Monday, October 26, 2009

Good news for newspaper journalism

The small type in the Newspaper Project public-service ad above may not be legible in digital format (a tiny victory for print?), but it says, "In these complicated times, life seems to come at us like a game of hardball: full of fast pitches and plenty of curveballs. That's why more than 100 million Americans rely on their local newspapers and newspaper websites to stay on top of their game. So take advantage of everything newspapers have to offer, like top-quality journalism you can trust. For readers and advertisers, newspapers are a guaranteed home run."

The ad alludes to baseball, now one of the good-news stories of the week, as the World Series between the Yankees and Phillies gets underway.

Another bit of good news comes from the newspaper industry itself. Buried in pack-journalism stories about "beleaguered" major-metro dailies owned by corporate chains are successes of mid-sized market dailies and other publications from weeklies to small-market dailies.

Even the Big Guys shows gains, however. Gannett, publishers of dozens of papers including USA Today, reported a net income of $73.8 million in the third quarter, when the McClatchy Co., another chain whose holdings include the Minneapolis star-Tribune reported a third-quarter net income of $23.6 million.

Those are profits, doomsayers, despite the Great Recession.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Nat'l Newspaper Week celebrates 69th year

October 4-10 is National Newspaper Week, an opportunity to promote journalism and newspapers launched by the Newspaper Association Managers group in 1940.

Here's a cool ad from the Newspaper Project.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Apple's Tablet could boost print

Book publishers already are lining up, and magazines and newspapers could be next: Apple is negotiating with several media companies to provide content for its Tablet -- or to access original content from the new, multitouch tablet.

"While the idea of print on the Tablet is enticing, it's nothing the Kindle or any E-Ink device couldn't do," comments the Gizmodo blog. However, "Microsoft's Courier [is] far away and Kindle stuck with relatively static E-Ink.

"The eventual goal is to have publishers create hybridized content that draws from audio, video and interactive graphics in books, magazines and newspapers."

Could Google Wave transform journalism?

Mark Milian in the Los Angeles Times has an interesting short column about how journalism could change as a result of Google's new collaborative web tool, Wave.

Here's a list of a few ideas on which he elaborates: collaborative reporting, recording and archiving interviews, live editing, smarter story updates, discuss while you read, transparent writing process, instant polls and Wiki news aggregator.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Barlett and Steele: Still busy after all these years

Writer Larry Atkins update of the investigative reporting team of Don Barlett and James Steele appears in the current Philadelphia Weekly, available online, and it's an inspiring tale.

Barlett and Steele -- 73 and 66 years old, respectively -- wrote the 1992 Philadephia Inquirer series America: What Went Wrong?, which was rewritten as a book that became a New York Times bestseller mentioned by President Clinton in his 2000 State of the Union Address. The Washington Journalism Review called Barlett and Steele “almost certainly the best team in the history of investigative reporting."

Since leaving the Inquirer, the pair have done substantial reporting for Time and Vanity Fair magazines and written book-length journalism such as 2004's Critical Condition: How Health Care in America Became Big Business-and Bad Medicine, which described the flawed health care system and urged reform.

“One of the questions we try to answer when researching a subject -- whether it be bankruptcy, health care, illegal immigration or taxes -- is this: Are people treated equally?" Barlett says. "Is there one rule for everyone, or do government and the big and powerful institutions of society favor one group of individuals over another, one business over another? The function of government in a democratic society should be to level the playing field rather than tilt it so that it favors a few over the many. Yet that’s exactly what happens -- over and over.”