Sunday, March 27, 2011

More weekend readings in journalism

(via Flickr: jj_pappas423)
Here's some food for thought:

"A Note to Our Readers on the Times Pay Model and the Economics of Reporting" (FiveThirtyEight): The headline on the New York Times politics blog may be a mouthful, but this is the bottom line: "A very small number of news outlets account for a very large share of the English-language reporting that is of national or international interest." That's according to Nate Silver, who tracked which publications were cited most often by everyone for their original reporting on a topic. It's an experiment he did to support the idea that good journalism isn't free and that the pay-to-read model -- like the Times' new metered plan -- is worth the price of subscribing.

" 'Who Needs Newspapers' Project Documents the State of Newsrooms Nationwide" (Editor & Publisher): Valid Sources, a nonprofit focused on finding outstanding practitioners of journalism, is about six months into its year-long effort to lay the foundation for a database that will highlight smaller newspapers that serve their communities well. The year-long project, called "Who Needs Newspapers," expects to identify one newspaper per state each week that deserves recognition; in year two and beyond, local press associations will help to grow the list. One commonality among the papers: they recognize the need to embrace the Internet and new media, and to work both to their advantage.

Visual interlude: The blog 10,000 Words calls "Bloggers vs. Journalists: It's a Psychological Thing" one of the five must-see presentations on digital journalism. The slides were prepared for the recent South by Southwest confab in Austin by Jay Rosen (New York University) and Lisa Williams (Placeblogger) for a discussion on the continuing debate between the two groups.

"Recent College Graduates and the Labor Market" (Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco): Switching gears (a bit) from journalism, this report should lay to rest the debate over whether the current "jobless recovery" -- persistent unemployment -- is structural or cyclical. "Structural" argues that workers no longer have the skills desired by employers; "cyclical" says there's less demand for workers, period -- until the economy is firing on all cylinders. "Structural," to me, is demoralizing because it's akin to telling us jobless that we're suddenly unqualified for work; "cyclical" is less damning to individuals because the problem lies elsewhere, in the (im)balance of supply and demand. The San Fran bank, using recent college graduates as the control, concluded that the current downturn and recovery closely mirrors the 2001 recession and its aftermath, which was deemed cyclical. (Whew!)

"The Employment Situation, February 2011: Unemployment Down for Older Women but Not for Men" (AARP Public Policy Institute; pdf): If you're 55 or older and unemployed, according to this monthly report, you're screwed. "Once unemployed, older workers, on average, are out of work longer than their younger counterparts," it says. For the 55-and-older crowd, the length of unemployment rose in February to 45.5 weeks, from 44.4 weeks in January. (For younger workers, it also was up, but stood at 35.2 weeks.) Adds the report: "The recession may be over, but average duration of unemployment has continued to rise, increasing for the older unemployed by 48 percent between the start and end of the recession (December 2007-June 2009) and by 52 percent since the recession ended (June 2009-February 2011)."

Musical fadeout.

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