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Black and White and Dead All Over
May 12, 2009 9:21 AM   Subscribe

My, how the tables have turned: Many of the same daily newspaper correspondents that not too long ago turned up their noses at us online journalism pioneers, claiming we weren't "real" journalists, now fill my email box daily with their resumes, looking to me and others like me to provide them with work. ... Memo to my remaining daily print colleagues and their nostalgia club: Get over it and get over yourselves. It’s not that the Internet is Mr. Wonderful. Much of it mimics the same bad qualities that drove the public away from daily newspapers. You lost the public to us because - there's no nice or sugar-coated way to say it - you guys really suck at what you do.

In your arrogance, you established calcified “rules” of “journalism” and false “objectivity” that neutered and spayed all of your reporters, domesticated so they would never again afflict the comfortable or comfort the afflicted. When you took the honest advocacy out of reporting you emptied it of all passion and reason to exist. It was a nice ride on your profit ledger sheet during the recent decades when you turned your rags into propaganda arms for the wealthy and powerful, but a funny thing happened on the way to the ATM machine: You lost the trust of your readers, half of whom have already given you the finger and pursued alternate routes to inform themselves of current events. And the rest are on the way through the same EXIT sign. [Caution: mean things are said about David Simon]
posted by Joe Beese (95 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
HAHA LOOK AT ME NOW SUCKAS, etc.
posted by plexi at 9:27 AM on May 12, 2009 [5 favorites]


a funny thing happened on the way to the ATM machine-
I realized it's pretty awesome that I know where to find a machine that dispenses ATMs
posted by Dr-Baa at 9:29 AM on May 12, 2009 [10 favorites]


a funny thing happened on the way to the ATM machine-
I realized it's pretty awesome that I know where to find a machine that dispenses ATMs

But only if you know the PIN number.
posted by Floydd at 9:32 AM on May 12, 2009 [15 favorites]


I don't know what this guy's POV is, and I don't care to find out as his website design screams "we are nutjobs".

I do know that the reason that newspapers are in decline is not because journalists aren't advocates anymore, it is because of technology. Again, this is a POV that screams "I am a nutjob".

Finally, it's really lazy to write so angry. If I was his editor, I would send his screed back for a second draft. "You're too angry and you sound like a nutjob."
posted by dydecker at 9:32 AM on May 12, 2009 [11 favorites]


I like the second comment by Laura Lewis.
I like this Al but there are a few things you don't mention. One is that the demise of print journalism is not just due to the advent of the internet (as well as to the increasing "popularization" and corporatization of print journalism), but also to the fact that time escapes most of us. When we were growing up we had more time, our parents had more time, we had the leisure to read the paper every morning. That ended for me some years ago. I wish I commuted by train just so I had downtime. I'd much rather have a paper (or a magazine like the Nation) in my hands than get my news from the internet. When I began to throw out newspapers instead of reading them, that was the end of that. I only get the Sunday NYT, I rarely have a chance to read the whole thing, and it usually pisses me off anyway (especially when they include glossy inserts full of over-the-top expensive items; ridiculous suggestions about travel; or dumb op-ed pieces about the end of tenure). So for me the really sad thing is to watch print journalism losing the battle with capitalism. The same thing happened with quality network television (my father was a documentary film producer for ABC until it was bought out years ago by Capital Cities, even before its - what - Disneyfication).

The second thing is that Spanish language newspapers are actually thriving in places like New York. I can't remember the reasons for this but it seems that less internet access, more time (maybe because of underemployment, but still more time) and perhaps a culture that is still print-oriented helps these print newspapers survive.
I agree. I have so little time to devote to reading the news that even trying to get through a whole days paper (which I used to relish) seems impossible now. You've even got discussions on Reddit wherein users are complaining about multi-page internet articles. Sure, some of it is just plain laziness, but I think there is a bit of truth there as well.

Also, what the hell happened to The Learning Channel and A&E? They used to have wonderful shows covering all sorts of interesting topics. They were the only channels worth even having when I was younger. Now I can't remember the last time I even thought of checking them out.
posted by purephase at 9:36 AM on May 12, 2009 [5 favorites]


A pretty wondrous piece of writing - if only insofar as it is the purest imaginable expression of this utterly moronic (and increasingly tiresome) glee to which so many "commentators", finding that they have nothing of substance to say and no real vision of the future of media, seem to be resorting.

I don't know Giordano's background but I'd bet good money that there's some deep personal bitterness regarding his own journalistic career path - which organizations didn't give him a job, etc - that explains this worthless rant almost entirely. Pretty sure there's a bit of that going on with Jeff Jarvis and Michael Wolff too.

It's easy to tell when such personal bitterness is not present in a new media commentator (see: Clay Shirky) because the tone is calm and the their proposals and ideas are constructive and useful, not gleefully nihilistic.
posted by game warden to the events rhino at 9:38 AM on May 12, 2009 [11 favorites]


Newspapers, LOL. It's amazing how caught up these people are in their own mythology, about how they are the only arbitrators of truth and justice, shining a light on corruption and failings of governments large and small. When you look at the actual product they produce, it seems absurd.

The mythologizing of local newspapers is equally absurd. They think an "era of corruption" will evolve without them, but the truth is local governments are frequently corrupt anyway, and newspapers can become corrupted just as well. In fact, there's a fairly obvious incentive for local papers to be cozy with local business and developers who dominate local governments, since they would be the chief advertisers in local papers.

When you look at the national papers, their product is dreadful. They completely dropped the ball over the past decade, often going out of their way to suck up to the powerful in exchange for 'scoops' and insider access. When you hear what they have to say about themselves, it's hard to imagine anyone being so blind to their own failings. And if newspapers are doing such wonderful work, where are the examples? They just blithely state how awesome they are, without ever giving examples of the kinds of things newspapers are supposed to be doing.

I suppose other groups of people are just as smug and self-satisfied, but they just don't have the ability and soap boxes needed to express and broadcast their smug self-satisfaction the way the newspaper industry does.
posted by delmoi at 9:39 AM on May 12, 2009 [13 favorites]


But only if you know the PIN number.

Ah yes, the secret code to access my PIN. I keep it taped to the back of my LCD display.
posted by Dr-Baa at 9:39 AM on May 12, 2009 [15 favorites]


"I’ll take a passionate citizen’s reports or blog entries about a city council meeting or a court case over a daily newspaper reporter’s any day of the week"

no, you won't - because you're going to have a hell of time finding one

the internet does not do local well
posted by pyramid termite at 9:40 AM on May 12, 2009 [3 favorites]


This is a shit article full of unsupported exaggerations.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:40 AM on May 12, 2009 [9 favorites]


You've even got discussions on Reddit wherein users are complaining about multi-page internet articles.

I hate them too. Not because they are so long but because they slow me down as I try to read the article in the interest of getting more ad impressions. It's just another reminder that the content is not the product, I am the product being sold to the advertisers.
posted by grouse at 9:41 AM on May 12, 2009 [7 favorites]


This unfortunately has much of the whiff of 'freetard' movement about it that surrounds music piracy, ie. it doesn't matter if the professionals can't make a living at it, those who are truly passionate will do the work for free. The problems with that in music are clear and much of same can be said for journalism. Yes, passionate 'citizen-journalists' can investigate and raise issues that the mainstream media will overlook, but this is a far cry from thinking that bloggers can replace newspapers. Like the blogosphere, newspapers can be a echo chamber. Like newspapers, blogs can be swayed and bought by corporations. And ultimately, so much of the blogosphere is ultimately dependent upon the primary sources, old conventional media.

Slapping on a Web 2.0 coat of paint changes nothing.
posted by outlier at 9:42 AM on May 12, 2009 [2 favorites]


Wow. I was feeling kinda starved of italics until I got to this post.

I second dydecker on this. The guy reads like a nutjob and skips over the fact that technology is killing traditional journalism. Also, telling people THEY SUCK and then accusing them of being arrogant is somewhat ironic.

Also, putting it down to a demand for journalism that isn't objective, or quasi objective, is possibly true when you consider the popularity of Fox News or countless blogs, but that doesn't make it a good thing. If you follow that particular trend, you end up with a totally fragmented media, no semblance of one version of the truth, and a dysfunctional audience who migrate exclusively to the media who pander to their existing tastes.
posted by MuffinMan at 9:43 AM on May 12, 2009


I suppose other groups of people are just as smug and self-satisfied, but they just don't have the ability and soap boxes needed to express and broadcast their smug self-satisfaction the way the newspaper industry does.

The smug grave-dancers of the blogosphere are giving them a good run for their money! Did you read the article?
posted by game warden to the events rhino at 9:44 AM on May 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


"Newspapers are corporations and naturally allied with all other profit-motive ventures. They may sometimes report a good story about malfeasance in the private sector, but they will never touch, not even with the petal of a rose, the systemic causes of matters like the current economic crisis because they’re invested in the same mechanisms: stock marketeering, mergers and acquisitions, downsizing, outsourcing, union-busting and unregulated market rules that encourage playing fast-and-loose with the truth."

He might be a angry nutjob but he makes a pretty good point with the paragraph.
posted by photoslob at 9:48 AM on May 12, 2009 [4 favorites]


Tattoo this article on the NYT's ass. Also Katie Couric's, if it (her ass) is large enough. Otherwise, use her forehead.
posted by DU at 9:50 AM on May 12, 2009 [3 favorites]


They think an "era of corruption" will evolve without them, but the truth is local governments are frequently corrupt anyway, and newspapers can become corrupted just as well. In fact, there's a fairly obvious incentive for local papers to be cozy with local business and developers who dominate local governments, since they would be the chief advertisers in local papers.

I won't get into our local equivalent of this particular crapfest in detail, but yes, the local newspaper family in Spokane did connive with developers to push through a project without full disclosure, using city funds to help make it happen.

The wonderful thing is, the local newspapers DID uncover the fraud and kept pushing and pushing about the point until it was brought to a hearing.

The existence of an active local press will never prevent fraud and corruption. It will hopefully expose it when it happens. This will ALWAYS be after the fact. How will it be brought to light when the papers no longer exist?
posted by hippybear at 9:52 AM on May 12, 2009 [3 favorites]


Lord, this article sucked. No cites. Nothing constructive or substantial. Just a long-winded, badly written, schadenfreude-laden rant.

The New York Times released its new version of Reader yesterday, and reviews seem generally favorable. The Reader will allow the Times to begin charging 'net readers for access, which may or may not be a viable, profitable business model. Rupert Murdoch is also planning to charge readers of the papers he owns.

If Mr. Giordano wants to weigh in on those and other developments that are relevant to the profession's evolving business model, then he'll have my attention. 'Til then, he's just an angry blogger who continues to prove he "isn't a real journalist."
posted by zarq at 9:53 AM on May 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


Might I humbly suggest to those of who haven't heard of Narco News or Al Giordano that you're not really qualified to be making sweeping generalizations as to the state of online journalism?
posted by enn at 9:53 AM on May 12, 2009 [8 favorites]


the internet does not do local well

Actually, I've been in a couple of smaller towns where this is not the case, and at least a politically active minority used the internet quite well to stay on top of local issues. I'd say that the internet does not do local well yet, but with sites like this making it super easy to organize locally, I see that changing pretty quickly.

And if newspapers are doing such wonderful work, where are the examples?

Well, here are a few examples, from this year's Pulitzer Prizes. (Though I'm no defender of newspapers in general, there are still terrific papers with very committed, talented reporters.)
posted by LooseFilter at 9:54 AM on May 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: soap box to express and broadcast smug self-satisfaction the way the newspaper industry does
posted by Pollomacho at 9:59 AM on May 12, 2009


If I was his editor...

I got a laugh out of this notion. Editor?
posted by Devils Rancher at 10:01 AM on May 12, 2009


There may be a point lurking under all of that bad writing, but he screws it up. He's confusing the reason newspapers are dying with the reason he thinks they aren't worth saving. He's smug and sloppy in this piece accusing others of being sloppy and smug. The death of newspapers is not going to kill the forces that sapped the newspapers of value. Those forces are big business, the PR industry and the government-lobby complex. And they are as perky as ever, and acquiring the skills to do to blogs what they did the the so-called MSM. And the alternative media does not have the defensive resources to cope. The kind of attitude displayed by the writer of this piece is not going to help him acquire the necessary skills.
posted by WPW at 10:02 AM on May 12, 2009 [7 favorites]


enn, I'm familiar with both. This essay still sucks.
posted by zarq at 10:09 AM on May 12, 2009


I wish people like this would do some historical research into the history of newspapers in this country. The number of years in which newspapers weren't scabrous rags of yellow journalism meant to prop up one rich white dude's goals or another are pretty slim in the overall picture. This golden ideal that he thinks was killed by the current crop of owners never really existed.
posted by spicynuts at 10:10 AM on May 12, 2009 [7 favorites]


I don't know Giordano's background but I'd bet good money that there's some deep personal bitterness regarding his own journalistic career path -

I've never met a journalist without a Mariana Trench of "deep personal bitterness regarding his own journalistic career path".

Without that, you're not the real deal!
posted by Jody Tresidder at 10:13 AM on May 12, 2009 [3 favorites]


Oh, man, Keyboard Cat needs to play this guy out BAD.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 10:16 AM on May 12, 2009 [4 favorites]


The number of years in which newspapers weren't scabrous rags of yellow journalism meant to prop up one rich white dude's goals or another are pretty slim in the overall picture.

Remember the Maine!
posted by Pollomacho at 10:16 AM on May 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


Also: A demented overreliance on "scare quotes" is often a strong "indication" that one is a fucking "crank" who should maybe shut "the fuck" up and sit still "for his meds."
posted by kittens for breakfast at 10:18 AM on May 12, 2009 [5 favorites]


Also, David Simon made the case that newspapers took a big hit before 1996 (well before the blogosphere was inflated) thanks to Wall Street ownership slashing reporting/editing staff to prop up short term profit margins.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:18 AM on May 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


enn: Yes. "I don't know who this Hawking fellow is, but his website design screams 'nutjob!' and all this guff about black holes makes no sense to me at all. I doubt there's anything much to it."
posted by rusty at 10:18 AM on May 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


The New York Times released its new version of Reader yesterday, and reviews seem generally favorable.

Proving once again that They Just Don't Get It. "Online journalism" isn't good because it's online. It's good because it's journalism.
posted by DU at 10:19 AM on May 12, 2009 [3 favorites]


And if newspapers are doing such wonderful work, where are the examples?

You'd have to be pretty blinkered to not be aware of things that are only uncovered by paid journalists. In Britain right now the political establishment is having conniptions because MPs' expense claims and fiddles have been exposed by a newspaper, ending a chain of events that began with a journalist filing an FoI request and a lengthy battle between journalists trying to get the facts and MPs strongly resisting publication.

Putting that aside, I don't think it's a fair question. Newspapers as we now know them are shadows of their former selves, having been asset-mined by proprietors chasing ludicrous 20% profit margins for the past decade. To look at them as they lie gasping and bloodied on the mat and say "haw haw, these guys are supposed to be our champions? They couldn't fight a toddler" is to miss the point somewhat.

The gleefulness is understandable: newspapers have served us imperfectly. But I haven't yet read a single glee-post – and that includes this link – that offers anything concrete that will serve us any better. To think that there are hordes of citizen journalists just waiting for their chance to operate his "better mousetrap" is deluded.

Journalism done properly can be nasty – in the past 10 years over 1100 journalists have been killed at work, 657 of them in their own countries, in peacetime -- and is much more often deeply boring. The ability of "citizen journalists" to take on power with no support is unclear.

We've had the web for 15 years now. There's been nothing preventing citizen journalism flourishing in that period, and yet it hasn't. We've got lots of op-ed, and comically small amounts of original reporting. Giordano wants to throw out the bathwater. Maybe he should wait until the baby's actually born, first?
posted by fightorflight at 10:23 AM on May 12, 2009 [36 favorites]


I'm glad I wasn't the only one recycling unread newspapers! There is more than one factor in the decline of print journalism, for sure. Between increasing prices, diminishing content, and lack of time to read, technology isn't the juggernaut that some self-aggrandizing "online" "journalists" "think" it is.
posted by lily_bart at 10:28 AM on May 12, 2009


It's also worth noting that newspapers have a long history of not being very profitable - they've been a difficult business since the Second World War, if not longer. The best newspapers tend to lose money while the ones led by scurrilous chitchat, celeb scandal and sensational lies do better. The very best newspapers have often been the ones that have indulgent or liberal rich proprietors, happy to bear the losses because they get the prestige of a campaigning newspaper. Proprietors like that seem to have disappeared. My own preferred newspaper, the UK Guardian, is a rare case in that it is run by a charitable trust.
posted by WPW at 10:33 AM on May 12, 2009 [3 favorites]


To think that there are hordes of citizen journalists just waiting for their chance to operate his "better mousetrap" is deluded.

This is exactly what Bill Gates said about software quality 15 years ago. Probably says the same today, but who listens to Bill Gates today?
posted by DU at 10:33 AM on May 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


Thank you fightorflight! I didn't have enough emotional energy left in reserve to put the point comprehensibly, but luckily, you did.
posted by saulgoodman at 10:38 AM on May 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


Ah yes, the secret code to access my PIN. I keep it taped to the back of my LCD display.

Ah yes. I'm doing some CAD design on mine right now.
posted by kingbenny at 10:40 AM on May 12, 2009 [2 favorites]


Fred Clark really doesn't understand investing.
posted by Kwantsar at 10:43 AM on May 12, 2009


Ah yes, the secret code to access my PIN. I keep it taped to the back of my LCD display.

I think you may be displaying signs of RAS syndrome.
posted by mdoar at 10:45 AM on May 12, 2009 [3 favorites]


I once heard Douglas Hurd refer to the "United Nations UNPROFOR Force". Two for one!
posted by WPW at 10:47 AM on May 12, 2009


DU: Was he talking about Linux? Because if he was saying that open source software wouldn't turn out better quality software for consumers than paid professionals, I think time proved him right. Apple and Adobe are infuriating, but by god I'd rather use OS X and Photoshop than desktop Linux and the GiMP. Anyway, the comparison falls down pretty quickly: you can code from your bedroom, with very little personal risk and hardly any vested interests trying to stop you.

WPW: That's exactly right, though there's an outside chance the new owner of the London Evening Standard is exactly one of those types. Also, the Guardian is no longer owned by a trust, sadly. They turned the Scott trust into a limited company, with apparently little consideration of the alternatives.
posted by fightorflight at 10:48 AM on May 12, 2009 [2 favorites]


Proving once again that They Just Don't Get It. "Online journalism" isn't good because it's online. It's good because it's journalism.

The review was a link to PC Magazine article discussing the software interface. It had nothing to do with whether the articles would be of higher quality because they were available to readers online. The point of such software is outreach by the Times to readers who want to experience reading their articles (and doing crosswords) in an interface that more closely resembles a newspaper, in the hopes that they will be willing to pay for it.
posted by zarq at 10:49 AM on May 12, 2009


I completely agree with fightorflight's point, but here's an example of newspapers doing things badly (picking up a fake quote from a Wikipedia article and running with it).
posted by languagehat at 10:49 AM on May 12, 2009


"ATM machine" appears to be standard usage at companies that sell the things. (1), (2), (3), (4), (5)
posted by Joe Beese at 10:53 AM on May 12, 2009


Would this be, say, the same companies who sell ATMs AND RIG NATIONAL ELECTIONS, Joe Beese?

(Sorry. The original article here made me get all tinfoilhatty for a second).
posted by bitter-girl.com at 10:58 AM on May 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


Because if he was saying that open source software wouldn't turn out better quality software for consumers than paid professionals, I think time proved him right.

lol, and I say that as a paid professional software developer.

you can code from your bedroom, with very little personal risk and hardly any vested interests trying to stop you.

Yes, I'm aware of the "pajama-clad, cheeto-stained blogger" image that corporate "journalists" like to wave around.
posted by DU at 10:58 AM on May 12, 2009


Dan Carlin had an interesting podcast on this yesterday. (If you haven't listened to Dan Carlin, I'd recommend you do so - both "Common Sense" and Hardcore History are informative, well-produced shows.)

While there are many factors behind the failure cascade of newspapers the US is experiencing right now, Dan pointed out that one area that isn't being talked about much is the newspaper's loss of exclusivity: not against television and the internet (although that's a factor too), but against each other.

When newspapers draw heavily on a wire service, or other news sources (API, UPI, Reuters, etc), there's little informational advantage to reading one newspaper over another. Investigative reporters are expensive to hire per column inch of exclusive content; it makes a lot more sense (at least from the perspective of profit) to simply edit what you gained from another news source.

When all newspapers become more or less equal in terms of content, it makes sense for customers to turn to a medium that does the same thing, but better and cheaper.

Of course, this happens on blogs too, but they, on the whole, aren't for-profit vehicles with a staff of hundreds. Newspapers lost their reason for existing when they refused, for matters of profit, to do the two things newspapers excel at: in-depth analysis of breaking news, and following complex stories in a daily or weekly format.
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul at 11:00 AM on May 12, 2009 [3 favorites]


Newspapers are doomed.

I would guess that metafilter is frequented by folks who are much more interested in current news and engaging reporting than the average person. Yet when someone inadvertently posts a link to something that requires free registration (presumably so the news provider can show advertisers the quality of their readership), people invariably freak out as if they had been slapped in the face. We also tend to vigorously protest against the advertising which is RUTHLESSLY STEALING OUR BANDWIDTH AND CPU CYCLES (and is, in all fairness, often quite annoying).

We love good journalism. We understand it costs money to produce. But we won't pay for it. In fact, we won't even abide anything that might facilitate advertisers paying for our free news.

We can complain about declining quality and evil media conglomerates, but I think the bottom line is that we are the reason there is no hope for an effective business model.
posted by snofoam at 11:08 AM on May 12, 2009 [14 favorites]


You'd have to be pretty blinkered to not be aware of things that are only uncovered by paid journalists. In Britain right now...

I would think that this blogger is mostly talking about US media...and there are good reporters here, but fewer (or no?) good papers anymore.

It is beyond frustrating to have read so much good writing on (say) torture memos or healthcare's obstacles online, and then to turn around and see the pathetic excuse for coverage, or even commentary, of the same topics in papers, radio, or TV. It is orders of magnitude stupider, vaguer, and less interesting, like book reports written from the info on the cover blurb versus an actual review.

I think paying people to gather and report the news will, eventually, become a business again, but it may not be until the Great Convergence of web and TV--without newspapers, those two outlets are pretty much all there is. And unless/until those media streams merge, TV won't see the Web as competition.

But paper is mostly dead, and can't come back. Not sure about "paid" web--lot of resistance to that, and more importantly, lots of ways to copy and resend that kind of data/hack passwords/etc. But a web/tv hybrid with ads, sure, we're already used to that.
posted by emjaybee at 11:09 AM on May 12, 2009


"ATM machine" appears to be standard usage at companies that sell the things.
They are changing the labeling to promote greater search engine visibility.

Note
they refer to them just as ATMs on the actual pages.
posted by Dr-Baa at 11:16 AM on May 12, 2009


Might I humbly suggest to those of who haven't heard of Narco News or Al Giordano that you're not really qualified to be making sweeping generalizations as to the state of online journalism?

Well, I spend a lot of time reading online journalism and have never felt the need to peruse this terribly-designed site, which seems terribly confused and rather paranoid. But anyway, just think about this:

The article is shit. Either it is representative of online journalism, in which case its argument that independent online sources can do as good a job as newspapers is refuted by the article itself. Or it is not representative of online journalism, and is just an atypical and particularly bad example of shit, in which case its author is the last person one would want to go to for insight into the future of online journalism. I can't see a third option here.
posted by game warden to the events rhino at 11:17 AM on May 12, 2009 [4 favorites]


There an "I told you so"/"Revenge of the Nerds" element to the reporting of the demise of newspapers. They could've easily had a huge chunk of the online ad market that's gone to Google and craigslist, but repeatedly ignored advice and even belittled the geeky, messy, disruptive web. And they're still shunning opportunities and lagging behind.
posted by malevolent at 11:21 AM on May 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


...still, I must note, a lot of the folx in this thread are probably pleased to note that there is no advertising at Giordano's website. They do beg for money, however, and seem to be not doing as well with donations as they hope.
posted by hippybear at 11:27 AM on May 12, 2009


damn fingers... here, try looking at this thread, which I failed to link to before.
posted by hippybear at 11:28 AM on May 12, 2009


I enjoy my schadenfreude as much as the next guy, but I never thought of applying it to newspapers. He's waiting for papers to die off and expects that to be the end of “commercial media.” Online doesn't mean non-commercial. Online media is still trying to determine the best way to run profitably, but their reporters are receiving paychecks. That payroll has to come from some revenue source, advertisers or subscribers. He mocks “rules” of “journalism.” Personally, I appreciate the higher standard and accountability I get from a paper than from some guy's blog. Also, someone who writes for their livelihood and subsequently gets edited is more likely to produce readable copy than, well, some guy's blog. Obviously, newspapers aren't perfect and there have been scandals with plagerism and invented stories. But I like to think that those are outside of the norm and the fact that when these cases come to light they become news themselves is evidence that newspapers try to take journalism seriously. This guy's just a douche.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 11:35 AM on May 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


snofoam has some good points above, but I feel most of this has been gone over several times by now. The day of reckoning just got here a few years later than many expected.

Also, some aging news man (Tom Brokaw? Dan Rather? can't remember) said in an interview that Network Television News is a revenue loser for the networks, but it is important to have for competition's sake, and the revenues from the entertainment side of the stations easily subsidize it.

Even with something like CNN, other properties in the same family help mitigate some of that "news always" expense. Also, CNN would be severely hamstrung without the networks and local affiliate coverage.

I also think small local papers have a chance, if they play it smart. There is no reason for a local paper to have national news. It is wasted space, and whatever they have to say on it has already expired by press time, and is immediately eclipsed by TV and web coverage.

Local news, local interests, local advertisers.

Also, with the internet, do we really NEED dailies anymore?

How about a news-magazine style publication with local content and local advertisers, printed once a week with smaller reporting staffs who have time to work on stories rather than get "something" to the presses by 2?

I do think there is little to no hope for large regional and national papers.
posted by Ynoxas at 11:46 AM on May 12, 2009


Yesterday, I wrote:

I think the first unmistakable sign of the Fall was the failure of the entirety of the American press to adequately examine Colin Powell's address to the United Nations, in which he "made the case" for the Iraq War. He did no such thing, and even a mediocre attorney could punch holes in it the size of a Mack Truck on cross-examination. But the press relied on Powell's reputation, just as credit agencies relied on the reputation of financial institutions without investigating and interrogating the constituent parts of mortgage bundles. And we relied on the reputation of our media, without interrogating it. Even people strongly opposed to the war checked the totality of their opposition for a moment, thinking, "Well, if the New York Times bought it, they must know something we don't…maybe…"

This colossal failure of the mainstream media directly led to the explosion of blogs and online media that now threatens the totality of the established 4th Estate. Someone had to watch the watchdog because as starving mutt knows all too well, you can't bite the hand that feeds you.

Read more at 3QuarksDaily.
posted by bedlam at 11:55 AM on May 12, 2009 [2 favorites]


fightorflight: They turned the Scott trust into a limited company ...

Yes, not a wise move IMHO but I understand there won't be too much operational difference. For now. I erred in calling it charitable, slip of the brain.
posted by WPW at 12:09 PM on May 12, 2009


Dan Carlin had an interesting podcast on this yesterday. (If you haven't listened to Dan Carlin, I'd recommend you do so - both "Common Sense" and Hardcore History are informative, well-produced shows.)


I'm a Hardcore History addict. Getting sick of the month-long withdrawls, but absolutely my favorite podcast.
posted by Devils Rancher at 12:11 PM on May 12, 2009


I'm one of those of who haven't heard of Narco News or Al Giordano {not very current links}. Since this FPP doesn't provide any links to enlighten me - and a blind Google search is just as likely to turn up an obit for the former Brooklyn Dodger of the same name as the actual subject - this screed will have to stand on its own merits, which isn't looking like it's in its favor and probably does a disservice to its author ultimately.

And Talking Points Memo was much more restrained in its schadenfreude.
posted by Doktor Zed at 12:11 PM on May 12, 2009


Yesterday, I wrote:

Dear LiveJournal, why won't anyone read my blog? I wish there was some way to copy and paste parts of my blog to relevant MeFi threads, then tell the MeFites to click on a link in order to read the rest of my comment, even if I'm saying something really obvious. Hmm... why yes, I think I'll do that.

Read more at LiveJournal.
posted by shii at 12:12 PM on May 12, 2009 [8 favorites]


I do know that the reason that newspapers are in decline is not because journalists aren't advocates anymore, it is because of technology.

Perhaps. But let me tell you why I don't read the newspapers much anymore. I used to read the Washington Post and New York Times pretty much daily. The Post was the first bookmark in my browser, and I'd daily pick up a printed copy.

I stopped reading them because both the Post and the NYTimes require logins (and the Post's login requires me to enable javascript).

It doesn't seem like much of a barrier, but given that there's nothing much to read in either paper, that's too much trouble. There's nothing much to read because both papers print the conventional wisdom, the overly bland, too balanced, pureed "news" that I already know. Little or no investigative reporting, stories that are too short to have any real interest. Far fewer foreign correspondents, book reviews reduced to a few column inches, no real local reporting, nothing, in short, that I can't get on CNN or MSNBC.

I'm much more inclined to browse to TPM or Glenn Greenwald, or even just watch the MSM as reflected by Fark or reddit or Metafilter. The professional reporters and editors have failed to provide an informative window onto the world, so I let whomever posts an FPP be my gate-keeper of the day.

But it's not "technology"; it's that there's nothing in the daily papers to sink my teeth into, and too much of a hassle with logins and interstitial ads to make their short bolierplate stories worth my time.

The daily papers consistently got technology wrong: they used it to erect barriers, hoping to prove to advertisers that they could sell eyes, and in so doing they lost eyes, instead of using it to reach out to a new audience. And while doing that, they failed at their core mission. I'm sad that the dailies are on the decline, but as it's merely a consequence of their unwillingness or inability to provide real news, there's not much to cry about.
posted by orthogonality at 12:27 PM on May 12, 2009 [3 favorites]


If I was his editor, I would send his screed back for a second draft.

Subjunctive case: "If I were...."
posted by orthogonality at 12:32 PM on May 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


shil --

If that was a dig against me, if you actually read what I wrote, you'd find that I'm saying something a little less than obvious -- that the intrinsic structure of journalistic reportage has flaws in a modern era -- to wit, that we are a nation of headline readers, confirmed by your own response -- and that, contrary to Narcosphere, I approach the subject with less venial schadenfreude. I detail the precise way in which the neoconservative wing of the Republican Party enacted a broad strategy to destroy the media establishment it defined as "liberal," in order to achieve its "Eternal Republican Majority," and that the press -- itself pressed by market forces and political forces -- dutifully and spinelessly capitulated to that strategy.
posted by bedlam at 12:33 PM on May 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


I think you may be displaying signs of RAS syndrome.

I have a recording about that on DAT tape.
posted by shakespeherian at 12:35 PM on May 12, 2009


I'm sad that the dailies are on the decline, but as it's merely a consequence of their unwillingness or inability to provide real news, there's not much to cry about.

Well, the one thing we might cry about is the fact that what's going to replace print journalism is likely going to be far, far worse--for the foreseeable future, I predict only an increasing profusion of the kind of gossipy, ideologically-slanted and just downright inaccurate news reporting and analysis that dominates the web now.

For every TPM, there'll be a hundred Newsmaxes. And the trend toward egocasting will continue to worsen, with more and more news consumers willing to consume only targeted news that fits comfortably within their preexisting belief framework, as we've already started seeing.

All in all, I don't think there's anything at all to cheer about right now where the news media landscape is concerned. The long awaited death of print journalism, if it actually is finally imminent, certainly doesn't represent any kind of improvement in itself.
posted by saulgoodman at 12:53 PM on May 12, 2009 [3 favorites]


It's not the technology battle that the newspapers are losing. It is the battle with "FREE" stuff. (those are both scare-quotes and dishonesty-quotes). People are utter idiots when it comes to "FREE". They will install crap malware and jump through fourteen hoops to get a "FREE" three-dollar shit chicken meal, they will engage in an ever-escalating war of ad-based crap malware versus ad-blocker addons to get ten to twenty cents of "FREE" web content a day. If someone comes along and offers a more direct arrangement, they feel like suckers if they pay for something they can just get for "FREE".

Of course someone actually is footing the bill and they are doing it for a well-calculated reason. Some people stand around scratching their heads, asking in faux bewilderment and outrage, "why do CNN and FOX just spoon-feed us corporate-friendly bullshit all the time?". Quite a few more don't even notice.

And that is where all of this is headed - the direction the current Internet economy is headed looks a lot more like CNN/MSNBC/FOX land than even the New York Times / Balitmore Sun land. And there are plenty of problems with the latter, but I think it still usually rates as a far cry above the sponsored propaganda spewed by the former.
posted by Bokononist at 12:57 PM on May 12, 2009 [3 favorites]


If that was a dig against me

bedlam, I think what shii was trying (however sassily) to remark on was the kinda sales-pitchy format of your comment, here. It's fine, in careful moderation, to link to something you wrote in a comment if it makes more sense to do that than to quote the whole thing (which, if it's longer than a couple paragraphs, is probably the case), but maybe try to avoid having it sound quite so much like a plug in structure and instead just say why you're linking to it and leave it at that.

We deal with a lot of spammish/opportunist stuff on mefi, and so folks are pretty quick to raise an eyebrow when a new user starts seeming to push links to their own content. Again, nothing wrong with the occasional link in a comment to something really relevant, but be aware of this aspect of the tone around here and it'll save you significant grief in the long run.

posted by cortex at 1:11 PM on May 12, 2009


the internet does not do local well

I'm a big fan of The New Haven Independent which is way more relevant to my life then the (bankrupt) Register has ever been. It isn't uncommon to have city councilmen pop up to comment on articles about them, or to have comment threads devolve into cops and firefighters calling each other names.

Where else could I find out that my street's beat cop had been reassigned? Or about the city's plans for hen legalization?
posted by Lazlo Hollyfeld at 1:23 PM on May 12, 2009


God, that link was fucking retarded.

I mean, seriously, way to go, Al, you've got 20,000 visitors per day. Fuckity-doo.

If you want an easy headline for non-fiction media's current troubles: Journalism In Tragedy Of Commons. That's basically it. We're all bettered by having journalists investigate and report; there are things that newspapers are good at because of institutional standing and medium advantages that other media aren't; no one actually wants to pay for things they benefit from (and I don't blame them); good journalism takes hard work and often quite a bit of training; media entertainment has won the battle for leisure time; blah blah blah. Tragedy of the commons. Journalism is medicine for the body politic; the public would, on balance, rather have Flintstones Chewables, and there's not a whole lot anyone can do.
posted by klangklangston at 1:25 PM on May 12, 2009 [6 favorites]


Can it, you freaks. Every AT machine in the world was designed using CA on LC displays by the voting machine company that also steals your PI numbers. I can prove it, I have their meeting minutes on a DA tape (and in my RA memory since I recently played it on my computer.)
posted by Maximian at 1:56 PM on May 12, 2009 [2 favorites]


fightorflight: Was he talking about Linux? Because if he was saying that open source software wouldn't turn out better quality software for consumers than paid professionals, I think time proved him right. Apple and Adobe are infuriating, but by god I'd rather use OS X and Photoshop than desktop Linux and the GiMP. Anyway, the comparison falls down pretty quickly: you can code from your bedroom, with very little personal risk and hardly any vested interests trying to stop you.

I see you've bought into two fairly serious fictions here, possibly unwittingly, so perhaps some more information about them would be of use to you.

The first is that the opposite of "open source software" is "professional software", and subsequently that people who create open source software do not have jobs, or have jobs unrelated to open source software. This is simply not correct. A substantial body of people work professionally on free software, though not necessarily on the features that will be obviously helpful to your use case.

The other fiction you're espousing, partly in support of the first, is that Linux is of poor quality, and that the evidence for this is your dislike of the GIMP and implicitly of the desktop user experience. While Photoshop may be better for your purposes than the GIMP, and that wouldn't surprise me in any way, there are plenty of counter-examples showing that this isn't a very thorough treatment, such as the Firefox web browser. The fact of the matter is that there are many, many institutions who believe Linux suits some of their needs better than MacOS or Windows, and they pay hefty sums of money for Linux software to use in those cases. It's not an all or nothing deal; Linux is good for some tasks, other OSes are good for other tasks, and there are many other free software packages that work on some or all of these systems and on others.

So really, quit it with these tired stereotypes, they make you sound like a CNet columnist in 1997.
posted by atbash at 1:56 PM on May 12, 2009 [6 favorites]


One comment says that New Haven's one main paper, The Register, sucks but there is another that is useful. Fine. But that useful one doesn't even tell us about the state (Connecticut) let alone the nation or the world. Eliminate all papers and who will report on the military adventures we undertake? The torture imposed? the photo journalism? the obits? Craig's List, Instapundit, Huffington Post? When nezxt you read your favorite blogs for news, note where they get their news from.
posted by Postroad at 2:09 PM on May 12, 2009


In the tradition of Simón Bolívar, we do believe there is a role to play for conscientious members of the educated classes who accept and understand: the only "vanguards" of this project are the Masses and Civil Society. Our role, as creative movers of the "grids of expression" is auxilary, to participate in the development of a language to oppose the tyrant's mediating power, and to creatively inflict our message upon all the grids of expression. The language here about how the Media harms even its educated consumers and workers remains accurate, and a call to those conscientious creative agents of all classes to realize their own self-interest to assist in the class-struggle against Media.

-From his Declaration of Independence from Commercial Media.

Except that he's published in both the Huffington Post and the Boston Phoenix, which are commercial news entities (however alternative and liberal). He links to the Atlantic, MSNBC, ABC, and Vanity Fair as what he reads, all big-name Commercial Media.

His Declaration is rather meaningless if he's not willing to break from Commercial media as a supplier of his information, and certainly not. If he will rely on them for publishing his work.

On a sidenote: Meanwhile, David Simon’s peewings are hurt. Here I'd always heard them called 'pissflaps'.
posted by Lemurrhea at 2:12 PM on May 12, 2009


I think he made some great points but I agree to the commenter above that Talking Points Memo is the true face of what could be the future of online reporting.
posted by zzazazz at 3:42 PM on May 12, 2009


To think that there are hordes of citizen journalists just waiting for their chance to operate his "better mousetrap" is deluded.

This is exactly what Bill Gates said about software quality 15 years ago. Probably says the same today, but who listens to Bill Gates today?


Yeah, but the people who write free software still have a way of making a living (often from paid programming jobs) unlike anyone who wants to do real journalism in this scenario.

Basically, what you are saying is that all reporters should be independently wealthy and work for the public good. Unpaid citizen journalists simply cannot do the job-- where will they get the time to repeatedly go to meetings, make phone calls, read research and follow stuff in a way that is coherent?

Citizen journalists certainly can't do all the necessary investigative journalism on their free time and they can't do all the necessary analytic journalism either. Both of these things take time and resources-- and if you aren't rich from doing something else, you don't have them. You might have passion and do for a while as a second shift, but sooner or later, you gotta pay the rent etc.

If one person covers a city council meeting one month and someone else does the next or any of the other ways of breaking it down into smaller tasks, you miss the whole point, which is understanding the relationships and the ongoing issues. Someone's gotta put it together, curate it, whatever-- and that takes time and time is money for most people.

So, you can let all that go away and have strong opinions, little analysis outside academia (and therefore little explanation of it for those who aren't academics), no one regularly following major institutions, etc. And then hope that some rich people will fill in the holes from time to time.

Or we can come up with a way to pay people for something that is valuable.
posted by Maias at 3:47 PM on May 12, 2009 [3 favorites]


atbash: I don't mean to deny that open source coders can come from anywhere, just that the comparison between them and citizen journalists falls down. It's possible for developers to contribute from home with very little outlay, but the same isn't true for journalists: the best journalism often needs investment, time and sometimes personal risk. (On preview: or what Maias says more eloquently.)

There's a danger of us getting into a your-favourite-app-sucks thing on your second point, which would be daft. But we could hopefully agree on the type of software open-source coders excel at -- and it's all in the areas that developers are most likely to use themselves or be interested in. I don't expect many of them are avid pre-press imagers, so GiMP was always going to lag in, say, getting CMYK. But the majority use compilers, and so GCC is best-in-class. Likewise Apache. Conversely, paid programmers do seem to have an edge in creating things that they themselves have little need for.

I mentioned this because there's a parallel with journalism. Given the types of early adopters and technically savvy people who became bloggers and online journalists, you'd expect technology news reporting to be great -- to be their GCC, in other words. But many technical people say that it isn't (and there are many more links where that came from). If new-journalism can't beat the low standards of old media on its home turf, how is it going to stack up against organised crime, corrupt politicians or war criminals?
posted by fightorflight at 4:03 PM on May 12, 2009


I think it's important not to fall into a false dilemma--there are more options than just have or not have newspapers. That they obviously play an important role in society, as detailed in several posts already, is key because, regardless of the fate of newspapers, we need good journalists doing what they do. I am optimistic that journalists (and other newspaper industry professionals) will find a way to reinvent reportage and content delivery that is conceptually different than a newspaper, delivered in a way people want and are willing to pay for. It will require fundamental rethinking, but is entirely possible. Some interesting models are already out there.

This is happening to more industries than just newspapers--music, to name an obvious one--and just like people will still want music itself, people will still want journalism and those in those fields will figure out how to find that audience with or without the corporate institutional structures that had previously sustained them. I think these are terribly interesting times in this regard, but watch with fascinated optimism, not anger or pessimistic hand-wringing.
posted by LooseFilter at 4:10 PM on May 12, 2009


Newspaper reporters don't work for the readers, they work for the newspaper owners, or maybe the newspaper advertisers.

The idea that they're out their fighting the rich and powerful is complete bullshit. The readers are not their customer, the readers are the product. The advertisers are their customer.
posted by empath at 4:29 PM on May 12, 2009


Newspapers = RIAA

Music will survive, Journalism will survive.
posted by empath at 4:30 PM on May 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


And, btw, I'd happily pay for real investigative journalism.

I want partisanship, I want journalism with an agenda, I want a reporter that GIVES A SHIT. Give me Fox News AND Daily Kos. Fuck faux-objectivity, and fuck the New York Times. At least Fox News is willing to go on the record as being pro-torture. The New York Times won't even call it what it is.
posted by empath at 4:34 PM on May 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


You lost the public to us because - there's no nice or sugar-coated way to say it - you guys really suck at what you do.

Truest words you'll read today.

And: Personally, I appreciate the higher standard and accountability I get from a paper than from some guy's blog.

Thanks for the laugh.
posted by telstar at 4:50 PM on May 12, 2009


Newspaper reporters don't work for the readers, they work for the newspaper owners, or maybe the newspaper advertisers.

The idea that they're out their fighting the rich and powerful is complete bullshit. The readers are not their customer, the readers are the product. The advertisers are their customer.


so, um, how does this work for us freelancers? it certainly makes it harder to get stories that matter into paying publications, but we certainly don't work for advertisers!

Or, explain to me then, how my article for Time Magazine online served advertisers by exposing abuse at the nation's largest chain of troubled-teen programs (over $100 million a year), other than by bringing eyeballs to the site?
posted by Maias at 4:55 PM on May 12, 2009


Every time this discussion happens — and it has happened fairly frequently and I feel like we'll probably have a few more go-rounds before the last big newspapers finally throw in the towel — I think it gets very print-centric.

Most Americans don't get their news, and by that I mean actual ticker-tape "what's happened today" feed, from print journalism. They haven't for years; probably not since the WWII generation.

So it's a little silly to talk about the demise of big newspapers and claim that bloggers won't have any sources for raw newsgathering. Of course they will; they'll just turn on CNN, or go to CNN.com. News isn't dead, newspapers are dead, or dying.

And it's not even all print that's dead; somebody has to write the copy for CNN.com; either it's someone who actually works for CNN, or it's someone at one of the wire services. In either case, they're not going anywhere. The death of the newspapers will certainly drive more people to the web outlets of the TV networks.1

So there will still be both a demand for raw news-gathering — the TV networks will bankroll the wire services, and the wire services will send out correspondents into the field to get stories2 — and there will be outlets feeding that to the public and providing fodder for the armchair analysis and critique that happens on blogs and elsewhere online.

Also, I don't think that blogs and other nonprofessional sources will satisfy the public's thirst for in-depth analysis in the post-newspaper world. The TV networks are reasonably good at straight news when they want to be, and video is a compelling medium to work in, but even on a good day their analysis tends to suck. I think there is a lot of room for Economist-style publications, intentionally sacrificing any attempt at competing with the 24-hour news cycle in order to deliver high-quality, well-edited, literate analysis from a known viewpoint. Here is where I suspect you can get people to cough up: it's difficult to get people to pay for raw news, but polished analysis, whether in print or online, is a more clear value proposition.

1: One major "technological change" that doesn't seem to get discussed very often is the rise of web video. Until recently, "Internet news" implied text; that is no longer the case. It's long been evident that many people prefer to get their news in video form rather than text — I suspect many MeFi readers disagree personally (as do I), but the general trend preference is quite clear. So it makes sense that the web sites of TV news networks would gain viewership at the expense of newspaper web sites, now that they've figured out how to do video online, just as newspapers lost viewership to the 11 o'clock news a generation or two ago.

2: The foreign correspondents of the future, the ones who will most resemble "journalists" as we know them today, will probably work for the big wire services, and they will need to work across a variety of media. I doubt it will be acceptable for a journalist to work only in print, for example; they'll need to get video/stills and turn in a print story, because various outlets will want different versions. Either that, or they'll have to work in close teams in order to produce the same essentially story in various output formats.
posted by Kadin2048 at 5:12 PM on May 12, 2009


For all you did for us in the Bush years ... au revoir!
posted by Twang at 5:15 PM on May 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


Maias: "Or, explain to me then, how my article for Time Magazine online served advertisers by exposing abuse at the nation's largest chain of troubled-teen programs (over $100 million a year), other than by bringing eyeballs to the site?"

The function of articles in an ad-supported paper or newsmag is the same as the purpose of music on a Clearchannel radio station: it's how the publisher or station gets the product — eyes or ears — which they package and sell to their advertisers. It's an investment of sorts, like the cost of bait might be to a fisherman.

A radio station that ran nothing but ads wouldn't have many listeners, and thus the ads wouldn't be heard, and the station wouldn't make money. So they play just enough music to get listeners to tune in, and then sell the remaining airtime to advertisers. They have to very carefully balance the amount of time spent playing music versus ads, in order to maximize revenue. I can only assume that somewhere in the bowels of Clearchannel, there's probably a whole office devoted to modeling the "revenue as a function of ad/content ratio" curve in various markets.

Similarly, a print magazine runs articles in order to get people to read the thing and subscribe or buy it; they can then take demographics about their subscribers to advertisers and sell the remaining space in the magazine. (My understanding is that, for most magazines anyway, the revenue from subscriptions is much less than from advertising.)

So I don't see why your article, or any other article in an ad-supported magazine, would have to have any purpose at all besides "bringing eyeballs to the site." That's all it needs to do, at least from a purely business perspective.
posted by Kadin2048 at 5:34 PM on May 12, 2009


Most Americans don't get their news, and by that I mean actual ticker-tape "what's happened today" feed, from print journalism. They haven't for years; probably not since the WWII generation.

This isn't the stuff that's at risk, though. Actual "events that have come to pass today" reporting is cheap and easy -- you just need a man on the ground, and that can be a wire service guy, like you say. The stuff that's at risk is the increasingly rare "leave this guy to dig around in those files for a month, then follow the money until he nails this bugger" type of journalism. This is nearly always done by the press, even in the US.

I agree with you that there's going to be a place for Economist-style magazines, and hopefully they could pay for some of this. The problem is that they're going to operate on the national level by necessity, and it's regional and local investigative journalism that's going to vanish. In many cases, it already has. Gannett in particular has done a sterling job of ripping the heart out of many local US newspapers. You should already be able to see the effects on your papers.

If you think Bush was handled badly, just imagine how badly Bush III is going to be handled. At least the press belatedly awoke and in some cases apologised for their mistakes. The TV channels did not.
posted by fightorflight at 5:41 PM on May 12, 2009 [2 favorites]


Most Americans don't get their news, and by that I mean actual ticker-tape "what's happened today" feed, from print journalism. They haven't for years; probably not since the WWII generation.

That's actually not quite as true as it seems on the surface, because while we may not get our news directly from the papers anymore, most broadcast news programming and online content ultimately derives from the wire reports, because TV news outfits rely quite heavily on them, too. Indirectly, the newspapers are still the primary source for the majority of original news content. Apart from the rare "investigative journalism" pieces produced for TV (usually To Catch a Predator style fare), original news content at the national level is still largely generated in the newsrooms of the print publications affiliated with the wire services.

2. Who owns The Associated Press?
The Associated Press is a not-for-profit cooperative, which means it is owned by its 1,500 U.S. daily newspaper members. They elect a board of directors that directs the cooperative.

posted by saulgoodman at 6:58 PM on May 12, 2009


Mainstream Media At It Again, Bloggers Report
posted by neroli at 7:01 PM on May 12, 2009 [3 favorites]


I think you may be displaying signs of RAS syndrome.

What else do they expect, using the Drupal CMS system?
posted by palet at 8:32 PM on May 12, 2009


You lost the public to us because - there's no nice or sugar-coated way to say it - you guys really suck at what you do.

Telstar: Truest words you'll read today.

Not true. Journalists may or may not suck, but the public has not been lost. The audience for newspaper journalism in the United States has never been larger, if online readership is taken into account. The trouble is that this readership isn't paying for the expensive product that they are eagerly consuming.
posted by WPW at 4:44 AM on May 13, 2009


fightorflight: there's a parallel with journalism. Given the types of early adopters and technically savvy people who became bloggers and online journalists, you'd expect technology news reporting to be great -- to be their GCC, in other words. But many technical people say that it isn't (and there are many more links where that came from). If new-journalism can't beat the low standards of old media on its home turf, how is it going to stack up against organised crime, corrupt politicians or war criminals?

It's a fair point, but I'm not sure I agree. The places that I see doing absolutely inept jobs at technical journalism are, by and large, going for wide appeal to a general audience. But there are boutique sites that do pretty good tech journalism for specific segments -- places like Linux Weekly News, who do a spectacular job. And who, at least in this example, rely on readers to keep them fed, but don't rely on a traditional business model.
posted by atbash at 7:16 AM on May 13, 2009


I don't know who this Hawking fellow is, but his website design screams 'nutjob!' and all this guff about black holes makes no sense to me at all. I doubt there's anything much to it.

Well clearly they're not professionals. There's no white background!
posted by delmoi at 12:57 PM on May 13, 2009


Ah yes, the secret code to access my PIN. I keep it taped to the back of my LCD display.

Ah yes. I'm doing some CAD design on mine right now.


Ah, yes, so am I, drawing some NURBS Splines!
posted by signal at 5:36 AM on May 15, 2009


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