Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Rather advocates for top-level panel on news media

Former CBS correspondent and anchor Dan Rather recently editorialized in the Washington Post that only the participation of President Obama can draw adequate attention to the state of the nation's news media.

"This is the only way I could think of to generate the sort of attention this subject deserves," Rather wrote. "Academia and think tanks generate study after study, yet their findings don't reach the people who need to be reached."

Rather doesn't favor a government bailout for, much less control of, news media, he said. But without wide-ranging and grassroots attention, what's bad could get worse.

For the country.

"We need news that breeds understanding, not contempt; news that fosters a healthy skepticism of the workings of power rather than a paralyzing cynicism. We need the basic information that a self-governing people requires," said Rather, who's now global correspondent and managing editor of HDNet's Dan Rather Reports.

"This is a crisis that, with no exaggeration, threatens our democratic republic at its core," he added. "But you won't hear about it on your evening news."

Read his entire essaya here--

Bing & Twitter could help journalism

Microsoft's Bing search engine is partnering with Yahoo! and Twitter upgraded itself, which not only will challenge Google's hegemonym but help journalaism, according to an interesting post by Causecast contributor Maegan Carberry.

It's search optimization, she says.

Check it out --

Student Journalists Must Create a Personal Brand Name

This isn't an entirely new concept but Alfred Hermida, an assistant professor at the Graduate School of Journalism, the University of British Columbia makes a compelling case for student journalists to create their own personal brand.

He notes "personal branding is becoming increasingly central to the prospects of a young person starting out on a life of reporting." He points out the shift away from big journalism institutions, such as major newspapers and new organizations, toward individual writers and voices.

Check out his essay at

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Toot, Toot, Sammy-- Goodbye

Billionaire Sam Zell, who leveraged the Chicago Tribune group of media properties and other subsidiaries into bankruptcy, is being forced out, according to its equally beleaguered competitor, the Chicago Sun-Times.

Tribune creditors are working out a reorganization plan that ousts the real estate mogul, according to reporter David Roeder.

Elsewhere, Crain's reports that the Trib's net revenues for July increased to $508 million from $491 million last July. []

Read the Sun-Times story on Zell's bye-bye here --,CST-NWS-zell14.article

Lee Enterprises launching newspaper promo campaign

The parent company of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and the Quad City Times aims to fight the "irrational negativity about the future of newspapers," according to Lee Enterprises CEO Mary Junck, with a campaign promoting the medium as "First. Best. Today. Tomorrow."

"Audiences are huge and growing," says Junck, who notes papers' appeal to younger readers, too.

"We reach 60% or more of 18 to 29 year olds," she says. "Our newspapers alone reach more than 50%."

Lee is weathering the economic downturn, too. Its stock price was recently $1.50 a share -- up from a 24 cents in the last year.

The entire article from E&P is here --

Some magazines prospering in Great Recession

Some periodicals that target specialty or affluent audiences did well in the last year, a time when the magazine industry suffered a significant loss of ad revenue -- and a few titles went out of business.

Organic Gardening, Scholastic Parent & Child and Fitness were a few that benefited from redesigns, stunts and just plain luck, reports Joan Voight.

Read the complete MediaPost news piece here --

Ease up on PR 'flacks,' newsroom 'hacks'!

Public relations professionals are good ethical thinkers, according to research done at Penn State -- contradicting the stereotype of PR practitioners as untrustworthy manipulators who'd do anything for a client.

Check out the news story at the e! Science News blog --

Interestingly, among 20 groups of people, PR folks finished 7th. Journalists finished 5th -- after seminarians, ophilosophers, medical students and physicians. Ranking last were junior high school students, who scored lower than prison inmates.