Monday, January 31, 2011

Bad math: 3 grads better than 1 veteran journalist

Here's a tit-for-tat on Twitter that put a smile on my face:

The exchange, as best I could tell, came about because @loisbeckett, a freelance writer on the West Coast, had blogged about newsrooms being understaffed and tweeted her findings. The perky @JessicaKRoy, it seems, had her own theory on the reason for the staffing woes: "older" reporters who command the salary equivalent of three recent college graduates.

The math is nearly on the mark (my back-of-the-envelope calculation was 2.5 new grads for one reporter with 10 years' experience), so I can't quibble with her about that. But I sure would disagree with the insinuation that three recent college grads could offer sufficient quality or quantity to equal one newsroom veteran -- even if the three did excel at social media.

Which is why I loved, loved, loved the @loisbeckett comeback tweet.

Someone has to defend the honor of us "older" journalists.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Weekend read: How the news business has changed

(via Flickr: jj_pappas423)
Time to get back into the weekend reading habit. Check this out:

"Colorful Hyperbole and Newspapering in 1982 and 2010" (McGuire on Media): Tim McGuire is a former editor at the Star Tribune in Minneapolis who now teaches journalism at Arizona State University and blogs regularly about the media. This recent post is interesting because it asks a handful of newspaper veterans to evaluate the sea change that has roiled the industry over the last several decades. (Note the reminder of how transformative the telegraph was for newspapering in an earlier era.)

"The Shakeup at MediaNews: Why It Could Be the Leadup to a Massive Newspaper Consolidation" (Nieman Journalism Lab): The crux of this long piece -- the "nut graf," if you will -- doesn't show itself until the subhead titled "Consolidation?" And the point is this: With so many newspaper companies now controlled by the same one or two investment groups, isn't further consolidation of the industry inevitable? Author Martin Langeveld, a longtime daily newspaper publisher now working as a consultant, offers a handy list of investor-owners to make his case.

Musical interlude: "The Dow Piano", or how the stock market's ups and downs in 2010 would be scored.

"Is Mobile Affecting When We Read?" (Read It Later): Yes, is the short answer from the people behind Read It Later, a platform to which readers save digital articles in order to, ahem, read them later. An analysis of what has been posted to RIL reveals that we're so thoroughly bombarded by online material that we're forced into priority triage, setting aside certain things for a leisure-time read. The iPad could find a big following as a result, say the RIL folks.

"The Dead Source Who Keeps on Giving" (Columbia Journalism Review): Two recent instances of off-the-record comments being attributed once their source died offers a topic for discussion: Does the identity protection ever expire automatically?

Video interlude: I hadn't seen this Nike Foundation anti-poverty video (or its follow-up) until I came across this article in The Chronicle of Philanthropy on the controversy that has resulted.