Friday, April 13, 2012

New KPCC editor an advocate for open journalism

Melanie Sill, the former editor of the Sacramento Bee and the News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C., will be the new executive editor of Southern California Public Radio's KPCC-FM 89.3 in Pasadena.

She's a longtime advocate of open journalism, a more transparent collection and delivery of the news.

She wrote a very interesting paper on the topic in December, and commented on the subject on

"It’s time to open up journalism’s processes, not just its outcomes, to more robust and effective interaction with sources, contributors and consumers," Sill said. "A discipline based on bringing information to light needs to be more engaged with the expanding practices and culture of information exchange in the communication era. This is key to improving journalism’s service and expanding its value and effectiveness as a public good."

Web revenue to rise 21% this year

Local online advertising is expected to grow 21.3% in 2012, to reach around $20 billion, according to a new Borrell Associates report out this month. That’s on top of 20.6% growth in 2011.

"The commerce-focused 'pureplays' continue to dominate the local online ad scene, with a 46% share of the market, according to Borrell," reports Eric J. Smith for NetNewsCheck.

Newspapers are second at 25%.

Reviewing digital ad revenue from more than 5,700 media companies to compile its report, Borrell found that the average newspaper site also made nearly $2.2 million online last year, outpacing the average TV station’s take of $858,000. Radio sites lagged far behind, with an average of $445,000 in Web revenue.

Peoria market shows newspapers' web sites lead

Online presentation of news doesn't happen in a vacuum, according to Peoria Journal star business editor and media critic Steve Tarter. Newspapers provide the bulk of content online.

"Hardly a day doesn't go by when you don't hear something about the print media's fall from grace," he writes. "But the fact is that papers continue to inform in both print and online editions."

He quotes author Eric Alterman, also a professor of English and journalism at Brooklyn College, as bemoaning changes in presentation: "So long as our society treats the disappearance of newspapers as strictly a business matter - with no implications for the future health of our democracy - this problem will continue to worsen," Alterman wrote.

But Tarter points out that newspapers' newsroom are still the main source for the journalism the audience seeks.

"The newspaper remains," Tarter says, "just like the bulletin board that somehow still finds a place in this digital world."

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Mike Wallace, R.I.P.

CBS News last Saturday announced that the legendary Mike Wallace, the "60 Minutes" pit-bull reporter whose probing, brazen style made his name synonymous with the tough interview - a style he practically invented for television more than half a century ago - died.

He was 93 and passed away peacefully, surrounded by family members at Waveny Care Center in New Canaan, Conn., where he spent the past few years.

In his book "Heat and light," Wallace commented on how he deplored the focus on "opinion, gossip and scandal" that has become the norm in the 24-hour news cycle.

TV news, Wallace said, has become "yammer, yammer, yammer. It's infotainment. It used to be race to the top. To a certain degree, news today is a race to the bottom."