Posts for Tag: journalist

The fate of the newspaper industry and the rise of the micro "newspaper"

Faced with aging presses and strapped for cash to replace them, the move will significantly cut costs at a paper that lost $50 million in 2008, and allow it to focus on news gathering, Publisher Frank Vega said.

I was listening to KCBS this morning and heard about this story. It's definitely a sad sign of the times that an old institution like The Chronicle is slowly shrinking. However, empires are not meant to last forever and everything must adapt or wither away. Outsourcing the printing of its newspapers sounds like a good start but the final move will have to be to abandon print altogether. It's a slow, inflexible, and very expensive way to get your content out to your users. Eventually, devices like the iPhone and the Kindle should suffice (in a lot of ways, they already do) and the rise of yet to be invented handheld devices should move us to a completely newspaperless society.

But less you think that all good journalism is going out the door with the fall of the old newspaper empires, there is good news to report. The TalkingPointsMemo blog just got a nice investment from Marc Andreessen. The small and nimble "newspaper" has received rave reviews (and a George Polk Award) for their journalistic excellence. I think you're seeing the future of journalism in small outfits like TPM. Small, nimble teams of journalists focused on a single industry/genre/beat. Without the cost of pressmen, delivery personnel, and ad sales teams, you don't need to generate a ton of ads in order to be profitable - which TPM is.

Is it any wonder why newspapers are failing? First they lose ads to Craigslist, now journalistic credibility.

He said the Guardian was the only publication to respond to him in detail and with remorse at its own editorial failing. Others, he said, treated him as a vandal who was solely to blame for their cut-and-paste content.

The above is a quote from a Yahoo Finance article about a Dublin University student who punked a bunch of newspapers with a fake Wikipedia quote from the recently deceased Maurice Jarre.  Their obituary writers, in a mad scramble to rush out their copy, basically resorted to copying Wikipedia instead of doing actual research.  I'm not so much irked by the fact that they use Wikipedia but that even after being caught, they still had the gall to think they weren't in the wrong (aside from The Guardian, of course).  Just goes to show how a once great and arrogant industry can't even gracefully exit let alone innovate itself out of its current predicament.

Twitter mentioned on PTI

I'm watching PTI (Pardon the Interruption on ESPN) and one of the segments is about Twitter. The story is that guys like Chris Bosh ( and Shaq ( actively use Twitter (Bosh has about 2,100 followers, Shaq has over 105,000!). Dan LeBatard and Tony Kornheiser are discussing whether more and more athletes will become active on Twitter. The fact that Twitter was mentioned by a bunch of older dudes on a sports show has demonstrated for me that Twitter now has crossed over to the mainstream. It's like when my mom mentioned that she was "Googling" a while back - that pretty much meant to me that Google had arrived.
Back to the show, Dan made a very interesting comment that with services like Twitter, sports reporters are now becoming less and less relevant. If an athlete can connect directly with the fans, do we really need the sports reporter in the locker room with a microphone? I'd say that sports reporters and especially sports journalists are still necessary. What these athletes do with Twitter only shows me what the athlete may be willing to share but that's only part of the story. It takes an investigative reporter or journalist to dig beyond that to uncover more truth or to provide interpretation and insightful commentary. Do you think A-Rod would have confessed to taking roids had a journalist not uncovered it? I think services like Twitter are a nice addition to the sports information stream but by far not the end all.