A new model for funding local journalism

Posted: September 25th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: journalism | Tags: , , , | View Comments

All right. I’ve complained enough about a lack of ingenuity on the part of news executives.

Now it’s time to do something about it.

I just submitted an application for the Knight News Challenge, a grant program that awards start-up money to organizations with new ideas on community journalism.

I’ve posted that application below. This is an open application period, which means anyone can view and comment on the idea, and I can make changes based on those comments until Oct. 15. Feel free to comment here or on our application’s page on the Knight Web site. I would sincerely appreciate any feedback. Read the rest of this entry »

Rick Sanchez talks social media in Raleigh

Posted: September 17th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: journalism | Tags: , , , | View Comments
via Chris Copins

via Chris Copins

It may not have been by fancy hologram, but CNN anchor Rick Sanchez Skyped in to a technology education class at N.C. State last week to talk social media and its impact on journalism (Watch the video or read the rough transcript).

Thanks to his show’s use of MySpace, Twitter and Facebook, Sanchez said his viewership is up almost 100 percent since he began hosting the time slot about a year ago. That’s shocking, especially as CNN continues to get dominated by the more partisan MSNBC and Fox News.

While Sanchez said he can directly attribute his show’s success with its use of social media, he said how he uses it is more important. Read the rest of this entry »

Electronics firm sums up state of journalism

Posted: September 9th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: journalism | Tags: , , | View Comments

I caught this gem of a commercial from Allied Electronics while watching the Science Channel over the long weekend.

I didn’t quite expect to burst out laughing at the end, when an older engineer decides to bash his younger colleague across the face with his six-inch thick catalog.

I thought volley between the electronics engineers was analogous to the battle between print and Web journalism — even the behavior seems to match.


- Young, tech-savvy rookie snidely touts the benefits of the slick online interface of the Web

- Curmudgeon defends print, citing nostalgia and intrinsic beauty of physical product

- Tech-savvy rookie counters with insult, calling curmudgeon a “dinosaur,” raves about instant nature of the Internet

- Curmudgeon responds with violence.

So which are you, curmudgeon or techy-savvy rookie? Vote and get a free T-shirt from Allied Electronics.

How fear cripples courageous newsrooms

Posted: September 3rd, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: journalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | View Comments

To Roger Fidler, 1995 represented a sea change in journalism.

For the last three years, Fidler had been directing the Information Design Lab at Knight-Ridder Inc., the nation’s second-largest newspaper chain.

Up until that point, things were looking good. Under the leadership of Jim Batten, a reporter/editor turned chairman, the company was flourishing. It owned about 30 newspapers across the U.S. and was posting millions in profits.

With Batten at the helm, the company was also investing in R&D amid a period of rapid technological change. From the IDL facility in Boulder, Colo., located right next door to an Apple Computer Inc. lab,  Fidler led a staff of 10 people who were tinkering with a variety of new media techniques. They worked closely with their next-door neighbors to develop content for the Newton, a PDA predecessor. They had close ties with Japanese electronics firms Toshiba and NEC. Read the rest of this entry »

Top 5 Android apps for breaking news

Posted: August 31st, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: journalism | Tags: , , , , , | View Comments

pressAndroidAfter 30 long months with my faithful Nokia 6126, I finally broke down and splurged on a new phone. I’m now the proud owner of a MyTouch 3G.

There’s so much about this phone that excites me, mainly because I’m a geek who doesn’t typically get my hands on new technology until it’s cheap enough to be evaluated in terms of the number of meals I’ll have to skip to afford it. So for a mere 200 double cheeseburgers, I have finally gained entry into the smartphone club, much to the dismay of people who are actually hip.

In just a fews day, I was blown away by the potential of this device to help in the reporting of spot news.

There’s already been some talk about iPhone apps that have the potential to revolutionize mobile journalism. But check out how five apps from the Android market can enhance the way news is gathered, produced and delivered — even from the field. Read the rest of this entry »

When the Observers fall silent

Posted: March 24th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: journalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , | View Comments

twotowersIf I was a gambling person, or had any luck, or any money, I’d start making my bets now on when The News & Observer and The Charlotte Observer will close their doors for good.

The fatal blows at the newspapers have already begun. Like a bully hastily overcompensating for his own inadequacies by demanding milk money from the nerdy kids, parent company McClatchy has put the squeeze on both organizations, forcing 160 people out of the job. Almost 60 of those layoffs come from the newsrooms of the N&O and The Charlotte Observer.

All of this, of course, is in an attempt to defy a continuing recession and make up for McClatchy’s $2 billion of debt by cleaving into the bone of these two still profitable newspapers.

It’s an effort to become a leaner organization, according to McClatchy Chief Executive Officer Gary Pruitt. In his words, the cuts will “realign our workforce and make our operations more efficient.”

That’s funny, since it didn’t seem like McClatchy was too interested in efficiency when it bought Knight-Ridder Inc. (and The Charlotte Observer) in 2006, weighing the company down with another 20 papers — oh, and that $2 billion in debt it’s now so eager to pay down at the expense of its employees’ livelihood.

But the other effect of the buy was more foreboding for the future of North Carolina.

The purchase consolidated the state’s two largest and most powerful watchdogs under one company.  Success — the unlikely scenario in an age of declining readership and ad revenues — would mean great things. Failure would mean the collapse of the Two Towers of North Carolina journalism.

In that single irresponsible act — committed apparently while Pruitt twirled his thin mustache with a dastardly grin –  the McClatchy Co. doomed North Carolina to a crippled ability to hold its government accountable. Read the rest of this entry »

'Game over man, game over'

Posted: March 3rd, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: journalism | Tags: , , , , | View Comments

co_rmnAs most people have already heard, The Rocky Mountain News went the way of the successful Wall Street trader and published its last issue on Friday. The move came after a month-long attempt by owner E.W. Scripps Co. to sell the Colorado tabloid.

Being the cynical, often disinterested guy I am, I didn’t think I’d be affected by the paper’s closure like I was.

It’s not that I didn’t expect it.

I’ve been in a lot of the arguments over the years about whether newspapers  and journalism are dying and I try to keep up as best I can with the blackness that is the state of the industry. I read Romenesko religiously,  I keep in touch with all my furloughed friends and I watch the increasingly prophetic earnings reports from the major media companies. But like all good journalists who express their feelings through alcohol consumption, I tried not to let the bad news get to me. Read the rest of this entry »

Let's try something different

Posted: February 25th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: journalism | Tags: | View Comments

Despite my work as a Web editor and my aspirations to become a multimedia journalist, I feel I have a confession to make.

I am an absolutely terrible blogger.

This blog, for example, I’ve had for going on more than two years. And as indicated by the time stamp on my previous post, any followers I would have had would have no evidence to suggest I hadn’t fled to a some part of the world with no access to the Internet — like Chatham County, apparently.

But I’m still in Raleigh, tapped into broadband, with plenty of time to waste YouTube-ing Christian Bale freakout remixes and monitoring the Twittersphere for Facebook backlash. That free time leaves me without a good excuse as to why I can’t update a blog. Read the rest of this entry »