Sometimes the news comes at us too quickly. After a weekend of Florida baseball (watch out for the Twins and Justin Morneau), here's a catch-up of recent links worth stopping and paying attention to:
In Philly, they always do things a little differently and don't take slights lightly. People in and around the two dailies, the Inquirer and the Daily News, knew that they might me in for more trouble when Knight Ridder put itself for sale in November. When McClatchy bought and then announced it was selling 12 of its new children, including the Philadelphia papers, asap, the news got worse.
The Inquirer, once the flagship Pulitzer winner of KR, has sustained ongoing newsroom cuts. Its cousin, the sprightly, tenacious Daily News tab not only has sustained its own cuts and bruises, but has always seemed one step away from the graveyard. Marginally profitable at best, its survival has been based on the shaky proposition that it was better for KR to own its own competition (to the Inquirer) than have a real competitor shake things up. Now that protection appears lost.
Will Bunch (with the brother-can-you-spare-a-dime cup) , a Daily News columnist and blogger, is one of many in Philly who hasn't given up hope, even in a time of corporate chessboard games and multiple newspaper struggles. His optimism about the new kinds of journalism that can be created and paid for is a breath of fresh air. It led to a new group and now an unconference, trying to find force light into the darkness. Check out the candle.
In San Jose, Mercury News staffers felt similarly stunned by being placed back on the sales block. There, given the culture, a Save the Merc community staff/group community group is forming and trying to find its legs.
Pertinent to these discussions of, in part, do-it-ourselves media (DIO?) is how media distribution now works. We're in this weird 1.5 world in which old systems and old money is challenged, and new systems and new money are being created, but oh-so-fitfully. To that end and others, anyone who wants to get the word out -- their own, or their communities, or even think about what news distribution broadly means today -- should check out David Scott's new ebook. David is a friend, who taught me a bit about the joys of Typepad (should have gotten a commission, for enabling this blog). The new free download ebook lays out well the new rules of the p.r. game, giving us all some practical tips about how to work the new distribution systems and cycles.
Jay Rosen has stamina. He is a NYU journalism prof and friend, who helped us design and implement some print public journalism projects at the Saint Paul Pioneer Press (yes, too on the chopping block anew) in the '90s. Public journalism predated the web, engaging the community through forums, letters-to-the-editor, etc around such issues as real public safety and intergenerational responsibility. Jay's PressThink blog is always worth checking in on, delving deeply into the press/democracy/citizen involvement issues/survival of real reporting issues that underlay this all. He recently released a study of newspaper-mediated blogging, well-worth studying. How newspapers and other media like NPR come to grips with citizen-generated content will determine much of the next stage. It's what I've called the Blews, the merging of blogs and news in all kinds of intriguing ways.
Lee Rainie's initiative on the Internet and American life has a knack for asking so many of the right questions. You can access its reports for free (thanks to the legacy Big Oil money that funded Pew). One of my favorite recent tidbits from Deborah Fallows' Internet usage report: "Nearly a third of Internet users go online on a typical day for no particular reason, just for fun or to pass the time." Check out the wealth of what's available, and get the latest scoop on Internet dating from its most recent report. Or for you save-the-press types, check out just-out research from Pew Research overall on the challenged state of news media, and especially of deep reporting.