March 10, 2005

Traveling: Oaxaca

I'm heading south to Oaxaca, Mexico, for about a week, where the food is great, the mezcal is better and DSL is only a dream (at least on my dirt road). Until I return in about a week, read about how I built a house there or wander the stacks of the Best of First Draft: The list is below. Hasta luego, compadres.

 The Quality Manifesto: What started it all.

 Journalists Overpaid? Nonsense: There are many reasons newsrooms have disconnected from the communities they cover, but overly fat paychecks is not one of them.

 No More Whining: He's wrong that penurious publishers are to blame for readership woes.

 Eliminating the Bimbo Factor: I practiced journalism, but I knew almost nothing about it - although I thought I did.

 Would You Pay a Nickel to Read This?: In the world of online newspapers (and other media), the debate over whether to charge for content (more revenue) or not (more readers) draws well-reasoned and emotional commentary from both sides.

 Newspapers Disrupted: "When you realize this newfangled thing is stealing your business, and you aren't sure how to get it back."

 How Journalism Went Bad: Reading writer Michael D'Antonio's thoughtful essay on the demise of traditional journalism (print and broadcast) in the L.A. Times reminded me of the Woody Allen line about death: "It's not that I'm afraid to die, I just don't want to be there when it happens."

 Time for a Leadership Tuneup: Newspapers are like cars. They are complex machines that require regular maintenance, occasional new parts and a certain amount of high-speed driving to keep the grit and road grime from dulling their engines.

 There's Nothing Left but the Journalism: Quality sells. Relevance matters. The real lesson both the newsroom and the boardroom need to learn is that, in the age of the 24-hour scroll, the micro-fragmentation of electronic media, and the constant clamor for a news consumer's attention by everyone from the New York Times to yours truly, all that's left is the journalism.

 The Journalism of Complacency: Tim Rutten, who was completely wrong about Daniel Okrent (see my comments here and here), noses about for the roots of journalistic evil and finds it to be money - that is, the relative affluence of reporters and editors, at least those in larger news organizations. He's half-wrong again - but inadvertently landed on a point worth making.

 ASNE's Diversity Study: Looking for Answers: Why do America's newspapers remain so white despite 25 years of effort to have them be more reflective of the communities they cover?

 Money, Money, Money: The salary gap widens between the boardroom and the newsroom

 New Readership Study: Culture Counts: A new study by the Readership Institute - released at the ASNE convention - focuses on attracting younger and more diverse readers to newspapers and on overcoming the internal cultural barriers that inhibit innovation.

 Applied Talent: Howell Raines was right about one thing (at least) -- what counts is how much talent is at work, not how much is in the building.

 According to This Reporter: Sources and Accountability: Is having no source in a news story better than citing an anonymous one?

 Goodness and Tyranny: The desire to do good work and the obstacles of tradition, convention and production connect all newspaper journalists.

 News Media vs. Journalism: It's time, once again, to make the distinction between the "news media" and journalism.

 Editorial Pages: Pizza vs. Finger Bowls: The nature of editorial pages and how newspapers use them to connect to readers.

 He Said, She Said, We Said : Revelations about the mindset of traditional journalists, the power shift personal publishing technology has brought to media, and a common frustration shared equally by reporters and their subjects.

 Apologize? For What?: The Boston Herald, has apologized for publishing a photograph of the young woman shot to death by police during a street disturbance following the Red Sox's victory over the Yankees. That was a mistake.

 Explode the Newsroom: Six Ways to Rebuild the System: After meeting last week in Atlanta with a group of smart, committed journalists who gathered to brainstorm about ways to rescue what Carol Nunnelly of NewsTrain calls the "prisoners of the newsroom" - assignment editors and other mid-level managers - I've come to believe the traditional newsroom structure is obsolete and cannot respond to the challenges of changing readership, new journalistic forms and professional stagnation that threaten the relevancy of newspapers.

 The Power of One: Over and over again I hear journalists bemoan the falling numbers in their newsrooms or shrinking size of their news hole. And they are right to do so. They are also right to pursue efforts to link quality journalism to higher profits. But that is not enough. Individual journalists need to take personal responsibility for the quality of their work and get beyond the question someone asked yesterday at a conference on homeland security reporting: What can one person do?

 Reading the Vanishing Newspaper, A Guide: Philip Meyer, a University of North Carolina journalism professor, wrote "The Vanishing Newspaper, Saving Journalism in the Information Age," as "an attempt to isolate and describe the factors that made journalism work as a business in the past and that might also make it work with the changing technologies in the present and the future." I read the book and dissected it chapter by chapter.


Posted by Tim Porter at March 10, 2005 06:40 AM