Setting us up for the big fall?

Or “The first ten are free.”

A Newspaper Pay Wall Goes Up — and So Do Visitor Numbers — “Visitors can read 10 “local” articles per month free-of-charge, but after that, they need to pay up.

First they get us hooked, then they take it away? There’s a name for people like that.

 

 

It seems appropriate, since newspapers line birdcages

Just discovered the Journalistics blog. Very cool.

This caught my eye:

Top 25 U.S. Newspapers Ranked by Twitter Followers.”

Can’t you just picture the old-timey newsman, “Press” badge visible in the lining of his fedora, texting the latest bit of info in 140 characters or less?

'Dammit, lost my wifi connection!"

 

 

“Been away so long I hardly new the place…”

with apologies to Lennon and McCartney…

Things at the office are getting dicey. More attrition, which means the work that still must go on gets apportioned out among those who remain, which means a lot more work for yours truly. Still in all, I shouldn’t complain too much. At least I still have a job. But on the other hand, that kind of attitude leads to a sense of dependence and complacency: don’t rock the boat, keep your head down, or you’ll get sacked (fired for you Americans out there).

So here’s trying to catch up a little bit.

  • Michael Calderone at Politico.com writes about the new round of layoffs at Newsweek “[Editor Jon] Meacham, in a memo obtained by POLITICO, noted that the magazine has taken a different direction this year and, despite the layoffs, claimed that it “continues to appear promising in terms of building and retaining an engaged audience that we hope will be attractive to advertisers.” But what about attractive to readers? I’ve heard many complaints about the new look of the publication, the photos and even physical feel of the pages are unworthy of a magazine with such a long and proud tradition. Oh, sorry, forgot. No one really cares about the readers these days.
  • The number of homeless magazine continues to grow, too: Foliomag.com ran this story about “shelter” magazines, those publications that deal with lovely homes that look like they were set up in a Twilight Zone universe, i.e., no one lives there. Said genre appears to be growing. How many times have your passed by a furniture store and wondered how they can afford to stay open, since it doesn’t look like they have many customers, especially during the week? This comes at the same time as Hachette shuttering Metropolitan Homes.
  • A few entries ago, I noted the AP-free week that was about to take place. This piece from Mediaite (bad name, BTW. Sounds too much like mediaLITE, which has negative connotations) warns about such experiments, worried that they might become accepted practice among the large papers, already hurting for actual news content. “There’s no denying that the raw materials are out there,” writes Pat Kiernan. “But so are a million recipes for a Thanksgiving turkey. Or dozens of blogged opinions about the health care debate. And I still see the value in having an experienced editor do the sorting for me.” Hear hear. And check out the site; it’s kind of fun.
  • Do you think rival newspaper relish the poor fates of their competitors? Or is it a matter of sinking or swimming together? In this case, The New York Times reports on the New York Post‘s woes.

Some people don’t think things are as bad as they seem when it comes to the newspaper biz. some people don’t work for a newspaper. Some people haven’t lost their job as part of downsizing. Nevertheless, this piece from Slate.com wants us to put on a happy face. Writer Daniel Gross offers some baffling comments, such as this one regarding the 10 percent drop-off ion readership reported by:

First of all, there’s nothing ipso facto shocking about a decline in patronage of 10 percent in six months. Many political blogs and cable news shows have seen their audiences fall by much more than 10 percent since the feverish fall of 2008 (“…citing Audit Bureau of Circulations figures, ‘Average weekday circulation at 379 daily newspapers fell 10.6 percent to about 30.4 million copies for the six months that ended on Sept. 30, 2009 from the same period last year.'”)

We’re not talking about blogs and TV, Mr. Gross, we’re talking about newspapers, remember?

he points to higher revenue generate by some papers, but notes that it’s because they (and magazines) “have been jacking up prices aggressively.” That’s kind of like a movie’s claim that it took in more money than any other in history. Of course, when you see that it costs about $10 to get into The Box these days but only fifty cents to see Gone with the Wind in 1939. Lies, damn lies, and statistics.

I would go on, but you get my point. I would like nothing more than to be optimistic about the future. I don;t know how old Mr. Gross is, but I would venture to say he’s at least 15 years younger than me, just by virtue of his writing for Slate. “At some point in the future, newspapers may disappear. But count me in the later rather than sooner camp.”

As Einstein proved, time is relative.

Print business dying, film at 11

So much for idealism. Here I always thought it was the news that sold the paper. Evidently I’m a naif. I recently learned that it’s everything but the news: it’s the sports, weather, home and parenting tips, and the TV listings that make the sales. In fact, NY Magazine is expanding its on-line TV coverage.

So, again, let me get this straight: TV Guide is pracyically dead, but NY Magazine, which could conceivably be covering lots more important things (especially with the local papers cutting their staffs), is picking up the slack, is that about right?

Who needs you anyway?

According to this item from Tower Ticker, the Chicago Tribune will go without the AP feed for one week, as an experiment, beginning Nov. 8.

As of 2005, the news collected by the AP is published and republished by more than 1,700 newspapers, in addition to more than 5,000 television and radio broadcasters. The photograph library of the AP consists of over 10 million images. The Associated Press operates 243 news bureaus, and it serves at least 120 countries, with an international staff located all over the world. (Wiki alert).

so let’s see: newspapers are cutting their staffs, and now they’re doing without the AP for content. Looks like a lot of internships are about to open up.

 

Do you know what it means, to miss New Orleans

Times-Picayune, or any other city newspaper?

Splice Today does, as evidenced in this artiucle. It’s kind of ironic because according to the site’s mission statement,

Splice Today is a web magazine featuring idiosyncratic writing and visual presentation on topics of interest and concern to an audience that values perspective over popularity. We depend on contributors who aren’t getting their voices heard anywhere else.

Isn’t that kind of the problem? That people are turning away from traditional newspapers for e-zeins like ST?

Anyway, the article notes

The numbers say it all, stark and simple, with no zippy adjectives needed to heighten their impact. Just last week, the Audit Bureau of Circulations, released its six-month downward spiral: Newspapers across the country lost 10.6 percent of their paying readers. And in Baltimore, the Sun—the last remaining major daily in a town which 25 years ago had three—lost 15 percent of its daily circulation and eight percent of its Sunday deliveries. Its daily circulation is now down to 186,639 and its Sunday circulation stands at 322,491.

But perhaps the scariest thought of all:

Without newspapers, Oprah will reign and People will set the American agenda. Think of a world of information dominated by Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck and a few other screwballs who use their First Amendment rights to contaminate the news pool by conflating opinion with fact. That’s how petri dish rumors, without editors and fact-checkers, are incubated and assume a life of their own outside the dish.

Sorry, I thought this happened already. The gym where I work out has a big screen TV in the lobby. Mind you, most of the people there are fairly upscale with higher-than-average educations. So why is The People’s Court, or some such nonsense always on?

  • A reluctant welcome

    It’s no secret what’s going on the field of print journalism. It’s going into the crapper. I wonder if Mr. Internet realized this would happen when he invented the World Wide Web. Regardless, the situation is here and we’re stuck with it. The purpose of this blog is to blow off a little steam, and I invite my fellow ink-stained wretches to join in with their own tales of woe or triumph. Maybe this will turn into a nice little support network. Questions? Suggestions? E-mail me at worriedjournalist(at) gmail(dot)com.
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