The alt-weekly newspaper war in San Francisco - The titanic struggle between The Bay Guardian and SF Weekly (owned by Village Voice Media), as told by Eli Sanders of Seattle alt-weekly The Stranger.
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. [more inside]
You’re going to hire people to guard your sh*t, but you’re not going to give them health care. Vice has a long spoiler- and profanity-laden interview with The Wire creator David Simon, running the gamut from backstage Wire details to the media's obsession with "the Dickensian aspect" to his next series (set in New Orleans) to Joe Lieberman to this fight he almost got in at a concert one time. Via /Film.
Final edition: Twilight of the American newspaper. "Newspapers have become deadweight commodities linked to other media commodities in chains that are coupled or uncoupled by accountants and lawyers and executive vice presidents and boards of directors in offices thousands of miles from where the man bit the dog and drew ink."
WANTED: EDITOR OF A SUCCESSFUL LIB-LEANING BLOG AND NEWS ORGANIZATION LOOKS TO HIRE A PUBLISHER. Say what you will about the relative merits of Talking Points Memo or whether or not it's the triumphant example of why we don't need "real" newspapers or journalists any longer (previously on Mefi  ), but it does seem we've turned a corner (or perhaps jumped the shark?) when editors hire publishers instead of the other way around.
Envisioning Chinese Society in the Late Nineteenth Century: Words and Images from the Dianshizhai Pictorial Very nice online presentation of translated content from the famed nineteenth century Shanghai pictorial journal (China's first); Dianshizhai (点石斋画报) was modelled on Britain's Punch and produced as a supplement for Shen Bao subscribers. Flash is used so elements in the cartoons can be clicked for further information: a young woman repels a thief with martial derring-do; a customer bilks on the bill in a street eatery in Hangzhou; small-town society and politics with the muddle-headed magistrate; a non-performing temple bell offers a chance for sceptical commentary on religion; the gentlemanly pastime of cricket-fighting.
“With t.o.night, you too can remember the good old days, when Mom, Dad, Junior, Little Suzy, and Skip would all sit around the radio and listen to blogs on the Internet.” The solution to the decline of newspapers? Launch a new one, charge nothing for it, fill it with wire copy and stories from a city blog, publish it weekday afternoons, and hire kids to wear “poor-boy caps” and shout “Extra! Extra!” while handing it out. [more inside]
The Quality-Control Quandary "As newspapers shed copy editors and post more and more unedited stories online, what’s the impact on their content?" [via]
"Do you love me? Will you answer this all absorbing question the next time we meet? Will you utter that winsome "Yes" fraught with all the golden dreams of heavenly realms, or will you pronounce the dread "No" and consign my soul to darkness and despair?" Advertising for Love, a collection of funny, strange, poignant and bizarre personal ads from nineteenth-century American newspapers.
Donald H. Kirkey, Jr., The Baltimore Sun theater critic interviews H. L. Mencken, part 1 of 8. [more inside]
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. [more inside]
Paper Cuts tracks U.S. newspaper layoffs and buyouts. Roughly 24,000 jobs lost in 2008-09. It includes all newspaper jobs, from editor to ad rep, reporter to marketing, copy editor to pressman, design to carrier, and anyone else who works for a newspaper. Mapped papers that have closed or stopped publishing a print edition.
"The editor's guidelines are as follows: First, remember the reader, and respect demands that we should not casually use words that are likely to offend. Second, use such words only when absolutely necessary to the facts of a piece, or to portray a character in an article; there is almost never a case in which we need to use a swearword outside direct quotes. Third, the stronger the swearword, the harder we ought to think about using it.Finally, never use asterisks, which are just a cop-out." - Swearing in The Guardian: A chart
Everybody knows that the newspaper industry is hurting (auto-play video). Suggestions are floating around to save them. But this Northern California weekly, which regained independence last year from the Village Voice Media goliath and is still struggling to survive, is sure it has the answer... and wrote a musical about it.
The Huffington Post just announced that it is launching a new initiative to produce a wide range of investigative journalism — The Huffington Post Investigative Fund. [more inside]
The Hope Chest: Bad News from the Past is a new blog of old newspaper clippings, mostly from Detroit and Chicago in the 1930s, with true crime and other bizarre stories. Examples include Tries To Shoot A Cat And Hits Automobilist, Driver Loses His Arm Giving Traffic Signal, and Pastor Writes Spicy Book. Other highlights are a phony cop attacking a pornographer with acid and the teenage girl who became a tattooed atheist bandit.
Clay Shirky writes about what is killing newspapers and what will replace them.
Somewhat quietly within the past couple weeks, two major newspapers, on each side of the Atlantic, have opened up their data and content APIs. Last month, on their Open blog, the New York Times introduced their Developer Network. Then just yesterday, on their DataBlog and OpenPlatformBlog, the Guardian launched Open Platform. [more inside]
The San Francisco Chronicle to suffer deep cuts and possibly closure. Noting an acceleration of long-standing losses, Hearst is taking drastic steps with the Chronicle, without (in its announcement, at least) any of the brave promises of perseverance which often accompany such news. Sale or (failing that) closure will ensue if the cuts don't work fast enough. Fallen into bankruptcy in the past two months have been publishers of four major newspapers (LA Times, Chicago Tribune, Philadelphia Inquirer and Minneapolis Star-Tribune) -- but so far none of those papers appears in any risk of folding.
Newspapers rush to deliver news online. A look at the future from 1981.
In yet another strange marriage of media new and old, The Printed Blog launches next week. The paper will be distributed in Chicago (home of the once-great, now-bankrupt Chigago Tribune) and San Francisco, and it’s free. “Why hasn’t anyone tried to take the best content and bring it offline,” asks founder Josh Karp. What about people who don’t live in Chicago or SF? They can get the PDF … online.
Virtually all the predictions about the death of old media have assumed a comfortingly long time frame for the end of print—the moment when, amid a panoply of flashing lights, press conferences, and elegiac reminiscences, the newspaper presses stop rolling and news goes entirely digital. Most of these scenarios assume a gradual crossing-over, almost like the migration of dunes, as behaviors change, paradigms shift, and the digital future heaves fully into view. But what if the old media dies much more quickly? What if a hurricane comes along and obliterates the dunes entirely? Specifically, what if The New York Times goes out of business—like, this May? [more inside]
Newsfilter: "After a century of continuous publication, The Christian Science Monitor will abandon its weekday print edition and appear online only, its publisher announced Tuesday." [more inside]
Perhaps in your non-Metafilter time or during the occasional power outtage you indulge in that charmingly antiquated past-time of reading a newspaper made out of actual paper. But, once you've read it, you're left with blackened hands and the necessity for putting that fragment of a dead tree somewhere or other. Aside from putting it in the recycling bin, which is responsible but kind of obvious (and therefore would not necessitate a MeFi FPP) what can you do? One option is to make handmade paper. If you're an outdoors type, you could make organic flower pots, some kites, or a dory. If you're more of a fashionista or home decorator, you could make a purse or a bead necklace, weave a basket or placemats, or make a bird. If you're a spinster, you could make some newspaper yarn as student Greetje van Tiem did for her Design Academy Eindhoven graduation show. The yarn can be woven into carpets, curtains and upholstery. Here's a tutorial on how to make the yarn. Then there's always papier maché. [more inside]
Every issue of The Times published between 1785-1985, digitally scanned and fully searchable. (Via Wordorigins.org.)
The 2008 Pulitzer Prize winners were recently announced. Some winners worth noting include the article in the Washington Post about violin virtuoso Joshua Bell busking in the Washington D.C. Metro station, which won the award for Feature Writing. The Washington Post also won the International Reporting award for a disturbing series about modern day mercenaries. This article about Blackwater operating beyond the reach of any law was part of the series. The Washington Post Pulitzer page has more information on their winners and finalists. [more inside]
Nicholson Baker, who in his book, Double Fold, argued for saving newspaper collections, explores "The Charms of Wikipedia" with insightful and hilarious results. He also has a new book, Human Smoke, coming out (excerpt)
Library usage, newspaper circulation, and educational attainment are primary factors used by researchers to determine the 'most literate cities.' Minneapolis has regained top honors from Seattle, though both cities have ranked at the top since the original study in 2003. Other studies here and here show minor shifts in the intervening years. Most relevant now is that there seems to be a correlation between literacy and voting patterns. [more inside]
The FCC, again, moves to loosen ownership rules for television and newspapers. A similar proposal in 2003 drew huge public opposition. This time, there is a narrow window for public comment, ending in mid-November. You can contact the FCC or go to the Common Cause page. [more inside]
Gentlemen Ranters, a "brilliant compendium of reminiscences of the great days of Fleet Street". Via (check the comments for a more depressing viewpoint).
The website of the ridiculously awesome Newseum has been revamped and relaunched in anticipation of its October reopening. Check out the redesigned Today's Front Pages and Analysis sections - and go here for frequent, fascinating evaluations of current front page graphic design (archive). Browse the downloadable front pages of notable dates in recent history (e.g. Katrina, 2004 tsunami, 9/11). Watch discussions of some of the most recognizable Pulitzer Prize winning photographs, and check out the interactive archives of past exhibits. You can also pay your respects at the online version of the Newseum's Journalists Memorial. (previously)
Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers is a beta release of the Library of Congress/National Endowment for the Humanities partnership project, the (previously mentioned) National Digital Newspaper Program. In its current state, Chronicling America allows users to search for and read newspaper pages from 36 newspapers published between 1900 and 1910, and search for information on American newspapers published between 1690 and present day.
Since Rupes went to great lengths to protect Wendi, see some other examples of newspaper self-censorship
"A smart story often does contain new facts," Bennett explains. "But just as often it takes facts that are lying in plain sight and synthesizes them, or arranges them in a way — sometimes in a narrative — that really exposes some new meaning on an important subject. And I think that's a conceptual scoop." (via ATC)
The UK media is like a "Feral Beast", and is undermining Britain, says Tony Blair. Simon Kelner, editor of The Independent, responds. Some reasons why Blair might not be too keen on the press.
The ten things most likely to be on The Daily Express front page. This UK newspaper has gained something of a reputation of late because of their apparently monosyllabic attitude to the news and what'll appear as their front page story -- today with everything that's going in the middle east they ran with yet another story about Princess Diana. Here, Martin Belam analyzes the leaders for the past three months and examines the patterns.
US Military Papers open fire on Rummy. Tomorrow, the Army Times -- and all other Military Times papers, including Navy and Air Force Times -- will run an editorial calling for Donald Rumsfeld to tender his resignation or be fired, due to his gross incompetence in handling the Iraq quagmire.
"He spent much of his life recovering from the misadventures that plagued him even in the womb." A most unusual obituary that illuminates the life of a Denver-area man with unusuably horiffic bad luck.
One-Nil to Google against old media. As Inside Google says, the search engine "responding to Belgian newspaper’s complaints about being included in Google News and the Google cache, as well as a court ruling that they remove those newspapers from their services, decided to show them who’s boss and banned the newspapers outright from Google Belgium’s search results." Or, news organisation misunderstands the benefits of new media and pays dearly.
Today is the day that Rupert Murdoch started trying to kill off the Evening Standard^ by launching thelondonpaper, a free evening paper. But Associated, publishers of the Standard (and London's fake Metro^, too), rushed out their own free paper, London Lite, last week -- the same tactic they used against the London Daily News^ back in 1987. In 2006, why is London having a newspaper war? And considering that it's Murdoch vs. the publishers of the Daily Mail, who should we be cheering for, exactly?
Los Angeles in the 1900s is a collection of newspaper articles & photographs documenting life in L.A. from 1900 to 1909. Some of the articles are funny, some tragic, all informative about what life in the very young city was like prior to the explosive growth caused by Mullholland, the Film Industry, & the freeways.
Charlotte Observer photographer Patrick Schneider has been fired. After a 2003 incident in which the North Carolina Press Association stripped him of his awards for three pictures (before and after can be seen here) the Observer has fired Schneider over the alteration of this image. The question remains among photojournalists: is it unethical to alter a photo in such a way that it more closely resembles what the eye saw and the camera is unable to capture, or is this a deceptive practice that damages the public's trust?
Bonofilter: Yesterday, May 16, U2 front-man Bono was a guest "editor" for the UK newspaper The Independent. Called the "RED Edition," half of this issue's proceeds went "to help fight HIV and AIDS among women and children in Africa." Highlights included US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice offering her take on "The Ten Best Musical Works" and an interview with Eddie Izzard on immigration in Europe. Is there a downside to celebrity editing, or is it a win-win-win for Bono, The Independent, and some people in need?
The Illustrated London News :: an archive
Interesting (if biased) article on the downside of Craigslist's populist appeal in the form of it's contribution to the imminent death of the print newsmedia, especially in the SF Bay Area.
The End of News? From the New York Review of Books. Michael Massing, a contributing editor of the Columbia Journalism Review, discusses the decline of the mainstream media and the ideal of objectivity: Accuracy in Media (1969), the Center for Media and Public Affairs (1985), the abolition of the Fairness Doctrine (1987), Rush Limbaugh (1988), Fox News (1996), weblogs, cost-cutting at newspapers. Of course, the newspaper business has always been a difficult one, as Walter Lippmann noted in his book Public Opinion (1921): [more inside]
Citizen journalism gets vetted, and the people of Greensboro101 etc. bite back. Should the new outlets emulate old-style papers or to each her own?