Thursday, December 18, 2008

What about better articles?

In all the discussion about the Detroit papers suspending home delivery except for the three most profitable days of the week (Thursday, Friday, Sunday) there seems to be little discussion about the c-word -- content.

This quote from Jim Schaefer of the Free Press is typical. (Click for full article.)
This is something that would be hard to reverse. This is not like a magazine or neighborhood news sections, those tricks we have tried for years and then reversed them. This is viewed as something you live or die with.
As I've long contended, this erosion has only been sped up by the Internet. At the core of the problem is a product people don't want to read. If perhaps they thought about something compelling to readers that they could only get in the print edition then perhaps they could resume home delivery the other five days of the week.

This is not new. I recall conversations 15 years ago with the circulation department of a magazine I worked at. We spent an hour reviewing premiums that readers would receive if they subscribed. I wondered aloud if we shouldn't just worry about writing better articles to see if that would attract more readers. I was told it was more complicated than that. Perhaps so.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Anyone care?

I have never understood the logic behind a byline strike. Never have, never will. Do people really care?

Apparently AP is in the midst of one now. (Click here.)

I defy anyone to find me anyone who cares or even knows about this.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Cheap gas

Gas at $1.75/gallon. I wish it was this way this past summer when we spent three weeks on the road suffering through $4/gallon gas. My emotional side is glad gas is cheaper. My intellectual side fears it means our country will revert to its usual lazy mode and not work hard enough to find alternative sources of energy.

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Thursday, December 4, 2008

Friday, October 3, 2008

Why adult supervision is still needed

Here's a great lesson in why "citizen journalism" isn't all it's cracked up to be.

From Silicon Alley Insider:

"Citizen journalism" apparently just failed its first significant test.  A CNN iReport poster reported this morning that Steve Jobs had been rushed to the ER after a severe heart attack.  Fortunately, it appears the story was false. We contacted an Apple spokeswoman, who categorically denies this.
Here's a link to the full post. (Click here.)

In one sense I admire CNN for its iReport effort. But this for sure demonstrates the value "old media" still holds. Another good example -- many outlets have taken it upon themselved to verifty claims made by the candidates. Here's a good example from CNN. (Click here.)

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Olin Stephens (1908-2008)

When I heard about Olin Stephens' death yesterday I remembered all that he had done for sailing and, most important, how he took a love for the sport and not only made it a career but changed the world of yachting forever.

I met Olin many times over the years but had the chance to sit with him at a luncheon about 12 years ago in Newport. At that time the marine industry was going through a transformation -- sailboats no longer ruled. Powerboats had long outsold sailboats but in the 80s and 90s the powerboat portion of the industry was becoming even more dominant. Thus, I was expecting a lecture from Olin because the magazine I was running then was covering more power than sail. It was a lecture I was used to from men of his era, men who reminded me of the past. Surprisingly, Olin understood and was supportive of the changes. At the end of the conversation, he said "The world changes."

It does and I am thrilled to know that I had the chance to meet a man who was responsible for so much of that change.

A few good articles on his life and career:

New York Yacht Club. (Click here.) (Click here.)

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Rex Grossman

Why this? Because I can, I guess. I managed to upgrade to a Nikon SLR in July which managed to annoy my kids to no end since all I did was take pictures of them on vacation. But they did find it cool that I could take action shots of the Bears when we visited their summer training camp a few weeks ago.

Here we have Rex Grossman which is kind of cool. Except a few days ago Kyle Orton was named the starter. So much for my career in sports journalism.