Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Hyper-local, Part II

Keeping the discussion going

Carll Tucker responds to comments left from our Saturday post (see original story here):

"Thanks, R and Anonymous, for your comments. After two decades as a community news publisher and hanging out with other community news publishers, I know there are lots of folks who care about their community.

"They want to know about their kids’ schools and games, their houses of worship, the value of their homes, local crime, what local politicians are up to, who was born and who died, what’s doing over the weekend. Yes, some parents attend any given Little League game, but not all, and the ones who couldn’t attend want to hear about it (not to mention Gramps and Granny).

"Does an individual need our help starting such a site? No. It’s not rocket science. But it’s hard. How many people are expert at all the disciplines required: reporting, ad sales, technology, billing, community relations, promotion? One can spend one’s precious time learning all those things, but why not spend it gathering the news and rustling ads, the two keys to success? With our tools, experience, guidance, and launch capital, we can help local entrepreneurs get off to a faster, more profitable, and less risky start.

"Is that worth paying for? Depends on your point of view. To those who want to go it alone, we say, More power to you. The folks who’ve started viable community sites are our heroes – but there aren’t that many of them. Many communities in America have no local news right now (my wife and I live in one). In other communities, the local newspaper is wobbly.

"Our first objective is to assure quality local news in all the communities where the newspaper is doomed. We think we can help build success – but we’re rooting for all the other folks who are doing it too. Nothing makes me happier than seeing a high-quality community news site whose proprietor is making an OK living. Thanks again for your thoughts. C "

What do you think? Please add your comment.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Saving local news, will it work? What do you think?

With 20,000 or more journalists and other newspaper professionals out of work, and tradtional printed newspapers seeming to shrink all the time, who's going to cover local news?

Publisher Carll Tucker, right, developed a local news franchise and sold it to Gannett; now it's just not the same.

But maybe by applying some old-fashioned country editor principles to modern technology, his franchise business plan will save local news franchises.

Personal finance columnist and author Jane Bryant Quinn, left, says she is involved because she's a believer in local news.

Take a look at our story on Jilted Journalists.
What do you think?
Will it work?
Would you try it?

Please add you comment.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

What's in your future Beloit Mindset List?

Some news of course is cyclical in nature and reporters and copy editors try to make coverage different, be it Christmas, Fourth of July or the current crop of back-to-school stories.

One of our favorites in that genre is The Beloit College Mindset List, providing 75 "cultural touchstones that shape the lives of students entering college."
This year's list presumes students entering the class of 2013 were born in 1991.
Just a few of our favorites - they have more serious ones:

-- The Green Giant has always been Shrek, not the big guy picking vegetables.

-- Salsa has always outsold ketchup.
-- Chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream has always been a flavor choice.
-- There has always been a Cartoon Network.

The list also addresses some of the same issues creating havoc in the news and media.
"Members of the class of 2013 won't be surprised when they can charge a latté on their cell phone and curl up in the corner to read a textbook on an electronic screen. The migration of once independent media — radio, TV, videos and CDs — to the computer has never amazed them."

So help us help Beloit editors get ready for future lists. Here's a few media-news-related items that may come up in a few years or possibly for the class of 2031. Please add items that you might dread or embrace. (Please use the comments section and we'll pull them back out to our main site.)

Will we see items such as these:

-- News has always been downloaded free to handheld mobile readers and never printed on paper.

-- Pictures have always been digital and Photoshopped in broad daylight and never burned and dodged in a darkroom.

-- Pulitzer-Prize-winning investigative reports have always been written 140 characters at a time by citizen journalists and never by well-paid or even poorly paid reporters working for a news organization.

-- Great literature has always been read for free on 2-inch-wide screens.

-- TV shows were always watched on demand and never at a time scheduled by a so-called TV network.

-- Facebook friends have always shared their private thoughts through HuffPost Social News and never emailed each other, picked up a phone, or met at a Starbucks, which has always only had tables for one.

What's on your future Beloit list?

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Not as bad = It's getting better

It seems we inadvertently touched someone's nerve. A friend of a Facebook friend took umbrage when we added a comment about the jobs report to which the friend was linking. The New York Times story she cited:

There was some fun banter, so we quipped, "Is the rate down because there just aren't that many people left to lay off?"
Which brought further discussions and a serious retort with a US Census Bureau citation: "There are more than 153 million jobs in the US. This idea that there are fewer jobs to lose is ludicrous."

Ludicrous or not, above is the Bureau of Labor Statistics chart showing net monthly changes in jobs. (We're not making this up.) Since January, 2008, the net change has been negative each month. The bureau's monthly net count (those are minus signs):
Jan. -72,000
Feb. -144,000
Mar. -122,000
Apr. -160,000
May -137,000
Jun. -161,000
Jul. -128,000
Aug. -175,000
Sep. -321,000
Oct. -380,000
Nov. -597,000
Dec. -681,000

Jan. -741,000
Feb. -681,000
Mar. -652,000
Apr. -519,000
May -303,000
Jun. -443,000 (Preliminary)
Jul. -247,000 (Preliminary)
So, we have no quibble with the report that the pace of job loss is slowing, and the other monthly figure, the jobless rate, dropped a point to 9.4%. Recession may be ending. Jobless counts lag economic movement.
Our point:
If you're one of the 153 million at work, congrats.
If you're one of the 247,000 who lost a job in June, one of the 5 million the bureau calls long-term unemployed (27 weeks or more), or have been out of work some other period of time, we may have help for you, especially if you are a jilted journalist.
Check out our latest story on reinventing yourself. Lots of advice, particularly aimed at journalists, from career coach Madhu Krishnappa Maron.
Hope it helps.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Corporate bedfellows

We knew something was amiss when we noticed news stories citing Wall Street Journal/NBC News polls.

Not a normal story topic for Jilted Journalists but perhaps something worth pursuing for our readers.

The particular topic here is how polling partnerships come about and what they mean.

For example recent national stories quote Washington Post/ABC News poll or USA Today/Gallup or CNN/USA Today. Some of those pairings have been around for years.
The Wall Street Journal is paired with NBC News in recent polls on President Obama's health-care plan, Sarah Palin's political future and government spending, to name a few.

That seemed odd considering the venom usually spewed between arms of the companies' parents, Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. and GE. Particularly Fox News' O'Reilly and MSNBC's Olbermann.

Why wouldn't WSJ pair with FNC, we wondered?

Along comes The New York Times' Brian Stelter shedding some light on what's going on.

But are there even more reasons for the two organizations to get cozy?

Insights welcome in comments.