Saturday, February 12, 2011

Weekend read: Are newspapers too, too slow?

(via Flickr: jj_pappas423)

Even though it's been a busy week for news, here are some not-to-be-missed items:

"When the News Gets Old" (Recovering Journalist): To Mark Potts, a former print and online journalist, the breakneck speed of events in Egypt once again made newspapers seem so yesterday: " ... the advent of the Web, Twitter, mobile news apps, multiple cable news channels and any number of other new competitors is more and more rendering print newspapers, in their traditional form, obsolete." His suggestion: lose the "newspaper of record" mentality -- analysis is fine, though -- and "double down on their quicker digital news-delivery products." It's an echo of the "digital first, print last" credo being championed by Journal Register Co.'s John Paton.

(Note that Potts is more charitable than MG Siegler at TechCrunch, who'd rather that the print newspaper just disappear: "It’s a waste of paper, ink, and time. R.I.P.")

And speaking of Egypt and Twitter:

"Curating the Revolution: Building a Real-Time News Feed About Egypt" (The Atlantic): This is a really interesting how-to interview with NPR's Andy Carvin, who took to Twitter to create a running stream of tweets about the protests in Tahrir Square in Cairo that helped topple Hosni Mubarak. Because he's been tweeting and live-blogging for years and knows bloggers in North Africa, Carvin (@acarvin on Twitter) was able to become "a personal news wire for Egypt," says Atlantic writer Phoebe Connelly.

Time for a musical interlude.

"Our Disappointing Journalism" (Yelvington): Steve Yelvington, another former print and online journalist, laments the failure to fully utilize the Web in the news that is posted there: no links, no multimedia, no interaction with the audience. Technology offers tools, but they aren't being put to use, he says. (The concept of "contextualized journalism" mentioned in the intro is explained here.)

"Consolidation Seen as Inevitable for Southern California's Newspapers" (Los Angeles Times): This James Rainey column takes a close look at what could become the next chapter for newspapers post-recession, as likely to play out in the Southern California market: that hedge fund, which bailed out a number of big media companies during the downturn, look to consolidate properties to achieve some of the efficiencies of scale that will make those holdings more profitable -- and attractive for resale.

"My Eureka Moment" (Knight Garage):  Beth Duff-Brown, a former newspaper and Associated Press writer and editor who became a Knight Fellow at Stanford University, writes here about her decision to step away from a 25+-year career in journalism to create a digital storytelling platform to advocate for a better life for women and girls in developing countries. It's a commendable action.

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