In 1967 political cartoonist Pat Oliphant drew an editorial cartoon just to win the Pulitizer - "one of the worst cartoons I've ever drawn" - trying to appeal to the judges' tastes and prevailing political opinion. And guess what happened.
"I think now is the perfect time to start (or restart) a local digital news operation. There are few greater gifts in journalism than a blank sheet of paper." In CJR, editor and entrepreneur Jim Brady (@jimbrady) on why and how now might finally be the time for local journalism in the USA to find a business model that works. [more inside]
Publishing giant Tribune is changing its name to... tronc. Originally incorporated in 1847 with the founding of the Chicago Tribune, Tribune owns both the Chicago Tribune as well as the LA Times and numerous newspapers across the US.
“The rise of the misinformed is now the largest obstacle for success for journalists today (outside the concerns that relate to publishing). If people don't trust the news, you don't have a news business.” Thomas Baekdal writes a strategic analysis for media companies to earn their readers’ trust, looking at data from PolitiFact to understand how misinformation spreads and what journalists can do to stop it.
Content providers are in a double bind: readers don’t want to pay to read, but they also resist and resent the use of advertising and tracking software to generate income. While the introduction of subscription-only models has had mixed success, the UK newspaper The Independent recently shut down its print run, while the Guardian is cutting 250 jobs. Who'll pay to publish if we won't pay to read? [more inside]
As newsrooms disappear, veteran reporters are being forced from the profession. They dedicated their lives to telling other people’s stories. What happens when no one wants to print their words anymore?
The (completely fake) 1941 football season of the (completely fake) Plainfield Teachers College.
Unlike Schulz, Watterson was unable to reconcile his creative ambitions with the lucrative opportunities that success had opened up. He was every bit Schulz’s artistic heir, but he had little interest in inheriting the fertile commercial landscape that Schulz had so carefully cultivated. Twenty-five years later, their disagreements come across as equal parts quaint and timely — a remnant from the last era when newspaper cartoonists commanded widespread readerships and profitable product lines, and an ageless meditation on what selling out and authenticity mean in a commercial art form. -- Luke Epplin in the LA Review of Books on Bill Watterson, "failed revolutionary".
Can You Survive A Week As Jeremy Corbyn? The press hates you, lots of your party hates you – can you make it through a week without resigning? (NSFW, Buzzfeed, Choose Your Own Adventure format)
Farewell - ETAOIN SHRDLU: a short film documenting the production of the last edition of the New York Times to use hot metal typesetting. [via PrintingFilms.com]
The strange saga of John Rogers, the man who bought the Star Tribune's vintage photo archive
The thought that big-city newspapers like the Star Tribune and Pioneer Press here in Minnesota — and others in Chicago, Detroit and Denver (and 72 New Zealand newspapers) — were willing to hand over (for a nice price) one of their (and their community’s) most valuable historical archives to a character like Rogers is startling in itself, and may explain why so little has been said about the deal.
The Statue of Liberty is a shining symbol of Franco-American amity, but the story of its pedestal is a tribute to the immigrants, workers, and children who raised and donated money to build it. 1n 1885 - 120, 000 of them donated more than $100,000 to build the pedestal for the statue - at that time sitting in parts in boxes on the island where it would eventually stand. [more inside]
RIP Page 3. There has been no formal announcement but it seems the long tradition of having a photograph of a topless woman on Page 3 of Rupert Murdoch's flagship British newspaper, The Sun, is no more. [more inside]
Seasoned news photographer John Harte is telling stories, naming names, and even sharing unpublished pictures from his 28-year stint at The Bakersfield Californian at a new blog, You can't have my job, but I'll tell you a story: My three decades of photojournalism in one hell of a news town. Be warned that some of these photos may be disturbing. (They include images of dead children — notably the famous, award-winning, and highly controversial Hart Park drowning photo, which generated 500 calls of protest and a bomb threat against the newspaper.) Less-upsetting highlights include the stories in these individual entries: Meet the sheriff! My first arrest, We can't upset our readers!, and The greatest sports photo in history.
"Despite its youth, the section has a much longer history, one that encompasses the long effort of women in journalism to be taken seriously as reporters and as readers, the development of New Journalism, large-scale social changes that have brought gay culture into the mainstream, shifts in the way news is delivered and consumed, and economic consolidations and disruptions that the section has, sometimes in spite of itself, thoroughly documented and cataloged. The Styles section may well be pretty stupid sometimes. It’s also a richer and more complex entity than any of us would like to believe." - Bonfire Of The Inanities - Jacqui Shine writes a long, detailed history of the New York Times Style Section.
Bloodletters and Bad Actors Mefi's Own Max Sparber looks at the early days of Omaha theater, back when it was a frontier town, its amusements were questionable, and vice was rampant, with occasional forays into more recent performing arts misbehavior. [via mefi projects]
Newspaper company Digital First Media is expected to announce today that it is shuttering Project Thunderdome, its three-year old experiment in news content creation and sharing. [more inside]
A few years back, Fox News head Roger Ailes moved to Garrison, NY, built a house, bought the local newspaper, and got involved in local politics. New York Magazine has the story of Ailes' efforts to remake the small town in his own image, and the rage, paranoia, and narcissism those who've interacted with him have come to expect.
The Trickster Prince is academic and historian Matt Houlbrook's blog about the ephemera and little-known stories of the English inter-war period (and before) with a focus on class-jumping, queer narratives, "faking it", and urban society in the 20s and 30s.
“He articulates the dreams, fears and hopes of socially insecure members of the suburban middle class,” .... “It’s a daily performance of genius.” Paul Dacre of the Daily Mail
On October 8, the LA Times' Letter Editor, Paul Thornton published a piece entitled, "On letters from climate-change deniers" following up on a claim in an earlier article that said, " Simply put, this objection to the president's healthcare law is based on a falsehood, and letters that have an untrue basis (for example, ones that say there's no sign humans have caused climate change) do not get printed." [more inside]
Gabriel Stein reflects on the end of the The Rocky Mountain News, his father's decades-long career there as an editorial cartoonist, and the silver lining he sees in the billionaire acquisitions of The Washington Post and The Boston Globe.
The Guardian's global page. Everything published on the newspaper's website each day in one long unfiltered list. Also useful, The New York Times Wire.
The Boston Phoenix will be closing immediately, only six months after reinventing itself as a glossy weekly. The Portland and Providence versions will remain open. [Previously]
The curious lifecycle of Daily Express headlines: health scares, weather scares, EU villainy, migrant scares, pension scares.
Russians without Russia is an elegantly designed digital archive of the magazines and newspapers produced by the Russian exile communities of 1920s and 30s.
Jonathan Chait questions the editorial judgment of the Hill Valley Telegraph in Back to the Future Part II. [more inside]
This is a compilation of every headline (with screenshots) seen on "The Simpsons". These Simpsons headlines come primarily with the Springfield Shopper, Springfield's only major newspaper. The compilation includes such memorable headlines as "SQUIRREL RESEMBLING ABRAHAM LINCOLN FOUND", "AWFUL SCHOOL IS AWFUL RICH", and "PARADE TO DISTRACT JOYLESS CITIZENRY"
In 1962, fifty years ago this month, striking union printers shut down four New York City newspapers in resistance to computerized, automated technologies that were being introduced in newsrooms across the country. Five other area papers shut down voluntarily. The strike lasted 114 days and sounded the death knell for four newspapers. For a brief period, New York was a laboratory that demonstrated what can happen when newspapers vanish. Today, new technology is again shaking American newspapers as the Internet drains away more and more advertising revenue. Is this The Long Good Bye? [more inside]
You want us to pay you for directing eyeballs to your sites? Newspaper publishers in France want a law whereby Google (and other search engine services) have to pay for each click made from the search engine to their sites. You click on a link to a French newspaper site from a search engine, the Search Engine has to pay the newspaper for that click. If the law is passed it's likely Google will no longer include links to French sites that require payment for said links.
Ephemeral New York 'chronicles an ever-changing, constantly reinvented city through photos, newspaper archives, and other scraps and artifacts that have been edged into New York’s collective remainder bin.' [more inside]
In the wake of the venerable Boston Phoenix changing to a glossy magazine format and rebranding itself as simply The Phoenix (as well as the ongoing turmoil at the Village Voice), Salon's Will Doig writes the obituary for the age of the alt-weeklies. The Phoenix responds.
Analog, Warren Buffett and Digital Media - Why Warren Buffett invests in newspapers: " You essentially have a business that will make a lot of money if you are terrific, it will make a lot of money if you're lousy," Buffett said, "...how good a newspaper is depends entirely on the wishes of its owner. There is no correlation between profits and excellence," Buffett added, "there's really nothing like that in American business." Enjoy nearly a full 60 minutes of Warren Buffet's (all too rare) public teaching style in this recently uploaded video from 1992.
A fellow tried to impress his friends by fitting a billiard ball in his mouth - he died. A young woman laced her corset too tightly - she died. A woman fell down the stairs, which caused one of her hairpins to penetrate her skull - she died. And, of course, many people had horrible encounters with mill and farm machinery. Predictably, they died. (warning-occasionally graphic descriptions of death and dismemberment, mostly from the late 19th century). [more inside]
Murdoch's Scandal - Lowell Bergman (the journalist portrayed by Al Pacino in The Insider) has investigated News Corporation for PBS Frontline [transcript]. He depicts Rupert Murdoch's British operation as a criminal enterprise, routinely hacking the voicemail and computers of innocent people, and using bribery and coercion to infiltrate police and government over decades. Enemies are ruthlessly "monstered" by the tabloids. Bergman also spoke to NPR's Fresh Air [transcript]. But the hits keep coming: in recent days News Corp has been accused of hacking rival pay TV services and promoting pirated receiver cards in both the UK and Australia. With the looming possibility of prosecution under America's Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, how long will shareholders consider Rupert Murdoch irreplaceable? [Previous 1 2 3 4]
Newspapers have two principal sources of revenue, readers and advertisers, and they can operate at mass or niche scale for each of those groups. A metro-area daily paper is a mass product for customers (many readers buy the paper) and for advertisers (many readers see their ads.) Newsletters and small-circulation magazines, by contrast, serve niche readers, and therefore niche advertisers — Fire Chief, Mother Earth News. (Some newsletters get by with no advertising at all, as with Cooks’ Illustrated, where part of what the user pays for is freedom from ads, or rather freedom from a publisher beholden to advertisers.) Paywalls were an attempt to preserve the old mass+mass model after a transition to digital distribution. With so few readers willing to pay, and therefore so few readers to advertise to, paywalls instead turned newspapers into a niche+niche business. What the article threshold creates is an odd hybrid — a mass market for advertising, but a niche market for users. Clay Shirky on the economics of newspaper paywalls and why article thresholds seem to be the way of the future.
Yesterday, the Village Voice fired J. Hoberman, long-time champion of independent and experimental film (and its senior film critic of 24 years). Hoberman promises that there's a blog in his future. The Voice has an archive of his writing for them since 1998. Here are his Top 10 lists for the years 1977 to 2006, and here they are for 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011. Here is a compilation of his advice for aspiring film critics. A critic who came of age in an era when the lines between "film critic" and "film scholar" were blurrier, Hoberman has also written books about American movies and the Cold War and the forgotton history of Yiddish cinema. Here are some interviews with him about his work.
Yesterday, the Los Angeles Times celebrated the 130th anniversary of its first issue, and marked the occasion with 130 photos from Los Angeles history, as well as a gallery of historic front pages.
GUNMAN SEEN OFF WITH MUG --- DEALER SOLD TEA TO COPS --- MICE FORCE PENSIONER OUT OF HOME --- Just another day for the South London Press. [more inside]
"...we still can’t tell whether we are all about to die or whether we are being sold a bill of goods."
'The stories about epidemics that are told in the American press—their plots and tropes—date to the 1920's, when modern research science, science journalism, and science fiction were born.' This is the story of how the media back then (January, 1930) helped fuel fears about a parrot-fever pandemic, and the subsequent public backlash. (Via) [more inside]
PR Industry Fills Vacuum Left by Shrinking Newsrooms - "You would go into these hearings and there would be more PR people representing these big players than there were reporters, sometimes by a factor of two or three" ..it's getting tougher to know when a storyline originates with a self-interested party producing its own story.
The Newspaper Map: browse thousands of local, regional and national newspapers from around the world, based on geographical location. Filter and translate languages, see newspaper archives back to the early 19th century, and find fourth estate Twitter and YouTube feeds. A mobile version is also available. via
Bill Blackbeard, founder of the San Francisco Academy of Comic Art, passed away March 10. The Comics Journal calls him "without question or quibble the only absolutely indispensable figure in the history of comics scholarship for the last quarter century." [more inside]
The New York Times launches digital subscriptions, only for Canadians at the moment and on March 28 for everyone else. Packages start at $3.75/week. Readers will be allowed 20 free articles a month sans subscription. (previously, previously)