Saturday, January 23, 2010

Journalists in Haiti need help, too

Broadcast journalists work in the studios of Signal FM, the only Haitian radio station to continuously broadcast during and after the powerful, 7.0-magnitude earthquake that ravaged the capital, Port-au-Prince, and surrounding areas. (Photo from AP/Ariana Cubillos)

Haiti needs water, food and medical assistance, and the world needs news from the impoverished nation reeling from the January 12 earthquake there.

Joel Simon, executive director of the Committee to Protect Journalists, has joined a myriad of groups gathering donations to help Haitians.

"We are beginning to collect funds that will go directly to Haitian journalists," Simon said. "If you’d like to make a contribution you can [go to] and enter 'Haiti' in the 'Notes' section on the second page."

For other opportunities to help Haitians, go to

Also, there are three easy ways to donate $10 through your cell-phone bill: To give $10 to Hope for Haiti Now, text 50555 and type "give" in the message. To give $10 to the Red Cross, text 90999 and type "haiti" in the message. To give $10 to Save The Children, text 20222 and type "Save" in the message. All three will promptly reply with an opportunity to confirm your contribution.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Mainstream newsrooms still produce most news

A new study finds that "most local news still flows from newspapers, and while broadcasters, web sites and blogs, and even social-network sites or podcasts distribute news, "the work of gathering that news is still the job of newspapers," adds the Pottstown (Pa.) Mercury.

The study, from the Pew research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism, shows that mot actual reporting comes from U.S. newspapers.

"It does say that as digital platforms for information proliferate, most original reporting comes from traditional sources — local newspapers, television stations and radio stations," writes Majorie Cortez of the Deseret (Utah) News. "Most digital news outlets are regurgitating the reporting of newspapers, television and radio stations. They often add commentary but provide little new information.

Newspaper job loss in perspective

About 15,000 newspaper workers lost their jobs last year, according to News Cycle, a media industry outfit.

Some perspective: From August forward, layoffs dropped significantly.

Further, as Bill Steiderwald writes in The American Conservative magazine, "despite all the headlines and hysteria, exactly 10 of the country's 1,437 daily newspapers have stopped publishing since 2007. [And] in September alone, the construction industry shed 64,000 jobs."

Lastly, there's a sizable difference between the headline-grabbing situations of the Rocky Mountain News and the Chicago Tribune on the one hand, and dailies that operate far more quietly and profitably in small and mid-sized markets.

"One thing that would be supportive of newspaper employment is that 70 percent of daily newspapers have circulation under 50,000," said newspaper financial analyst John Morton. "Those kinds of newspapers have suffered far less than big city papers have. Going forward, they will suffer less."

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Regional Journalism job fair Jan. 30 in Muncie, Ind.

There still may be time to get a slot at the January 30 job fair at Ball State University in Muncie, Ind.

Go to this pdf file for details --

Friday, January 8, 2010

Stop blaming the Internet: Tina Brown

One-fourth of the Daily Beast's Tina Brown's fine January 3 post, "Things to stop bitching about in 2010," rightfully criticizes the whining about the web and the doomsayers who pronounce as dead or passe substantive journalism such as investigative reporting.

"What a load of Spam!" Brown writes. "American newspapers are dying mostly because they were so dull for so long a whole generation gave up on them. They needed to innovate back in the Fax Age of the 1980s but were too self-important and making too much money with their monopolies to acknowledge it.

"In the U.K., there is a banquet of glorious newspapers to feast on in the morning despite the presence of the Internet," she continues. "All of these papers look nothing like they did 15 years ago. Furrow-browed broadsheets like The Times of London and The Guardian got snappy new overhauls, cut down to a more modern-feeling tabloid size, with a use of pictures and color that's imaginative and striking and appealing to the younger demographic.

"These 'serious' papers are replete with sexy culture coverage and hip fashion stories as well as foreign reporting and brainiac columnists that make them a guilty pleasure to read. It's one of the biggest fibs going that American newspapers are now being forced to give up their commitment to investigative reporting. Most of them gave up long ago as their greedy managements squeezed every cent out of the bottom line and turned their newsrooms into eunuchs. As for the Internet thieving the bona fide news reporters' hard-worked stories, 'Back at ya!' is all I can say. Online writers for years have had their stories ripped off by newspapers with no credit. At least the Internet links to the things it steals. Whatever his views on this issue, by the way, Rupert Murdoch has greatly improved The Wall Street Journal. Leave it to an Aussie to give American journalism a swift kick in its down under."

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Between tweets and twenty-inch clumsiness

Long-time commentator Michael Kinsley in the new Atlantic monthly magazine criticizes "traditional" newspaper writing for being too long, too formulaic and too timid.

He's got a point -- several of them, actually. And surely there must be a happy medium -- at least a practical, functional middle ground -- between ridiculously short Twitter posts or even typical USA Today brevity on the one extreme and overwritten and predictable (and lo-o-o-o-ng for no apparent reason) stories on the other.

Kinsley's take (not too long, appropriately enough, and quite readable) is highly recommended.