Saturday, August 30, 2008

DNC, RNC welcome multimedia folks

(from the weblog MediaShift, hosted by new media journalism expert Mark Glaser)

This year, the political conventions have tried to be more open to bloggers, video reporters, podcasters and new media. In 2004, the major political conventions gave a few dozen bloggers press credentials, a historic moment for the new media outsiders. In 2008, the Democratic convention credentialed 120 bloggers, and the GOP has credentialed 200 bloggers, according to Forbes.

But perhaps the more interesting trend at the conventions this year is that it’s more difficult to tell the independent bloggers from the mainstream media bloggers. As traditional media embraces a multi-platform approach, including their audience in citizen media reports, the distinction between who deserves a media credential and who doesn’t has blurred like never before. (read more here)

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Many will miss Chicago's loudest sportswriter

(A commentary by Mark Fitzgerald, in Editor & Publisher)

CHICAGO -- The unexpected news that Jay Mariotti quit the Chicago Sun-Times will gladden the heart of countless sports fans here, who have gobbled up countless gigabytes in the blogosphere documenting their hatred for the sportswriter.

Google "Jay Mariotti sucks," and you'll get 12,400 returns. Mariotti was held in such contempt in the clubhouses of some teams that he has written his columns for years without stepping foot in them. He said in all seriousness he felt unsafe in the White Sox clubhouse, for instance. (to read more, click here)

How Newspapers Botched the Web

An interesting analysis of how the newspaper industry, as a whole, messed up its various attempts to break into the online world can be found at

Monday, August 25, 2008

"Freaked out" seeks career advice

Dear Joe,
Q. I graduated from J-school this May with a newspaper concentration, and I'm interning abroad this summer. Every week I get e-mails from friends who are beginning their newspaper careers in the States and watching newsroom morale crumble around them. One friend says an editor pulled her and other interns aside and told them to get out of the business while they still could. Another intern told me he's the only one in his office who's sure he'll still be working in a week's time. A metro reporter who's only 24 already believes her own job isn't safe.

I still don't think it's that difficult to break into newspapers, especially in small towns or through multimedia. But what about keeping those jobs five years or 10 years down the line? Even if small papers continue to do well, where are the chances to move up going if it's the major metros that are cutting jobs? Sure, Web skills are important, but being able to write HTML or edit video (as it seems almost everyone can do now) won't ensure survival in an ailing industry. It seems to me that the print media industry is headed for a far more compact -- and competitive -- incarnation.

I don't mean to come off as alarmist, but I think my concerns are legitimate. So my question is this: If you had graduated college this May, would you have gone into newspapers? And for us budding writers who are still young and unfettered, is it time to switch paths?

Freaked Out

A. If I came out of school this year, I would not be banking on a long career in newspapers. But I would still study journalism.

When I got out of journalism school, I had no idea in the world that I would ever become such a thing as a newspaper recruiter. I had never heard of one. And then I became one and absolutely loved it for 18 years. And even way back then, more than 30 years ago, we were taught to produce journalism for print, video and audio.

My points: you cannot have your whole career figured out now; uncertainty can include great things; we can't confine ourselves to one medium.

Newspapers are changing, to be sure, and not in pretty ways. Some will not survive. Others will evolve in ways that make them almost unrecognizable -- except that they still do journalism.

I know that video skills are hot today, that everyone is trying to acquire them and that they will soon be surpassed by something else. Evolution has always been the case. But now, change is moving at warp speed. And it is not just happening in newspapers. Don't believe that our brothers and sisters in other industries are having an easier time than we are. They're as worried as we are.

Dealing with this junk takes guts. And it is risky. Yes, many people are getting hurt by this transformation. And some are benefiting. Right now, it seems to me that more are getting hurt. But just as you are at the beginning of a career, all of us are at the beginning of a historic transformation. No one can give you any assurance about what will happen or where we'll wind up. But we are beginning to see some of what it will take to succeed: adaptability, entrepreneurship, initiative and an audience orientation.

If you have a passion for journalism, if you have the qualities I just mentioned and if you can work like hell, I think your chances are pretty good.

(From longtime journalism recruiter Joe Grimm, posted on Poynter Online)

A new way to pay for news you want?

You think your local water supply is polluted. But you’re getting the runaround from local officials, and you can’t get your local newspaper to look into your concerns.

What do you do?

A group of journalists say they have an answer. You hire them to investigate and write about what they find.

The idea, which they are calling “community-funded journalism,” is now being tested in the San Francisco Bay area, where a new nonprofit, Spot Us, is using its Web site,, to solicit ideas for investigative articles and the money to pay for the reporting. But the experiment has also raised concerns of journalism being bought by the highest bidder.

Read more of the story here.