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Human Relations in the new millenium
January 1, 2010 8:20 AM   Subscribe

If you're going to kill off an entire section of a newspaper and fire all of the staffers who work there, it's probably a good idea to get the Twitter password first.

The free market has spoken, and it apparently says that Republicans don't like sports. The spin from The Unification Church (and its adherents in the comments).

The Moonies are not alone: Many other papers have shrunk the size of the newsprint, cut staff and sections in an effort to lower costs.

The ongoing question is what newspapers will look like in five years. One take:Nonprofit, primarily local news and information, and mostly online with strong Sunday paper editions. Another, more practical approach, perhaps: Bookies.
posted by minimii (25 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
Aah, revenge is tweet.

*walks away whistling*
posted by Salvor Hardin at 8:26 AM on January 1, 2010 [8 favorites]


Getting fired from a paper owned by Korean cultists and staffed at the highest levels by well-known white supremacists has got to be a huge relief for these people.
posted by dortmunder at 8:27 AM on January 1, 2010 [18 favorites]


Imagine a world where we'd spilled half as much ink in the last 20 years talking about journalism as we'd spilled in the last 5 years talking about newspapers. But I guess revenue streams trump reliable information streams.
posted by DU at 8:34 AM on January 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


What was 2009's greatest moment in newspapers? The Washington Post planning a salon evening for lobbyists? Or The New York Times' hard-hitting coverage of teenagers hugging?
posted by Joe Beese at 8:41 AM on January 1, 2010 [8 favorites]


They fired a couple of people I've worked with. (They didn't work in the paper's sports section.) So many friends, contacts and colleagues in the industry have been let go or relocated over the past couple of years. It's very sad to see.
posted by zarq at 8:41 AM on January 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Imagine a world where we'd spilled half as much ink in the last 20 years talking about journalism as we'd spilled in the last 5 years talking about newspapers.

Well, journalists set the agenda. Of course we all know what happens to them is the most important thing in the world. And their loss of status in society as cultural and political gatekeepers is the most momentous and destructive thing that's ever happened ever.
posted by delmoi at 8:42 AM on January 1, 2010 [9 favorites]


The Times isn't really a good example of the death of journalism. It never made money, and a significant chunk of the people who got it on their doorsteps every morning had never paid for it, or even asked for it. They just littered copies of the thing all over the DC metro area like used beer cans so they could claim the circulation.

It exists, for as long as it continues to exist, essentially to provide the moonies with some legitimacy and a political voice, and to create the kind of stroke fantasy world that modern conservatism chooses to live in. And it's not dying now because it's losing money - the moonies aren't going to run out anytime soon. It could have been the last paper standing on Earth if it was about the money. It's dying now because it's gotten caught in the middle of a high level power struggle within the church, and the side that runs it is losing.

On the other hand, the Times was a refuge for real journalists - and I knew some - who were getting squeezed out of the legitimate newspaper business and needed a job. Most of them weren't insane, and knew what kind of rag they were working for, but they managed to pull just enough wool of a different kind over their own eyes to let themselves believe they were still working in journalism, sort of. I sympathized.
posted by Naberius at 9:16 AM on January 1, 2010 [16 favorites]


...they managed to pull just enough wool of a different kind over their own eyes to let themselves believe they were still working in journalism, sort of.

An increasingly common affliction among so-called journalists. I think they call it Nicki Finke Syndrome (not so much because Ms. Finke suffers from it but that she's the model for 'new opportunities in journalism')
posted by oneswellfoop at 9:28 AM on January 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


What's funny is the Editor in Cheif, John Solomon actually wrote a memo a couple months ago bragging about how they didn't need to worry about money, unlike the ink-stained wretches at other papers. He got canned like the first day of the shakeup.

Interestingly I know about that because John Solomon has been kind of an obsession of Josh Marshal, the guy behind TPM, since he worked at the AP, and wrote some bullshit fake controvercy article about Harry Reid getting some property from an LLC. Except the LLC was owned entirely by Harry Reid, and it was just a routine change in title.
posted by delmoi at 9:40 AM on January 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


"Harvey Levin and TMZ are obliterating Perez Hilton. But TMZ is also triumphing over conventional media outlets. Because TMZ understands the younger generation, which wants facts immediately and analysis later.

This is why the Fox News Network is doomed. There’s no news gathering, just talking heads.

This is why the Huffington Post is the number one rated blog. A quick scan will inform you of all current events. In an instant, you’re up to date. You can go to a party and talk like you’re living in the world, as opposed to being an outsider. Go to the "New York Times" site and try to figure out what is going on in the world in an instant. It’s IMPOSSIBLE!

Which is why the "Times" is foundering. The Gray Lady is not in touch with Steve Jobs’ rule number one. Design is key to triumph. The "Times" site looks like the newspaper. Should Websites look like newspapers? Isn’t that like saying music must come on round discs?"

posted by netbros at 9:44 AM on January 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


"Harvey Levin and TMZ are obliterating Perez Hilton. But TMZ is also triumphing over conventional media outlets. Because TMZ understands the younger generation, which wants facts immediately and analysis later.

What kind of "Analysis" could you even do with the crap on TMZ? Fox news' demo is OLD, but they'll have plenty of time to adapt. So what if they don't understand "the younger generation" They have decades to figure it out.

How long did AOL miss the boat with understanding the web? Quite a while, but they still managed to shit out TMZ.
posted by delmoi at 9:52 AM on January 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


-RT @coreymull: As good as @TWTSports was, remember that it was just a loss leader for garbage like this: http://bit.ly/3OFuQq

I dunno, this liberal thinks the President bowing to a sovereign as if he were a subject is rather odious. There have to be better examples.
posted by dhartung at 9:53 AM on January 1, 2010


Without the Washington Times, we will no longer have a single printed source to catch up on all of the press releases from local right-wing think tanks that you're interested in.
posted by deanc at 9:54 AM on January 1, 2010 [5 favorites]


hey, if I met a descendant of the Sun Goddess, I would bow very low indeed.

Of course, I'm a monarchist and I think that the presidential model is inherently unstable, so I might be biased. And the Japanese royal family does have the most impressive claim to be royal of any royal family on the planet. It sure beats being the descendent of a German guy who just happened to be the right religion for the time.
posted by jb at 10:35 AM on January 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


Stupid crap like this is why most companies escort you off the premises immediately after firing.

Asshole behavior.
posted by HTuttle at 10:59 AM on January 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


The Times isn't really a good example of the death of journalism.

This is the point. I know there is a Mefite or two who sees the words "kill off" and "newspaper" and run zombie-like to their computer to type "SELF-IMPORTANT JOURNALISTS MAD AT LOSS OF STATUS, SOONER NEWSPAPERS DIE THE BETTER, FARK IS JUST AS GOOD ANYHOW" but this is not the thread to do it in. The Washington Times didn't resemble the newspapers you love to be contemptuous of in almost any way at all. It's a complete anomaly.
posted by game warden to the events rhino at 11:06 AM on January 1, 2010 [5 favorites]


dhartung: I dunno, this liberal thinks the President bowing to a sovereign as if he were a subject is rather odious. There have to be better examples

tl;dr? they even made the article shorter for you...

But Mr. Obama, unlike his predecessors, likely knows no better, and many of those around him, true children of the grungy '60s, are contemptuous of custom. Cutting America down to size is what attracts them to "hope" for "change." It's no fault of the president that he has no natural instinct or blood impulse for what the America of "the 57 states" is about. He was sired by a Kenyan father, born to a mother attracted to men of the Third World and reared by grandparents in Hawaii, a paradise far from the American mainstream.

The paper was by all accounts a very fucked up employer and I've only ever heard of Ronald Regan taking it seriously.
posted by Blasdelb at 11:14 AM on January 1, 2010


And their loss of status in society as cultural and political gatekeepers is the most momentous and destructive thing that's ever happened ever.

Actually, I do believe, despite not being a journalist, that the loss of the kind of public informational space represented by newspapers would be (and is) destructive. We've already seen the consequences of the loss of proper investigative journalism and reporting, the kind that newspapers (and magazines) used to be able to bankroll. The day that the plug is pulled on the New Yorker, for example, will be a very unhappy one, to say the least.
posted by jokeefe at 12:04 PM on January 1, 2010


The death of newspapers is not the death of journalism, that happened long ago.
posted by Mick at 12:52 PM on January 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


The Times employed the toolbox that asked this leading question apparently fed directly from the RNC to Bush back in those very dark days of late 2003.

He's the author of four New York Times bestsellers: How Al Gore Tried to Steal the Election, The War on Terrorism from Inside the White House, The President Battles Terrorism, Media Bias and the Bush Haters, and How George W. Bush Is Defeating Terrorists, Outwitting Democrats, and Confounding the Mainstream Media.

Said toolbox is now directly embedded as a VP at FOX now. "Fair & Balanced".
posted by tad at 2:06 PM on January 1, 2010


Which is why the "Times" is foundering. The Gray Lady is not in touch with Steve Jobs’ rule number one. Design is key to triumph. The "Times" site looks like the newspaper. Should Websites look like newspapers? Isn’t that like saying music must come on round discs?

The NYT's got problems, but I've always thought their website was well laid-out, easy on the eyes and simple to find stuff on. TMZ is a red atrocity and that site not only has an awful header image but changed my cursor to crosshairs. Advantage: New York Times.
posted by The Bridge on the River Kai Ryssdal at 4:35 PM on January 1, 2010


I dunno, this liberal thinks the President bowing to a sovereign as if he were a subject is rather odious.

Like Eisenhower, Nixon, or John Adams did?
posted by kirkaracha at 5:39 PM on January 1, 2010


dhartung: "... this liberal thinks the President bowing to a sovereign as if he were a subject is rather odious."

Please note that the bow does not literally indicate submission to the emperor's will. It's sort of symbolic.

Acknowledging one's host in the fashion they deem respectful is usually considered good manners. If that strikes you as geopolitically effete or something, consider that it is also good business.
posted by Joe Beese at 6:49 PM on January 1, 2010


Mandatory link to members of Congress bowing to Washington Times publisher/cult leader.

I feel bad for the sports guys though.
posted by johngoren at 7:03 PM on January 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Stupid crap like this is why most companies escort you off the premises immediately after firing.

Asshole behavior.


Heh. And thus the FPP. And why it's funny. They didn't. Get it?
posted by humannaire at 7:30 AM on January 2, 2010


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