appalled by the significant drop in the quality of what little news is reported. Rearranging and renaming the sections I can deal with, but the new Tribune looks and reads like a tabloid magazine.”

She went on, “I understand the need to update your look periodically, and I also understand the desire to attract more readers. It’s just terribly sad that the way you chose to do this was to pander to those who prefer tabloid journalism to real news.” Her long note, which I’m merely excerpting here, she signed “Sadly and sincerely.”

She heard back from John McCormick of the Tribune editorial board

[Click to read more Chicago Reader Blogs: News Bites]

Daily News

I’ve been a Tribune subscriber since 1994, and I’ve just about decided to cancel my subscription as well. There just isn’t much news in the Tribune these days, and so why bother getting it delivered? I already subscribe to the Wall Street Journal and the weekend New York Times, perhaps I’ll just expand my NYT subscription. The Trib is a pale shadow of the paper it used to be, and Sam Zell obviously doesn’t give a shit about readers like me.


Reading Around on February 26th

Some additional reading February 26th from 17:50 to 18:48:

  • Chicago Reader | Norm Van Lier | Chicago Bulls – RIP – Awesome article from 1994 re the recently departed Stormin’ Norm Van Lier. A little bit of flash, 1970s beanbag bong hits, and some racism that still lingered twenty years (and fifteen years past that).”There was a time, not long before Michael Jordan, when Norm Van Lier was the best guard who’d ever played for the Bulls and was worshiped by basketball fans all over Chicago.”
  • Chicago Reader Blogs: News Bites – Quite interesting discussion of what newspapers might turn into, or not, and what might replace them, or not. Could one be a reporter for $41,000 a year, before taxes? Happily?
humor Links Photography

Reading Around on January 26th

Some additional reading January 26th from 10:22 to 22:31:

  • The Washington Monthly – This Explains a Lot– “On the one hand, the Bush administration released some detainees who apparently turned out to be pretty dangerous. On the other, the Bush administration refused to release other detainees who weren’t dangerous at all, and were actually U.S. allies.How could this happen? In light of these revelations about the lack of files, it starts to make a lot more sense.But to put this in an even larger context, consider just how big a mess Bush has left for Obama here. The previous administration a) tortured detainees, making it harder to prosecute dangerous terrorists; b) released bad guys while detaining good guys; and c) neglected to keep comprehensive files on possible terrorists who’ve been in U.S. custody for several years. As if the fiasco at Gitmo weren’t hard enough to clean up.”
  • The three primary roles your local website should play |– “Journalists tend to gravitate to only one of these roles: the town crier, the quaint colonial-era village character who walks around ringing a bell telling you what’s happening. It comes naturally. This is why 24×7 coverage teams and the “continuous news desk” concept take root so quickly when newsrooms suddenly awaken to the urgency of taking the Internet seriously.
  • But the other roles aren’t secondary. They’re coequal, and they’re grossly neglected by most local news websites.Moreover, they consistently surface in qualitative research as poorly met needs. The language people use is a little different, but recognizable: “Help me connect with people.” “Help me get answers I need.” “Help me find people like me.” “Help me pursue my interests.”
  • simple private file sharing, free internet file sharing – Hmm, seems useful
    “Use to create drops and privately share your files by web, email, phone, fax, and more. Drops are protected from search engines so you can conveniently share what you want, how you want, with whom you want.”
  • Undercover Black Man: Bad news for David Milch fans– “Now I hear that HBO has pulled the plug on Milch’s latest project, a New York City cop drama set in the 1970s called “Last of the Ninth.”They filmed a pilot episode… with British actor Ray Winstone (pictured) as one of the leads. Evidently HBO was not digging it.That’s a show I wanted to see. Since the ’90s, Milch has talked about creating a series based on Bill Clark’s early career in the NYPD.

    Clark spent two years undercover as a white radical. He hung out with Black Panthers (including Tupac’s mama).”

  • Food Is A Weapon
  • Mirror, Mirror on the Wall – Errol Morris Blog –– Awesome! “Photographs make this somewhat more difficult. They are a partial record of who we were and how we imagined ourselves. …The traveling pool of press photographers that follows presidents includes representatives from three wire services — AP (The Associated Press), AFP (Agence France-Presse) and Thomson Reuters. During the last week of the Bush administration, I asked the head photo editors of these news services — Vincent Amalvy (AFP), Santiago Lyon (AP) and Jim Bourg (Reuters) — to pick the photographs of the president that they believe captured the character of the man and of his administration. …. It is interesting that these pictures are different. They may be of the same scene, but they have different content. They speak in a different way.(The photos are reproduced here with their original captions, unedited.)”
  • Tijuana Bibles– “If you are offended by depictions of sodomy, bestiality, “alternative sexual practices,” racial and ethnic stereotypes, or just about anything else, you should leave now.Tijuana Bibles were pornographic tracts popular in America before the advent of mass-market full-color glossy wank-fodder such as Playboy. A typical bible consisted of eight stapled comic-strip frames portraying characters and celebrities (eg. John Dillinger, Popeye, Disney characters) in wildly sodomistic situations. Many could be considered grossly racist, sexist, and otherwise wholly “politically incorrect.” Browser discretion is advised.”