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Print News Fading, Still Source of Much News

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 5 years ago | from the fact-checking-the-next-media-casualty dept.

The Media 140

CNet's Dan Farber took a look, not only at the popular news of how print media is dying a slow death, but also what contribution to the news print journalists are still making. According to research quoted, while the physical publications are quickly becoming a thing of the past much of the news that makes its way into circulation via blogs and other means still originates from the hard work of those print journalists. (We discussed a similar perspective on the news a week back.) "While the Internet is growing as the place where people go for news, the revenue simply isn't catching up fast enough. The less obvious part of the Internet overtaking newspapers as the main source for national and international news is that much of the seed content--the original reporting that breaks national and international news and is subsequently refactored by legions of bloggers--comes from the reporters and editors working at the financially strapped newspapers and national and local television outlets. [...] As the financial pressures mount--the outlook for 2009 is dismal--and the cost cutting continues, we can only hope that the original news reporting by top-flight journalists is not a major casualty."

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140 comments

Frist Post! (3, Funny)

h4x354x0r (1367733) | more than 5 years ago | (#26234929)

You know it's very important to be the frist one to break the news.

Subscription = Revenue (2, Interesting)

Xerolooper (1247258) | more than 5 years ago | (#26235191)

Am I missing something here. I subscribe to the newspaper so I can access the archives on their website I put the actual paper in the recycling on my way out the door every morning.
This gives them the same revenue from me they would be getting if I actually read the paper. If they embrace this business model for techies and sell the dead trees to everyone else(there are still people not on the internet) they will be fine.
I also get some other extras for subscribing vs. free registration like the actual paper in PDF format and advanced data search capabilities in their archives.
Part of the problem is it is cheaper to subscribe to the paper then just pay for an account online. This points towards draconian thinking. Once setup the cost for the online service approaches zero. So they should charge less not more.

Re:Subscription = Revenue (3, Interesting)

roguetrick (1147853) | more than 5 years ago | (#26235259)

Actually you are missing something. Classifieds and ads constituted of the majority of newspaper revenue, not subscriptions.

Re:Subscription = Revenue (2, Funny)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#26235355)

Actually you are missing something. Classifieds and ads constituted of the majority of newspaper revenue, not subscriptions.

So why don't they borrow a page from RIAA's playbook and sue Craigslist?

Re:Subscription = Revenue (1)

Xerolooper (1247258) | more than 5 years ago | (#26236319)

Unless they ignore the problem to long. Then they have the financial backing to out do craigslist. After all they have been publishing classifieds a lot longer. If they can adapt to the new media or medium that people are migrating to. I just hope they don't borrow a page from RIAA's playbook and use those resources to attack their customers for going to other sources for their news. However they seem more sensitive to what that would do.

Circulation continues to fall at about 2.5% year-to-year for dailies and 3.3% for Sunday editions.1 The total reach of newspaper organizations including their online and niche products is growing, but this does not translate readily into sustaining advertising revenue...
What is true all over is that margins have begun to decline quickly and that high fixed costs from the era of print dominance are not sustainable. That puts some papers facing the possibility of going into the red, and sales of extraneous business units or buildings and land have become commonplace.

Newspapers in 2008 [stateofthenewsmedia.org]

Tailor online ads to geograpy = revenue. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26235559)

If they can tailor the ads to geographical locations online, they can continue to generate revenue. The problem many print media have with converting to online media is that they haven't yet figured out a sufficiently good method to convert paper ad revenue sources to online sources. During the transition, they'll also have to deal with the expensive transportation/distribution channel issues. They still have to distribute to a large geographical area, but have reduced delivery. Unfortunately, that means consolidation of small papers.

I used purchase the Sunday papers to get the ad inserts. It's cheaper than driving to each store and picking up their weekly ads. I've been reading news online for several years. It's easier to "clip and save" any online article in my personal archive. Up until last year, I was subscribing to the Sunday edition to get the comics and ads. I've read comics online, but having the paper version makes it easier to take along, and cut out on the spur of the moment to post around my office. Paper ads used to have coupons. Now, many grocery stores have the stupid club cards. They made it "cheaper" for the stupid and lazy shoppers, but those of us that clipped coupons no longer get the fantastic discounts that used to be double or triple their marketted (falsified) club card discounts. That basically took away from the need of having paper ads and drove prices higher for those of us frugal enough to clip coupons. These days, stores have their weekly ads self hosted online. It would stull be nice to occassionally print them out and carry it with me, but flash media sucks and html ads are poorly formatted for print. These days, many more people could just store/view the ad on their web connected cell phone/pda. If the newspapers can figure out how to link all those localized paper ads properly and unobtrusively online, they can continue their model of generating revenue through ads.

Eventually, as the physical print ad model diminishes, the online ad model will increase. The idea of subscription to online services will take a little while to take hold as we dinosaurs of the free online services disappear and the younger generation have gotten used to more online services costing money and actually wanting to pay for it. The older online generation has been used to the internet being free because it had been a research/government network. The transition to the commercial net started during the boom and it will just take a little more time.

Re:Subscription = Revenue (2, Funny)

I_Voter (987579) | more than 5 years ago | (#26235871)

roguetrick wrote:
Classifieds and ads constituted of the majority of newspaper revenue, not subscriptions.
-------
I have heard the same thing. If you still get your newspapers out of a newsbox, that money just pays for the delivery to the box. The distributors get the papers for free, or close to it. I guess they also have bonding and or liability insurance requirements. Also somebody has to pay for the boxes, but, in my experience the boxes are often branded.

I would guess that the Corporate advertisers provide the greatest share of the newspapers income and therefore have the greatest influence over the newspapers content. When I tried to do a informal survey in my neighborhood on this subject, I could never complete the long explanation before they would shout out something like "them media's is crooks," or "they hate decent people."

Finally, one old retired guy, on a bus stop, after overhearing my spiel for a second time got it! He provided me with a great quote." "Now I get it. Your not tellin us them crooks is crooks, because everybody already knows that. Your tellin us how them crooks manage to work together, without slitting each others throats."

I don't think everyone would be bothered by the disappearance of corporate newsprint.

I_Voter

WEB SITE:(under construction)
Political Power in the U.S.
http://tinyurl.com/2sdtvk [tinyurl.com]

Only Correct in a VERY Limited Way (2, Informative)

theshowmecanuck (703852) | more than 5 years ago | (#26236505)

Of course subscription = revenue. BUT revenue does NOT mean Cover All Operating Costs.

I used to work for a software vendor writing and implementing enterprise circulation systems for medium and large newspapers. For the greatest majority of all print media (and I would be surprised if there were more than a handful of exceptions) MOST revenue is derived from advertising. (How much did it cost to buy that one full page Firefox ad in the New York Times a few years ago?) In all cases, the cost of a subscription for a direct to home subscriber (if this is offered by the newspaper), and wholesale revenue to distributors, stores, etc. only covers a part of the distribution costs. Having your own experienced reporters in key areas of the world is very expensive. While most individual newspapers do not have the financial resources field reporters on their own, their publishers who own groups of papers can combine the revenue and pay for this quality reporting.

In the U.S.A. the papers offer what is called 'Total Market Coverage'. They have extensive and verified address lists for whole regions. They know who they deliver to on the main days where advertising goes out (usually Sundays in the U.S.A... could be Saturday or Sunday in Canada). They know the addresses they deliver Sunday papers to with all those adverts. They then also know the households that don't get the adverts. The paper then snail mails the advertisements and fliers to the remaining households that do not subscribe to the paper. The work they do verifying the addresses reduces the mailing costs but still it is expensive. They also have demographic information for the areas to make sure they don't sell ads for Cadillacs to areas that can only afford Kias.

The amount they can charge for advertising is based on numbers collected for the 'Audit Bureau of Circulation' (ABC); the 'Nelson Rating' of newspaper circulation. The most important numbers are ones reflecting 'paid circulation' as it is assumed those who pay for a newspaper actually read it. The higher the ABC number for paid subscriptions, the more a newspaper can charge for advertising... just like T.V.... more people watching means better revenue. When less newspapers are sold, less money is made. Ads may be mailed out to everyone, but you know the people who read the papers are more likely to see the ads and use them (or at least see them before they throw them out!).

In 1999 one of the big publishers (it might have been the one owning USA Today) successfully pushed to get unpaid circulation numbers into the ABC audit figures as well. This was to push up their numbers to be relatively high because they are the papers that show up at every hotel door in America every morning (but are not necessarily read). This gives a sort of bragging right: "look how big our circulation is". Even though many hotel guests just step over the paper on the way out the door. This is also an indication that subscription revenue doesn't really cover much when they can give away the paper for nothing (and in these cases most of the content is light weight news feed work where they don't have their own reporters stationed around the world).

The bottom line is that if papers can't keep their revenue stream up, and it is sliding like a runaway toboggan, they won't be able to function much longer. We won't have reliable and quality reporting any more. Sorry, but I don't believe some guy with no credentials or anyone to vouch for him personally, who writes something on the internet under an assumed blogger name, is trustworthy (but why not? if you read it on the internet it must be true... right?). Yes we can try to sell advertisements on newspaper web sites and charge by how many hits the paper gets as a rating mechanism. But with adblock and mostly unreliable hit counters (unreliable for basing expensive economic models on), it is an extremely steep uphill battle that I for one, am uncertain can be overcome.

Where there is a need, yes there will be someone to sell you something to fill it. However if there aren't many people who are willing to pay for it, the quality won't be there. Instead of gold lined news reporting, we will get cheap plastic reporting that fall apart in our hands. But since news is also information, may won't be informed enough by the shitty news that will start to filter to the masses, and so won't know the difference. Eventually the intended meaning of the OP will become true. The only people who will get good news reporting will be those who can afford to pay for the real cost of reporting through subscriptions... which will be much more expensive since this will have to be the main revenue generator. I.E. we could see subscriptions rise to be be more like tens of dollars for one copy of a newspaper, or hundreds of dollars per year.

An interesting note: It is only in North America (and a very , very limited number of other locals) that newspapers actually sell directly to home subscribers. Everywhere else, all sales from the newspaper go to distributors who take care of all other sales (single copy, home, mail, etc.).

Print news is fading? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26234943)

Perhaps they need to change their toner cartridge if their news is fading.

*rimshot*

Re:Print news is fading? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26235267)

Not only was that "joke" not funny, but your suggestion that it is, in fact, a joke offends my sense of humor. I hope you die in a fire; now THAT would be funny.

captcha: amused

It's simple... (5, Funny)

bacon volcano (1260566) | more than 5 years ago | (#26234945)

People don't like to get newspaper ink on their hands. The internet has just been a very elaborate solution to that problem.

Re:It's simple... (4, Informative)

hierofalcon (1233282) | more than 5 years ago | (#26235137)

I work on computer systems for many hours a day. Giving my fingers, wrists, and eyes a break for just the cost of some newspaper ink is a good deal. The local and national newspapers I read solved the ink issue long ago.

Re:It's simple... (1)

linzeal (197905) | more than 5 years ago | (#26235615)

I just use an ebook reader [amazon.com] to read the most current stories on about 100 different rss feeds I have. A little htmltopdf [htmltopdf.org] and I got more news than I have ever been able to read in a 2 hour daily commute. What is this news "paper" you speak of?

Re:It's simple... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26236265)

Soy ink doesn't get on your hands.

What a sad world (5, Insightful)

phorest (877315) | more than 5 years ago | (#26234957)

The quick and the easy = AP, Reuters
The long and difficult = Local Reportage

When the metro newspapers finally figure out that a lot of folks actually like non-national stories again, they may be able to save themselves. Uniqueness and specialization are the drivers of everything online. Just running AP feeds will NOT bring in quality revenue.

Re:What a sad world (2)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 5 years ago | (#26235103)

Some newspapers are now outsourcing local (glocal) reporting to India. They set up a webcam at city council meetings, etc., and someone writes up the story dirt cheap.

Re:What a sad world (1)

phorest (877315) | more than 5 years ago | (#26235153)

Which actually may be a good thing. That Indian webcam parrot isn't gonna have to explain himself in the hallways, or over drinks at the local watering hole, thus can be legitimately more objective.
A link to the minutes/transcript can and should be included, allowing one who wasn't there to actually review the reporting. Why don't the newspapers use those? They are public information, and adds value to the resource.

Re:What a sad world (4, Insightful)

WindowlessView (703773) | more than 5 years ago | (#26235443)

That Indian webcam parrot isn't gonna have to explain himself in the hallways, or over drinks at the local watering hole, thus can be legitimately more objective.

There is a difference between reporting and stenography.

This system adds no value. Even if people had the time to watch the House and Senate in session all day, it would provide very few and only the most superficial and unimportant facts of a story. Some outsourced entity simply summarizing the activity just gives me a condensed version of the unimportant.

Real reporting involves digging up the story below the surface. C-SPAN can show people the southern Republican senators pious "free market" words on a Detroit bailout but without knowing how deeply their hands are in Toyota's, Honda's, etc., pockets you have just consumed so much hot air.

Re:What a sad world (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26235525)

"Troll" my ass. He makes a legitimate point and the moderator needs to have his points confiscated.

Re:What a sad world (1)

leamanc (961376) | more than 5 years ago | (#26235663)

"Troll" my ass. He makes a legitimate point and the moderator needs to have his points confiscated.

Yes, mods please fix this. As a vet of the newspaper industry (started out as a typesetter, moved up to city beat reporter, then managing editor, then editor/publisher), I can tell you that what the original poster said is 100% on the mark.

Re:What a sad world (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26235963)

Many of the people that voted against the auto bailout also voted against the bank bailout. Some of them even voted against the first Chrysler bailout, at a time when there were no autos manufactured in the South. Meanwhile, many of the people who voted for the auto bailout are on the receiving end of union cash. Why didn't your "reporting" mention those facts?

Re:What a sad world (1)

WindowlessView (703773) | more than 5 years ago | (#26236107)

Why didn't your "reporting" mention those facts?

I believe you are making my point.

The question at hand is not about the auto or financial bailouts. The example proffered could have been any issue. The point being debated is whether simply publishing the minutes of a public meeting constitutes reportage. Since none of the things you mention would have been in those minutes you seem to agree that they are inadequate on their own.

Re:What a sad world (1)

CrazedWalrus (901897) | more than 5 years ago | (#26236385)

They are inadequate on their own. Unfortunately, many "reporters" have gone outside of their charge of "getting to the meat of the issue" and have become propagandists and king makers. When that happened, their value was lost and the simple transcript is of greater informational value.

Real reporters dig in no matter who is the center of the controversy - not just when it's someone they don't agree with. They don't ask political figures loaded questions and insult them, they chase the truth. They don't push agendas, they tell you what all of the agendas are and tell you the implications with an even hand.

Modern reporters are closer to tabloid writers and publicists, and their value is on par with those professions.

Re:What a sad world (4, Interesting)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 5 years ago | (#26235127)

The quick and the easy = AP, Reuters

The long and difficult = Local Reportage

When the metro newspapers finally figure out that a lot of folks actually like non-national stories again, they may be able to save themselves. Uniqueness and specialization are the drivers of everything online. Just running AP feeds will NOT bring in quality revenue.

If that's true, then do you have a theory for why newspapers, which have been racking their brains non-stop regarding this crisis, haven't latched onto the local-coverage solution?

If you're theory is correct, then I would expect a few newspapers to have tried it, made lots more money (or lost much less) then the others, and then every other paper would flock to the local-coverage approach.

Even if poor local coverage is an area where newspapers can get better, it may not be enough. Papers are also hurting baldy from the loss of classified ads, real estate listings, and car ads, all of which are migrating to the web (i.e., craigslist). The truth is, the web is just a better advertising medium than printed paper for most/all of those items and services. And newspapers really need ad revenue as well as subscription revenue.

Re:What a sad world (1)

phorest (877315) | more than 5 years ago | (#26235341)

If that's true, then do you have a theory for why newspapers, which have been racking their brains non-stop regarding this crisis, haven't latched onto the local-coverage solution?

Yes. Where is the value in reporting? Maybe they should be aggregating local stuff too. My recommendation to include linked transcripts would be a start. Start thinking like an information repository and less like a tabloid. What the hell does BradGelina have to do with Memphis, Tennesee anyway?
The filtering they do now means that there is less, not more. Give us raw, give us unpolished. Let's see those notes the reporters used and while you're at it.

A case in point: A local doctor was falsely accused of drug dealing and distribution. The local persecutor went after him in a big way, notifying the newspapers and local news stations of the impending raid. They made a real show of it, a whole week of sensational coverage. After all, the persecutor was gonna be running again and they need access. They charged his wife with accessory charges too. He fought back hard and they would not tell his side of the story. They took all his stuff (cars, motorcycles, valuables, etc...) even though he and his wife's family had money and legitimately purchased all those items.
Eventually they wore him down so much he jumped off a building after his trial was almost complete. Afterwards, his attorney polled the jury and they said the persecutor had no case and they were not looking to convict him of anything. Sad yes, but his wife's trial was no longer an issue to them, and just try finding the story where she took a plea-deal to greatly reduced charges and simple probation for an unrelated process-crime. Sometimes the follow-ups can be just as important as the initial story.

Papers are also hurting baldy from the loss of classified ads, real estate listings, and car ads, all of which are migrating to the web (i.e., craigslist).

Maybe they need to affiliate with craigslist instead.

Re:What a sad world (1)

mordred99 (895063) | more than 5 years ago | (#26235793)

The only reason I read the local paper is to get the Fry's ad :). My parents live with my and get the daily paper. My mother does the suduku, crossword, and all the other games in it. My dad reads the articles. I could not agree with you more. They need to spend more on the local stuff. That is why they get a paper. The national news they get from the 11:00 news.

Re:What a sad world (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26236117)

your assumption that every good idea has already been tried is patently false. some ideas simply can't be tried because of the current market climate. most of the mainstream media in the U.S.--including print journalism--has been heavily consolidated by a handful of media conglomerates.

this concentration of ownership is part of the reason why the web is a better news source than traditional print media. but it's also why the current print media crisis can't be solved by simply switching to local coverage. Rupert Murdoch (News International) already owns as many local media sources as current media ownership restrictions allow (the industry lobbied for further deregulation of ownership rules in 2005 but was rejected). and they can't just turn the Times into a local community paper.

AP and UPI get much of their news from subscribers (5, Interesting)

swschrad (312009) | more than 5 years ago | (#26235129)

both services have in their contract a "republish" clause on all of their clients' content. with The AP, it means a little more, as The AP is a cooperative owned by the newspapers and broadcasters itself (broadcasters are a subclass of ownership.)

any local stories you have on AP and UPI come from local news outlets, unless there is major statewide interest. the wire services have already been stripped down heavily, and fee cuts The AP will be making for the 2009 and 2010 years, as reported, mean the service has to cut its size AGAIN, by about a third.

and since 90-plus percent of their income comes from local outfits' budgets, you can see the fallacy of the argument by phorest.

As the locals go bust, the whole infrastructure is going to go down with them.

Re:AP and UPI get much of their news from subscrib (1)

gregbot9000 (1293772) | more than 5 years ago | (#26236209)

Locals aren't going to go bust. They are still solvent, and will always be because the websites that will replace their print editions are the ones run by the paper. I live in a City of 300k and an Alexa comparison shows the local papers website getting more page views than /. and to a very area specific populace.

I'd like one of these guys to define what "Print" journalism is. I work in a news room and I'm not exactly sure. Does it mean the dead tree outlet? or the AP style news story? because in our room we consider stories on our website "print." The people who think they are going to be replaced by bloggers on a soap box and news agregators are probably the same people who thought it was worth investing billions into Pets.com.

I liked the graph he used in his article: start at the spike after 9-11 and show how it declined.

So what he's saying is that the news companies are switching over from selling their car thats made out of paper to a car thats made out of electrons, but that it's of serious import that the paper cars are declining?

Re:What a sad world (1, Interesting)

garcia (6573) | more than 5 years ago | (#26235145)

When the metro newspapers finally figure out that a lot of folks actually like non-national stories again, they may be able to save themselves. Uniqueness and specialization are the drivers of everything online.

My website is basically an aggregation of local news sources from all over our area and encompasses some 15 different local news sources. These newspapers have relatively small distribution areas and a lot of fluff. Very little of what comes out of them are "news" by any means and while they may break their news stories before the metro newspapers do, they are usually limited in scope and depth. Just because you have a paragraph blurb about some local happening doesn't mean it was worth beating the Pioneer Press or Star Tribune to the punch.

While I don't have print readership (one of the local papers sends out a weekly copy free of charge to your doorstep) I do have more regular reader than these papers do and I more or less just print blurbs of what they already covered and give my own opinion. While I have plans to do a little more than that, it really gives people something other than the fluffy horseshit that these papers provide (they are usually the "official newspaper of foo city" which is apparently mandated for public notices and thus their stories are fucking bullshit and always pro-city). People seem to want that and while I wish I wasn't leeching I just don't have the budget, time or staff (I'm one person doing this in 1.5 hours a day) to "report" on stuff.

Traditional media needs to get around to doing more editorial that's obviously non-biased. People don't give a shit if the official newspaper of the local school district believes that the renewal of the superintendent's contract was a great idea [lazylightning.org] , in fact, most people disagree with the decision but here in Minnesota are too "nice" to admit it publicly.

Some of these local papers are trying to reach out the modern age with RSS support but refuse to move to full feeds because it would impact their measly ad revenue (of which anyone with an RSS reader probably isn't going to click anyway). I guarantee that I make 10x what they do in their online ads but trying to explain that to them is like speaking to the wall. These people have no idea how to function in the modern news world and I doubt that they ever will.

It's truly unfortunate because, as you said, they are doing a lot of legwork (even if it's more or less pointless) to get a blurb and beat out the bigger outlets to the punch.

Re:What a sad world (1)

gregbot9000 (1293772) | more than 5 years ago | (#26236617)

These people have no idea how to function in the modern news world and I doubt that they ever will.

Sounds like you don't either, since your whole business model boils down to stealing their "outdated" work.

I do have more regular reader than these papers do and I more or less just print blurbs of what they already covered and give my own opinion.

So you basically take the copyrighted work of others, add some marginal utility and then sell it for a profit, And then call the very people you are dependent on ignorant. Why? for not sending you a DMCA take down notice?

You strike to the very core of the ignorance of the whole web "bubble" and the other bubbles. Your profits aren't based entirely on innovation, you have not greatly increased the efficiency of the market. You have found a more efficient means of selling the work of others and pocketing the profits from their labor. How long do you think your business model will last? Either the papers will go under or they will figure out how to get their cut from you, either way you'd be hard hit. Sounds to me the only reason you make money is time based, because it's new. A high school kid can do what you do these days.

As a side, I have to say that I work for a very small Local paper, and they are doing just fine with ads and no classifieds. There has been a serious shift in their focus from the "paper" to the web, and it is foreseeable that they will drop the dead tree route in the future. I also work freelance for a web based business journal that is doing great.

My main concern is with working and the market, not how it's distributed. I see nothing but growth as newspapers become news agencies and figure out an efficient way to get their cut funneling news stories to bloggers. I think the future will be in local news co-ops that can cheaply funnel local news to the web and people's homes.

Maybe you should put an add on Craigslist for some stringers to get your input or experiment with co-op profit sharing. It's not really that difficult and then you would actually be benefiting society and generating content instead of leaching off of others.

Re:What a sad world (3, Insightful)

rtechie (244489) | more than 5 years ago | (#26236747)

My website is basically an aggregation of local news sources from all over our area and encompasses some 15 different local news sources.

So you're a thief.

People seem to want that and while I wish I wasn't leeching I just don't have the budget, time or staff (I'm one person doing this in 1.5 hours a day) to "report" on stuff.

Exactly, you're a thief. The real work that newspapers do is REPORTING, actually calling or talking to principals in question, doing investigations etc. EVERYTHING else the newspaper does from classifieds to comics to sports scores is intended to support those tasks. If you're reprinting the actual work (the reporting) without reprinting the advertising and additional bullshit YOU ARE STEALING and YOU, and you personally, are going to put them out of business.

I'm looking at the front page of your site right now and it's about beer and stories ripped out of the local police blotter, hardly incisive journalism there. OTHO, when you venture into original reporting (as you did with the superintendent story) the site becomes non-crappy.

Is any of this sinking in? If you want to run a news site you have to do your own reporting, PERIOD, otherwise you're at least as bad as the Pirate Bay or similar sites. If you don't have time to do much original reporting, ONLY do the original reporting. There is no rule saying that your site has to be updated every day. If you want to drive more traffic to your site see if you can get your stories LINKED on other local news sources.

Personally, I would STOP and join a larger news organization like IndyMedia. If there's no IndyMedia site in your area you can start one.

Re:What a sad world (1)

Simulant (528590) | more than 5 years ago | (#26235249)

I prefer the national/international coverage but, you're right about AP & Reuters.

When every local paper (in any US city) I pick up has the same AP & Reuters stories as every other paper/website, there's really not much point.

    There are still a few national papers worth reading but they're pricey at the news stand on a daily basis.

  Pricier yet is The Economist, which, IMO, is the best source of international news available in the printed English language.... worth every penny though.

      The internet for local/daily news and The Economist for a weekly/in depth print fix is where I'm at.

      I do miss my daily lunch time ritual with a quality newspaper though.

Re:What a sad world (1)

capaslash (941889) | more than 5 years ago | (#26236227)

Ah, local reportage *is* the AP. The Associated Press's news comes from local papers who put their stories on the AP wire, then all other AP member newspapers/TV stations across the world can get a copy of that story and put it on their own newspaper/website/TV station. Srsly. Get rid of all the local papers and guess what? You just killed 90% of AP news.

It's the problem (3, Interesting)

NorbrookC (674063) | more than 5 years ago | (#26234961)

How do you make what you do pay when the distribution medium changes? While we like to celebrate the Internet for it's ability to disseminate information, the fact is that gathering that information has to be done by someone. Bloggers have done quite a bit in terms of gathering news, or breaking it, but the problem is that most of it is scattered, and tends to be narrowly focused. The other stories, coverage, and news is still done by the traditional media. It's going to be that way for quite a while - we need people who have expertise (and get paid for that) to dig into the complex stories, we need organizations who are going to aggregate it and check it. The actual functions of newspapers and television reporting are needed, but the distribution channel changed. The question for them is can they hold on long enough to make what they do pay in a new medium.

Re:It's the problem (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26235011)

The problem isn't just limited to the news, either. I expect for some /.ers to offer the same solutions they do for other copyright holders whose income is being lowered by the internet's near-zero cost of distribution - the journalists should tour more, sell more merchandise, or work under a patronage model.

Re:It's the problem (1)

Xerolooper (1247258) | more than 5 years ago | (#26235237)

The problem isn't just limited to the news, either. I expect for some /.ers to offer the same solutions they do for other copyright holders whose income is being lowered by the internet's near-zero cost of distribution - the journalists should tour more, sell more merchandise, or work under a patronage model.

Oops, you got modded down. Well I thought it was funny. Your representation of what people think we think was pretty accurate. But it lacks a real understanding of what has changed.
The real solution is to embrace the new way things are distributed and use it to your advantage rather then fighting it to your own detriment.
The Internets is a tool that can be used for both good and evil. Like most tools it has no morals itself it just makes things easier.

Re:It's the problem (1)

sfjoe (470510) | more than 5 years ago | (#26235193)

I don't need nearly the level of coverage on the latest missing, pretty, white girl. If more news outlets go under maybe the rest will not have the resources to cover touching, but unimportant issues.

Re:It's the problem (1)

jamesborr (876769) | more than 5 years ago | (#26235219)

But the solution is so obvious. Just have the government step in with tax dollars to fund these icons of journalism. After all, if the plebeians are too cheap to fund what is so obviously beneficial to the control of them, then the state must step in and make them contribute to that apparatus.

top flight journalists? (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26234967)

That's the seed, I guess. However, the story is in the blogosphere (ugh) refuting their biased (and wrong) stories with facts.

Last week, the New York Times published a front page, in depth, story blaming the mortgage meltdown on ... (drumroll!) George Bush. Now, 10 minutes of research would reveal it was due to 1) the Bush admihistration 2) the Clinton administration 3) Congress 4) The federal reserve 5) Mortgage/banking companies 6) deadbeat lendees. Yet the New York Times ignores 5 of the parties and calls it news.

Good riddance.

Re:top flight journalists? (1)

WindowlessView (703773) | more than 5 years ago | (#26235611)

When you read the NY Times once a month maybe you could get that impression. A simple search would show that they have covered the other 5 aspects numerous times.

Re:top flight journalists? (1)

shizzle (686334) | more than 5 years ago | (#26235949)

That's still no excuse for a single story to fail so blatantly in providing adequate context.

And this isn't the only instance of one-sided reporting; the contrast of the pieces that happily repeated rumors and insinuations regarding McCain's relationship with a former lobbyist [nytimes.com] and McCain's wife's past [nytimes.com] with their refusal to pursue or even acknowledge John Edwards's affair until he did [nytimes.com] because they don't want to dignify rumors and insinuations is pretty telling in my opinion.

More recently, there's also their refusal to acknowledge any potential conflict of interest [gawker.com] in their reporting on Caroline Kennedy's attempts to get herself appointed to the Senate.

I'm not saying that the NY Times (or old media in general) doesn't have a useful role to play, but if you think it's the role of impartial presenter of facts, that horse has already left the barn...

Re:top flight journalists? (1)

WindowlessView (703773) | more than 5 years ago | (#26236565)

That's still no excuse for a single story to fail so blatantly in providing adequate context.

What context? If I read an article on how to use SSL sockets it's not necessary to explain the entire design of an IP stack in the same article. It's fair for the author to focus on a narrow item and assume the reader will pursue further knowledge on his own if required. I didn't read the Times article in question but why is it necessary to regurgitate every factor involved in the mortgage crisis (including the proverbial butterfly in Japan flapping its wings) just to explain GWB's role in the mess?

I'm not saying that the NY Times (or old media in general) doesn't have a useful role to play, but if you think it's the role of impartial presenter of facts, that horse has already left the barn...

I am not a Time's worshiper by any means but why is that people insist on measuring it against some Platonic ideal? It is a fine publication to which on any given day there aren't 5 papers in the country putting out comparably complete coverage. It is isn't perfect. Agreed. Who is? But at least they endeavor to put out a quality product every day.

Re:top flight journalists? (2, Insightful)

NorbrookC (674063) | more than 5 years ago | (#26235783)

The problem with what you just said is that it's reactive, not creative. Yes, the traditional media misses the boat, or gets its facts wrong at times. It's just as bad - if not worse - in the blogosphere. I've seen any number of blogs detailing how 9-11 was a conspiracy, "break" a story that turns out to be totally wrong, and drop the ball on a number of stories. The idea that blogs are going to be able to supplant the functions of the professional journalists isn't realistic.

Physical (1)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 5 years ago | (#26234987)

According to research quoted, while the physical publications are quickly becoming a thing of the past...

Not to be pedantic, but rendered webpages containing news are also physical publications.

Re:Physical (1)

AviLazar (741826) | more than 5 years ago | (#26235051)

Not to be pedantic, but rendered webpages containing news are also physical publications

But you do it so well. I am sure we all realize, including you, that he meant the difference between hard copy vs soft/e copy.

Re:Physical (1)

djupedal (584558) | more than 5 years ago | (#26235273)

> Not to be pedantic, but rendered webpages containing news are also physical publications.

Let me know when you figure a way to line your bird cage and wrap fish with a rendered page, thanks.

Re:Physical (1)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 5 years ago | (#26235351)

> Not to be pedantic, but rendered webpages containing news are also physical publications.

Let me know when you figure a way to line your bird cage and wrap fish with a rendered page, thanks.

Believe me, after visiting foxnews.com, I have top men working on it.

Indianna Jones: who?

Top. Men.

Re:Physical (1)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 5 years ago | (#26235369)

> Not to be pedantic, but rendered webpages containing news are also physical publications.

Let me know when you figure a way to line your bird cage and wrap fish with a rendered page, thanks.

Or, if you wanted a real answer, here it is. If a rendered webpage isn't physical, then how does it make an impression on your retinas?

the revenue (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 5 years ago | (#26234999)

Easy solution is for media giants to pair up with ISPs and charge for ALL content. ( and shutoff/sue anyone that tries to get around it )

Not that i want to them to of course.

Re:the revenue (1)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 5 years ago | (#26235367)

ISPs used to provide news as a bundled service. It was called usenet. They got bored policing it.

"Top-flight journalists??" (2, Insightful)

Notquitecajun (1073646) | more than 5 years ago | (#26235017)

"we can only hope that the original news reporting by top-flight journalists is not a major casualty"

Is this the Onion or something? The above statement is a joke, right? Maybe part of the reason print media is taking such a downturn is both the internet AND the inability of many of the "top-flight journalists" to do anything that remotely resembles objective reporting. The internet is too accessible, cheap, and more or less admits its bias. Journalists - particularly those at the top - seem to believe that their training and expertise and degrees somehow give them license to disguise their personal beliefs and views as objective reporting.

Or, as Sledge Hammer said when asked, "Don't you read the newspapers?"

"No ma'am, I prefer to get my information from reliable sources, like rumor, and small children."

Re:"Top-flight journalists??" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26235283)

No this is the onion Bias [theonion.com]
I think even you can understand that this statement is an attempt to legitimize the issue. Journalist will take the story more seriously if it includes a little flattery. The real question you should be asking Dan Farber is how does it feel to be a whore?

Re:"Top-flight journalists??" (1)

jcr (53032) | more than 5 years ago | (#26235377)

the inability of many of the "top-flight journalists" to do anything that remotely resembles objective reporting.

The pretense that reporters could be unbiased was a relatively short-lived phenomenon, confined mostly to the USA. Up until the middle of the last century, any political movement had its own newspaper, and you knew where they were coming from. That's pretty much been the case all along in Europe; you know which papers are left- or right-wing, and if you want to be well informed you read them both.

-jcr

Re:"Top-flight journalists??" (2, Interesting)

MrSteveSD (801820) | more than 5 years ago | (#26235513)

[quote]Journalists - particularly those at the top - seem to believe that their training and expertise and degrees somehow give them license to disguise their personal beliefs and views as objective reporting.[/quote

It's worse than that. Whereas you or I writing about some topic will have our own opinions, the Mass media have so-called gatekeepers to make sure stories conform to the company's (and lets not forget they are companies) "guidelines". In other words with the mainstream media you have mass organised bias. For example, a story condemning Russian troops as brutal would go through BBC gatekeeping but a similar one condemning troops of an ally (e.g. the US) would not. Such a story would be marked as biased or even "anti-American" (sadly quite a buzzword that BBC reporters like to throw around these days).

The whole of the media is really biased in favour of power. Journalist Pepe Escobar coined the term "Embedded With Power" to describe this. You don't get to be a reporter at a major outlet by rocking the boat to much. The system filters out troublesome journalists who are really critical of those in power.

If you're interesting in the systematic bias and other problems with the mass media, it's well worth watching the documentary "Manufacturing Consent". http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sirvWxLHNo8&feature=related [youtube.com]

Re:"Top-flight journalists??" (1)

Dun Malg (230075) | more than 5 years ago | (#26235969)

Maybe part of the reason print media is taking such a downturn is... the inability of many of the "top-flight journalists" to do anything that remotely resembles objective reporting.

Nah, the real problem is the pretense of objectivity. Historically, the press has never been particularly objective. No, I think what irritates people and drives them away is the thin veneer of ersatz objectivity overlaying screamingly obvious bias.

Re:"Top-flight journalists??" (3, Insightful)

earlymon (1116185) | more than 5 years ago | (#26236177)

It's not just objectivity - it should also be about insight, intelligence and analysis. My personal citation - Edward R. Murrow. (The irony that he was a broadcast journalist is not lost on me.)

Got a new political or skulduggery scandal? Add a "-gate" suffix to it. Great. No intelligence there whatsoever. Woodward and Bernstein WORKED for their insights. Now I see/read/hear yearly about a "-gate" with no effort by the reporter, yet - what is it? - in their minds they're the new W&B?

Dan Rather became popular - IMO - or for me at least - because he was the young reporter always calling Nixon to task during Nixon's press conferences - and getting it right.

Later, in the 1991 Gulf War, Rather said, and I quote from memory - "the F-15E - the E is for Eagle - blah blah blah." Ludicrous. I would want to fault Rather's intelligence, but it may have been the whole broadcast journalistic system that led to someone feeding him that nonsense into his earpiece for him to parrot.

I've talked to reporters, socially - a LOT of them. They have one thing in common and that's a general "I'm going to trick you" or "I'm smarter than you" attitude. That's my experience anyways. Unlike their better predecessors, they aren't smarter and they don't think things through.

Short attention span thinking does not lead to incisive reporting.

Re:"Top-flight journalists??" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26236207)

I just stumbled on this and I'm too lazy to create an account. Nonetheless, I completely agree that losing today's crop of print journalists will be no great loss to society. 95% of them are self-professed liberals, and they all went into journalism "to change the world." (Gag!)

In fact, one could make a case that today's biased journalism actually abdicates the First Amendment of the Constitution by self-abridging the freedom of press.

Step back and imagine if Governor Palin were doing what Governor Blagojevich is doing. Wow! Imagine the difference in the print media coverage!

Why is this still a topic of discussion? (0)

CPE1704TKS (995414) | more than 5 years ago | (#26235039)

Why are we still talking about newspapers as we're still amazed at their losses, or as if there's a hope of recovery? AIDS patients and cancer victims have a better chance of survival than newspapers. Stick a fork in 'em, they're done. I haven't read a newspaper in years. Mainly, I get them when I stay in hotels and it's left for me in the morning in front of the room. But I've already read most of the articles they are reporting on because it was on the Internet the night before. If not, it will be available on their web site for free. Newspapers are irrelevant, and people who think there's any glimmer of hope is like an astronaut flying towards a black hole, and hoping that instead of being crushed to death he will instead of transported into another dimension. It's inevitable, newspapers are dead. So is the 6pm news hour. People my age and younger do not get their news from newspapers or the tv anymore. The only thing propping up viewership are older people, and as they die off, viewership will plummet. They will most likely not switch over to using the net, and that's fine, but they also don't benefit advertisers as much, so pretty soon, the entire industry will be dead.

Re:Why is this still a topic of discussion? (1)

Xerolooper (1247258) | more than 5 years ago | (#26235301)

You insensitive clod I get my news from TV haven't you heard of the Colbert Report [colbertnation.com]

Re:Why is this still a topic of discussion? (1)

cbuhler (887833) | more than 5 years ago | (#26235685)

I mostly agree with this, except, some of us older people have already given up on print news and TV. Computer illiterate wife still lives for TV and a dozen magazine subscriptions, but I get all the news I want from the net. I do still subscribe to Scientific American because I still need something to read when I'm in the "library" first thing every morning. That's going to keep a few of the better publications going, but the rest are probably rather short lived.

Painful evolution (3, Insightful)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 5 years ago | (#26235061)

This issue scares me. We need more, not fewer, journalists to watch over our government and businesses.

Hopefully, people will eventually realize that one way or another, we need to pay for reporting to get done.

My fear is that we won't realize that, and figure out a way to pay for it, until too late. That is, until legions of seasoned investigative journalists have left for greener pastures, and many good journalism schools have been shut down.

Re:Painful evolution (1)

fictionpuss (1136565) | more than 5 years ago | (#26235183)

It's a non-issue. Paper as a news medium is simply becoming a non-sustainable business model - that's all. There are whole load of emotional/nostalgic factors at play though - newspapers have been around for all living human memory - it's weird to think that they'll soon be consigned to history.

Web advertising has been undervalued for a long time. In terms of reaching a target demographic, it beats print and broadcast tv hands down. Once it undergoes an industry re-evaluation then it'll become more viable for quality online publications to staff seasoned teams of journalists. But the longer we dump cash into print media, the more painful the transition will be.

Re:Painful evolution (1)

Rahga (13479) | more than 5 years ago | (#26235393)

I don't think paper as a news medium is non-sustainable... I just think that Newspapers as a 12-section behemoth advertising delivery vehicle is non-sustainable. The current amount of bloat is immense, and exists simply because the current model is to sell as many ads to as many clients as possible. This means a ton of cheap ads that take up a large percentage of space, and they won't cut down content until advertisers pull out completely.

Limiting it to fewer sections to at higher cost would probably keep more papers in business long term, but would cut a ton of the potential to make money if and when business gets good again. Like it or not, most newspapers would rather take that bet then downsize to a sure thing.... Otherwise, they open themselves up competition. Remember when markets had multiple newspapers competing with each other, "Extras!" on street corners? Neither do I, but that time did exist once, and probably will again.

But think of all we miss! (5, Funny)

David Gerard (12369) | more than 5 years ago | (#26235063)

PHONING IT IN, mid-afternoon - An ambulance service has praised a five-year-old boy after he successfully called 999 to report that his mother had collapsed and was unconscious in their home.

In other news [today.com] , a pet wears a seatbelt, alleged scientists have yet again discovered a formula for the perfect attractive woman (it apparently involves being short with long legs and large breasts), there's a piece on ancient Roman bikinis, how to make the perfect cup of tea and lots of pictures of sunburnt, drug-addled women in bikini tops at a summer rock festival, including ones that aren't Amy Winehouse.

Crop circles have fallen out of favour in recent years. How the A-levels these days aren't as good as proper A-levels were back in my day, you mark my words, remains a perennial favourite. With pictures of students in bikini tops.

"We're holding out hope of the first skateboarding duck of the season," said one of the few reporters still left in the office. "In the meantime, I'm researching a story about a long, short-breasted, large-legged sunburnt woman in a Roman bikini top making me the perfect cup of tea."

Remember: it's the Watchdog of the Press that protects our democracy.

In the good old days... (4, Interesting)

Anita Coney (648748) | more than 5 years ago | (#26235091)

Way before TV, radio, film and even the internet, the most efficient means to distribute news was for each population area to have its own publisher of news print. Cities, towns, burroughs etc. all had their own news papers. Larger areas, such as states, did not. It was not efficient to print a newspaper and deliver it through out the entire state all on the same day.

However, things changed and soon publishers adapted and you could buy the New York times throughout the State and throughout the country. Theater owners started showing news reels, radio started giving out news, and so did TV stations. But newspapers survived all of those because newspapers offered more stories with more depth.

However, the internet has changed the efficiencies for news distribution. Nowadays the internet offers more depth and is updated immediately, plus it offers video and audio, and yet another plus, it offers up to the minute commentary. It's simply asinine for each city/population center to physically publish news on paper and then deliver those papers via gas burning trucks to individuals, to read news articles that were published the day before on the net.

The answer is not to shut down news on the net, it's to accept the fate that newsprint is dead.

Re:In the good old days... (1)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | more than 5 years ago | (#26235131)

The only problem is that "news on the net" comes from the people who write the newsprint articles. Once newspapers go away, the few real journalists that are still working will dwindle to zero and reliable news will be a thing of the past.

Re:In the good old days... (2, Interesting)

24-bit Voxel (672674) | more than 5 years ago | (#26235205)

I think in minds of many, reliable newpaper reporting is already dead. Bush and co. should have been absolutely battered bloody over the torture scandals, but largely they escaped it unscathed. Once the news is no longer a tool of the people, and instead a tool of the government, it loses its broad appeal to the masses. They will never get it back. It's over.

Re:In the good old days... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26235445)

u really think because newpaper was made of.. paper people weren't already corrupted?
media control and education control were 2 basic control tools of the gvts for decades and decades and decades and..

Re:In the good old days... (1)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | more than 5 years ago | (#26235545)

Your ignorance and bias does not make you the voice of "the masses".

Re:In the good old days... (1)

grassy_knoll (412409) | more than 5 years ago | (#26235561)

Doesn't that say more about readers than the news media?

I mean, I know what you're referring to when you say "torture scandals" from the media.

Isn't it more the case that most people just don't care? That, to the average viewer / reader, celebrity gossip and missing white girls are more important?

Re:In the good old days... (1)

Xerolooper (1247258) | more than 5 years ago | (#26235485)

The only problem is that you are not looking at the big picture. Journalist don't become journalist because of some altruistic drive to report unbiased news for newspapers. The become journalist because they want to get published. The same people will find another way to satisfy that urge. Some people just have a hard time adjusting to the new way.

Re:In the good old days... (1)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | more than 5 years ago | (#26235533)

If one is not unbiased, then one is not a journalist, one is merely a writer.

Re:In the good old days... (1)

Xerolooper (1247258) | more than 5 years ago | (#26236239)

If only they(meaning those with a job title of journalist) would follow that higher standard then half the complaints about them would go away.
I hope we can rediscover true journalism as you describe it. What form it will take is the question. We can only hope that fair and unbiased are givens.

Re:In the good old days... (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 5 years ago | (#26235383)

However, the internet has changed the efficiencies for news distribution.

While everything you said may be true, the fact is that the internet changed the efficiencies for advertising.

The distribution model is entirely besides the point if there are no advertisers to keep the whole operation afloat.

Re:In the good old days... (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 5 years ago | (#26235469)

While everything you said may be true, the fact is that the internet changed the efficiencies for advertising.

It doesn't help that one of the biggest culprits is someone that lists classified ads for panhandling money i.e. he just does it for donations.

Re:In the good old days... (1)

iomud (241310) | more than 5 years ago | (#26235687)

Now that many papers have an online presence they should have more, not less advertisers available. The customer/reader is accessing them via the internet the customer/reader can purchase goods via the internet as well. In the physical paper it makes less sense for a product sold online to be advertised, so that market is probably nil.

My local paper does advertise brick and mortar local shops on their website, meanwhile Amazon.com reports its best-ever holiday season [bloomberg.com] . I see zero, non-local advertisements on my local papers website.

Re:In the good old days... (1)

Seraphim_72 (622457) | more than 5 years ago | (#26236169)

Nowadays the internet offers more depth

Which one are you hooked up to? Mine is as shallow as pond scum.

Sera

maybe it is the poor job they do (1)

sheepofblue (1106227) | more than 5 years ago | (#26235139)

I enjoy reading a newspaper but the news has gotten slanted so far left that it just makes me mad.

We get to little local government and to many puppy in a tree stories. We get to much Hollyweird freak is doing X stories and not enough international news.

Take the recent election in the US, McCain was the golden boy until nominated then they piled on with the negatives. Obama got very little coverage on his past voting record. Now I have a preference (none of the above this year) but I still want to KNOW the facts and the news has gone further and further from that.

Then add in that they want to avoid bias so they habitually quote terrorists as fact and the US (or other government) as an addendum.

So they are failing at least one customer for that reason.

Re:maybe it is the poor job they do (1)

FlyingHuck (1135427) | more than 5 years ago | (#26235227)

Absolutely. Great post... I wonder why it only received a score of 1. Oh, that's right, the scoring Gods of /. have about the same amount of objectivity as the Gray Lady.

Newspaper is history (1)

FLoWCTRL (20442) | more than 5 years ago | (#26235149)

The newspaper is dead. Long live the newspaper!

an online alternative (2, Interesting)

swell (195815) | more than 5 years ago | (#26235151)

In my city, like many others, the major newspaper has made serious cuts to the news department and some top reporters were let go. Some of those reporters have moved to an online only newspaper which has become an excellent source of news.

Our newspaper, again like many others, has always had an agenda and an involvement in local politics that prevented honest reporting on certain topics. The reporters that moved now have more freedom to tell it like it is.

For the first time ordinary citizens have the opportunity to learn what goes on behind the scenes in local government. We learn about the conflicts between developers and the need for city services- water, sewer, traffic management, schools, etc. We also learn about the conflicts between officials who would cut labor costs and union workers who need a living wage. We are finally aware of personal conflicts between government officials and others who hold our future in their hands.

I have no idea how these reporters get paid. The new online newspaper is a non-profit, dependent upon donations. I hope it is getting the support that has been earned, but I suspect this may not be a sustainable model.

Re:an online alternative (1)

Xerolooper (1247258) | more than 5 years ago | (#26235509)

Non profit != not getting paid to work. They are still getting ad revenue and hopefully offer some subscription services above and beyond free registration. Non profit just helps around tax time as well as allowing bigger donations. ~looks thoughtfully into distance... I wonder if special interest will take advantage of this.

Seems natural... (1)

geemon (513231) | more than 5 years ago | (#26235161)

Not surprising really. The old media print newspapers have the staff and research people to go out and do real reporting/news gathering in the real world. Online sources pick up this basis of real news reporting and become a distribution and commentary outlet for the work done by the traditional reporters.

Emperor Murdoch is still making huge profit... (3, Interesting)

FlyingHuck (1135427) | more than 5 years ago | (#26235185)

When I was a young lance corporal, fresh out of MOS training and a newly minted crewman on the KC-130 in Iraq, I had my fair share of ferrying politicians, reporters, and high-ranking officers into Al Asad and Baghdad. This is purely anecdotal, but Fox reporters never carried an air of arrogance about them that I, my aircraft, and my fellow crew, where there for the reporters' benefit. I never had to remind a Fox reporter that yes, they did indeed have to strap in, because a tactical low level flight involves some serious cranking and banking, and if g-forces didn't toss them into a sharp object and kill them, I would. These are the kinds of things that those of us who served with reporters remembers. As a Marine, we also remember other news agencies immediately picking up the story of Haditha, and using Abscam Jack Murtha's statements that it was an open and shut case of unlawful murder on civilian targets-- before an NCIS investigation was even underway. We also remember the initial invasion, when all news outlets were attached to ground forces pushing up from Kuwait, and the Safwan Hill offensive displayed one of the most awesome displays of military firepower since the Second World War, and the reporters gained ratings, awards, etc. They also couldn't really spew much bs at the time, because their safety depended on staying with the extremely valiant, confident, and capable forces, and even the looniest of the bunch couldn't spin much.

By the time Fallujah came around, many media reports would make you believe that the Marines (that were effectively squashing all enemy resistance) had met their match against hardened "militants" (I love that catchphrase), and it was doubtful they would be successful. For those of us who have dug a little deeper into military history and engagements, we realize that Fallujah turned out to literally rewrite the book on the effectiveness of operations in an urban environment amongst an enemy established for ambush... the last historical example being Hue city in Vietnam. While we were out there doing our jobs with what we had available at the time (as the military has always done, in every war of our nation), that wonderful, benevolent, caring media reporting on us and using us for their purposes, could only talk about how thin we were stretched, how poor our supplies were, how ridiculous it was to expect us to do our missions with the numbers and supplies we had. When the political pressure mounted and twenty thousand additional pairs of boots were sent to help, along with massive increases in logistics, it was immediately spun as "putting more troops in harm's way" or "the war's not working so we're throwing more resources down a hole." In reality, having extra boots on the ground and rifles pointed downrange meant greater safety for everyone. Units could take more time off between combat patrols because there were more units to cycle in. Assaults could be handled with more fire support and faster evacuations for the wounded. As much as the mainstream media hates to admit it, "the surge" worked.

Lastly, I want to talk about the thing I hate talking about the most: friends who never made it home. While the moonbats at CBS, ABC, and (MS)NBC typically would have a segment at the end of their evening broadcasts showing the photographs of those killed in Iraq, with little other explanation than to senselessly display the fallen on television to stir animosity toward the war effort, Fox sends real men like LtCol North into the field to report on our units on the ground, how they are adapting and overcoming adversity, how they are still keeping their morale high in the face of a long and costly war.

These are the kinds of things that we veterans of this war will remember. We will also remember when bloggers use that "hard reporting" provided by the "big guys," and put it through basic smell tests to see if it passes. Reuters can thank Little Green Footballs for showing what a bunch of Hamas-friendly tools they were during the Israel-Lebanon war by doctoring photographs to make fires and explosions look more destructive. Dan Rather can also thank Little Green Footballs for proving beyond reasonable doubt that the documents he had were xerox copies of a copy of a copy of a copy of a copy from an original written on MS Word. Bloggers might be using "hard journalism" from the big boys, but unlike the big boys, they're putting it through the smell test of honesty.

Re:Emperor Murdoch is still making huge profit... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26235333)

"the war's not working so we're throwing more resources down a hole."

Replace war with education and you have Fox reporting.

Re:Emperor Murdoch is still making huge profit... (2, Informative)

Dun Malg (230075) | more than 5 years ago | (#26236091)

Shame I don't have mod points to undo the bullshit "-1, Overrated/I don't like your viewpoint" mod you got. I can't say that I had a lot of exposure to reporters out in the sticks in Afghanistan (likely perceived as too dangerous), but I was regularly disappointed by the occasional news story emailed or snail-mailed to me. There were descriptions of events I was present for (and I guarantee the reporter heard about it second hand) that bore no real resemblance to what really happened. I hear the same from friends returning from Iraq to this day.

Re:Emperor Murdoch is still making huge profit... (2, Informative)

FlyingHuck (1135427) | more than 5 years ago | (#26236327)

One of the niftier missions I flew was delivering bomb-resistant vehicles to a few Army units (poor bastards... they didn't join my beloved Corps :-). The reason the Army wanted them was 1) Roadside bombs suck 2) Shortage of armored humvees and 3) armored humvees don't hold up for shit against anything but grenades and small arms fire. We always used to joke that the truly roadside bomb resistant humvee was the Abrams... which unfortunately holds true. So, the DoD, really in a very wise move decided that rather than trying to hob-job jerry rig humvees and the like to be minimally resistant to roadside bombs, it would be better to avoid the bombs all together by sweeping convoy routes just prior to a convoy deployment. Guess what? During the first few months' use of those vehicles, there was an over 90% drop in successful (ie bad for us) roadside bomb attacks. Bombs were being either 1) destroyed by the vehicle's raking action 2) dug up by the vehicle and detonated with little effect, or 3) discovered and dismantled by EOD personnel called onto the scene. When I was home after that deployment, I turned on 60 minutes to watch an ENTIRE segment they did about how we're ill-equipped for roadside bombs by showing the home-made armor guys were putting on their humvees. CBS completely ignored the bomb sweeping vehicles in use, and in so doing lied by the sin of omission. As for the mod who gave me a -1, eh... I don't really give a shit. He is king of his little anthill, and would rather check -1 than debate my argument. Bravo, Mod, bravo.

death of print or reading? (3, Interesting)

shalla (642644) | more than 5 years ago | (#26235209)

Except that I'm not convinced that this is a replacement of traditional print media by Internet sources so much as it is simply a decline in news readership. As a librarian, I've found that I don't really compete with bookstores. The more people read from the library, the more they also tend to buy from the bookstore. It tends to be a synergistic relationship.

On a related note, Central Connecticut State University President Jack Miller put out his annual Most Literate Cities study, which looks at what literary resources are available and used.

From a USA Today article on this year's study: [usatoday.com]

The findings come at a time when newspaper circulations across the USA are declining, and online newspaper reading is increasing. Miller's analysis suggests that, contrary to conventional wisdom, the availability of free online news is not to blame for the decline in newspapers' print circulation -- and that neither is the decline in bookstores across the country caused by the rise in online book buying.

Cities that ranked higher for having more bookstores also have a higher proportion of people buying books online, the analysis found, and cities with newspapers that have high per-capita circulation rates also have more people reading newspapers online. Likewise, cities that ranked higher for having well-used libraries also have more booksellers.

So I don't think it's necessarily that people are actually choosing to read their news online instead of subscribe to a traditional newspaper. I think more people are just not reading in general and may happen across news online as they do other things--but that isn't the point of their Internet usage.

And if we aren't reading, will that leave us with just television reporters? :O

Re:death of print or reading? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26235311)

If the Journalistic standards of 'USA Today' are anything more than at 'Comic Levels' then I'll eat my Austrailian bush hat.
I Sat next to someone of a flight from Sydney to LA. He spent the whole flight reading a 4 day old copy of USA Today.... I read a complete Harry Potter novel on the same flight. It is nothing more than a joke. Real newspapers carry real stories thoroughly investigated by their own journos. Not picked up and printed pretty well verbatum from the wire services.
In the past, qwe have relied on Newsprint Journos to break major stories. Think Watergate. Today, the Broadcast media in the US seems to only be concerned with ratings and not truth and investigation. There are very few Media Outlets that can replace the roll that print media once took.
The BBC is one. There was even a leading article in the British print media about how one of their financial reporters was seemingly getting too powereful in breaking lots of stories about Banks going down the toilet etc.
Before people get in, The BBC is not funded by the Government but by a tax/licence directly levied on the people who have a TV in the UK. BBC World Service is howerver funded by the UK Foreign Office. I fear for the role of US Broadcast media in the paperless era. I am pretty sure that News editors will think long and hard about breaking a story they might piss off one of their advertisers/sponsors. This IMHO is indirect sensorship and should be avoided at all costs.
The likes of Rupert Murdoch and his media empire is more of a threat to expression of free speech than any direct attack on the 1st Ammendment. He can just order all of his news outlets not to cover any 'anti Murdoch' stories. With no exposure, they will more than likely die.
The death of print media will be a sad day for freedom of expression in this Country.
I'm posting as an AC as I currently work for a Media Company.

Pure Bull (2, Interesting)

daemonenwind (178848) | more than 5 years ago | (#26235233)

CNET is owned by CBS, one of the major networks who's prejudiced "coverage" of the news is prompting people to cancel subscriptions and tune out. The obviously, grossly biased news on CBS even cost Dan Rather his job for the simple sake of appearances (even though he's just the talking head that reads what the producer puts on the teleprompter). Despite this, the lesson still isn't learned. So CNET has a strong interest in putting this kind of "analysis" out.

In truth, most old-media outlets get their news from the same source: The Associated Press. Watching almost any local or national newscast, or picking up nearly any newspaper in America, shows a near-perfect reprint of the AP feed. And the AP feed is exactly what people are getting from the syndicated news site of their choice, whether it has a Yahoo, MSN, Google or some other banner at the top of the page. Why watch some overpaid talking-head and suffer through bad advertising if you can just go online, read the source of the copy?

Local and insightful reporting is a dead art, and THAT is what people are turning to the internet for, because it's hard to get from anywhere but a blog in the US.

In the end, it's Bloomberg and the weeklies (3, Interesting)

Animats (122034) | more than 5 years ago | (#26235255)

The journalistic institution with the most reporters is Bloomberg. They have more reporters than the Washington Post and The New York Times together.

Hard news is becoming the province of the weeklies. Time, Newsweek, and The Economist have real reporters out gathering news. The story quality is usually better than what's in the dailies; they're not as rushed. So nationally, we're doing OK.

As for local news, newspapers shot themselves in the foot with "fluff" sections - Food, Wine, Cars, Lifestyle, etc. that didn't require real reporting. On the advertising side, they ended up surviving on classifieds, real estate ads, car ads, and ads for local sales. The Internet does all those things better.

It's not clear who, if anybody, will pick up the slack with local news.

Journalists will find a way (4, Interesting)

MpVpRb (1423381) | more than 5 years ago | (#26235257)

Some people devote their lives to a career because it's who they are, not what they do. As the newspapers die, a large pool of talent will be freed. Those who never really had the passion will find other jobs.

But, those who view journalism as their essence will somehow find a way to get paid while practicing their craft. They will invent the next journalism business. They will not quit.

Believing that the end of newspapers equals the end of journalists is like believing that once the record companies all die, there will be no more music.

blogs are another filter on the news (2, Insightful)

guanxi (216397) | more than 5 years ago | (#26235453)

Many bloggers complain that the "MSM" (that is, professional journalists) filter the news, and they want to bypass that filter. But the reality is that blogs are often a second filter on top of the first one. They take the content generated by the professionals (sometimes an article, sometimes some words taken out of context), and the blogger frames it with their own perspective and context.

Why would anyone want some random person adding yet another filter to their news? In large part, I think it's because the bloggers are willing to offer a level of info-tainment that the professionals won't: Uncorroborated rumor, conspiracy theory, unfounded amateur analysis, and outraged or outrageous opinions.

(Of course, there are many good aspects to blogs (here I am reading /.) and there are lousy professionals.)

We still get our paper (3, Informative)

Jason Levine (196982) | more than 5 years ago | (#26235767)

We used to get our paper every day. Then I noticed that we were taking the paper in in the morning and putting it into the recycle bin unread at the end of the week. We were getting all of our news from TV and the Internet. We only really used the paper for the Sunday ads (finding sales and coupons). We looked into Sunday only delivery and determined that our paper's Saturday-Sunday rate was a better deal. (I would read the paper most times on Saturday.) After awhile, we got a notice from our paper that we were being switchded to Thursday-Sunday delivery for no additional cost. Now we're basically in nearly the same boat as before. Every recycling day, 2 papers (Thursday & Friday) go into the bin unread. Saturday's is read and Sunday's is read only for the ads. If we could get the circulars/coupons online for cheaper than the cost of the paper (this would need to include ink costs to print the coupons), we would cancel our subscription entirely.

Re:We still get our paper (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26236163)

I worked in the circulation department of a fair-sized local paper about twelve years ago. Even then they were getting pretty desperate.

They ended Friday - Sunday service (Friday's TV guide) and Sunday-only (coupons) service. You could do Mon - Fri (businesses usually), Weekend or every day.

The theory was that it would force people wanting both the coupons and the TV guide to buy a seven-day subscription. Since that was a really stupid ass idea, it predictably failed to do anything other than piss off several thousand subscribers, many of whom canceled. I got an earful from more than one person about it.

Re:We still get our paper (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26236553)

Fliers are online. Buy multiples of coupons from online clipping service to maximize savings.

The demise of our media baron overlords (3, Insightful)

presidenteloco (659168) | more than 5 years ago | (#26235899)

I for one welcome.

Here in Canada our mainstream newspapers and main news TV programs are all owned by two large corporations, CTVGlobeMedia and CanWestGlobal, whose editorial stance is somewhere to the right of Attila the Hun.

I mean the term democratic socialist media mogul is kind of an oxymoron isn't it.

It will be interesting to see if the blogosphere ends up with any particular bias that is different than what good citizens are pablum-fed in their daily TV news broadcast.

I surely hope so.

Although I am not sure that the move from people all having one spoon-fed opinion to a state of truthy factoid bombardment from all sides leading to a catatonic equal acceptance of or non-committal to any old statement or viewpoint is really a victory.

Crowd chants:
"WE ARE ALL INDIVIDUALS"
"WE ARE ALL INDIVIDUALS"
"WE ARE ALL INDIVIDUALS"

Pathetic squeaky voice in background:
"umm, errr, I'm not."

New York Times (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26236657)

The NYT is a perfect example of why newspapers are fading. Who wants to pay to read made-up stories and outright lies? There are very few real journalists left and none of them work for the Times.

The print media have very little time left to get their act together or disappear altogether. After the atrocious job they did covering the election (the NYT was essentially Obama's press department) it may already be too late. Time will tell.
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