From part III of the PBS Frontline series:
The first good news story about the newspaper industry that I’ve read in a while and I sure hope it ends up on the desk of editors and publishers of the country’s finest newsrags.
My colleagues and feel acutely futile arguing that rampant job-cutting at newspapers not only lowers the quality of the rag, but shrinks profits in the long run (we’re months from graduating, J-school, so give us a break), Finally, there’s a study to back us up.
The upside for papers to hire, hire, hire:
“If you invest in the newsroom, do you make more money? The answer is yes,” Esther Thorson, an advertising professor and associate dean for graduate studies at the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism, said in a statement.
Reuters discloses the ugliness of the recent management of the news media industry that is (I pray) at its nadir.
According to job outplacement tracking firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, the number of planned job cuts in the U.S. media sector surged 88 percent to 17,809 last year.
Since the start of 2007, Time Warner Inc.’s Time Inc. said it would cut 289 jobs, and the New York Times Co. announced plans to shed 125 jobs and close foreign bureaus for its Boston Globe newspaper.
“Until recently, people have been doing it because the results looked good to investors on Wall Street, but it’s… ignoring the long-term aspects,” said marketing professor and study co-author Murali Mantrala.
Video blogger and independent journalist Josh Wolf has been in a federal jail for 171 days for refusing to turn over to a federal grand jury a video of a San Francisco demonstration. On Feb. 6 Wolf’s length of incarceration set a new record for US journalism. “Democracy Now!” has an interview with Josh Wolf from his jail cell. If federal authorities can jail bloggers with impunity, it does not bode well for the future of citizen journalism.
The New York Times reporter who in 2002 co-authored several articles with Judith Miller that contended with near certainty that Iraq was in possession of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) is parroting propaganda once again.
Michael Gordon, whose reporting in 2002 was instrumental in the Bush administrations argument to invade Iraq, and has since been famously proven false, is back at it — this time using weak sourcing to report Iran’s involvement in supplying bombs in Iraq.
Bloggers on both the right and the left are interpreting the U.S. government’s rhetoric as straight posturing, while the top story of the day — and believe it or not, the top issue this morning on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace (where he is in the process of tearing Douglas Feith a new one) remains, ironically, the inspector general’s damning report on the Bush administration’s self-manufactured intel providing the definitive argument for the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Is the Times already anxious to turn the page to Iran, days after Congressional Republicans appalled many legislators including at least 7 on the GOP, by effectively stifling a proposed debate/review on the Iraq War?
Greg Mitchell breaks down this “breaking news,” — as sourced by â€œcivilian and military officials from a broad range of government agenciesâ€ — for Editor & Publisher:
Saturdayâ€™s New York Times features an article, posted at the top of its Web site late Friday, that suggests very strongly that Iran is supplying the â€œdeadliest weapon aimed at American troopsâ€ in Iraq.
“So I think, you know, as a purely personal view, I think it’s worth it one last effort for sure to try to get this right, because my personal view is we’ve never really tried to win.
While failing to explain why we’ve been led to believe for so long that a Sunni-led insurgency is rife with IEDs (Iran is predominantly Shi’a), Gordon provides a bullhorn for Def. Sec. Robert Gates’ claim: “I Can Prove Iran’s Role in Iraq. Flip for more on Feith.
UPDATE: Dan Froomkin has further analysis on the media’s varied coverage and response to what was apparently a highly secretive and questionable display of “proof of Iranian involvement in Iraq” in his Monday column.
It can’t be easy to be James Rainey, the L.A. Times meta/media-critic, who writes from the bunker on Spring Street. Today at USC Annenberg he said that despite the fact that the Times covers hardly any of the 88 cities in the county, the news in L.A. just doesn’t happen without the Times, as everyone, bloggers included just rip and read. Surprisingly — nobody stepped up to disagree to this demonstrably wrong sentiment.
The nugget was his offbeat comment that the inside word from a Times researcher — not a scare tactic — is that in 3 years the newspaper’s profit would sink to ZERO. This cynicism from an actual staff writer on media? I guess the Internet really is killing newspapers then, or something, eh?
Rainey added that it’s regretful that the Times is pressured to appease Wall Street and therefore can only focus on short-term fixes as opposed to advanced content development and dedicated Web innovation. But this says nothing about how they blew a chance for major traffic this week when they mis-posted the Schwarzenegger audio (their Political Muscle blog was quick with the transcripts, but good luck finding the 20 or so blogs via the latimes.com homepage), or why when I check LAT on my cellphone in the middle of the night it still says USC leads UCLA at half when the game has been over for hours. Where’s the “quick fix” there?
Where’s some non-corporate skepticism from the likes of a Tim Rutten when you need it, as opposed to the extended bullhorn of the man — complacent in supposedly being the only real news source in town.
Elsewhere in broke and struggling Tribune Company news: Q4 Profits up 80% on same quarter last year. Fools. I don’t get it. Let’s take over!