Sunday, March 13, 2011

More readings on journalism

(via Flickr: jj_pappas423)
As the weekend winds down, here's some food for thought:

"Who Owns Newspaper Companies?" (Nieman Journalism Lab): Martin Langeveld, a former newspaper publisher, continues to document whose fingers are in the newspaper pie. Here he inventories the investors in publicly traded newspaper companies, concluding "that with a few exceptions, ownership is diversified to the point that no single entity owns more than 10 percent." That's not the case in what he calls the "distressed sector" -- the companies that have gone through bankruptcy court -- where certain investors seem to hold greater stakes.

"The Danger in the Doldrums" (Xark): With the earthquake and tsunami in Japan as backdrop, newspaper veteran Dan Conover (loooong bio here) contemplates the paradox of the news biz: that people seek out good journalism during crises, but could care less otherwise. And since doing top-notch reporting is as expensive on "slow" news days as it is on breaking ones, most media companies back-fill on the former: car chases, Charlie Sheen, Lindsay Lohan -- because readers still have to be delivered to the advertisers buying space. "It's what we do -- or don't do -- on the slow days that's killing our reputations," he says.

Musical interlude.

"The New Watchword? Deconvergence" (ReJurno): Journalist Jane Stevens makes a case for flipping the newsroom on its head: that reporters write for the Web, rather than print, and that their work then is repurposed for the newspaper. That way, she says, papers' online operations won't get pulled down along with the print operations. "[J]urnos just focus on building and managing their communities, their web and mobile coverage," she says, although she'd allow that "Maybe a couple of print-centric staff writers provide Sunday feature stories, but that depends on who the print audience is and what they want."

Bonus reads:
  1. "The Newsroom Rush of Old" (Smithsonian): Think speed is new to the newsroom? Think again, as reminiscences born of an old city desk photo show.
  2. "Dan Rather: Inside Mark Cuban's Gilded Cage" (Mother Jones): The 79-year-old former news dean of CBS is happy again as a shoe-leather reporter. 
  3. "How to Not Get Hired" (Forbes): Humorous tales from the job hunt. Or, "been there, done that!"
Bonus video: In case you were worried about Maru (of course we watch cat videos on the Web!), word came from Japan that he is safe.

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