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Archive for January, 2010

Each time I take a new job, I think it’s going to be my last move.

I thought that when I came to The Gazette and gazetteonline as editor, and I thought that about the previous job and the one before that. And … well, a lot of jobs in the newspaper business.

My next job won’t be in the newspaper business. The news business, yes, but not the newspaper business. (more…)

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My Sunday post about the APME board’s use of Twitter drew a detailed, thoughtful response from APME board member Carole Tarrant.

Carole, editor of the Roanoke Times, had prompted the Sunday post with a tweet from a meeting of the Associated Press Managing Editors. She responded in a comment to the original blog post. But, recognizing that the comment will not receive as much attention as the original post, I wanted to call attention to it in a separate post. She put a lot of thought into her response and I thought it deserved more attention than blog comments sometimes get. I also wanted to respond to it. (more…)

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No one spins shocking news like people who think news sites need to charge for content.

If only 35 people decide to pay for the content you thought was worth $260 a year? No problem. Just say, “That’s 35 more than I would have thought it would have been.” That’s what Staci Kramer of paidContent.org reports that Newsday publisher Terry Jimenez said after the embarrassing number came out during a staff meeting.

Newsday erected its paywall around newsday.com starting Nov. 1 (during the World Series; think Yankee fans were able to find their baseball news elsewhere?).

The New York Observer had a different take: (more…)

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I’ve done the same exercise with University of Iowa students twice in the past week: I ask them to tell me about their media use over the past 24 hours.

I want to know how they learn about the world beyond their immediate circle of family, friends and faculty. I ask them to break it down by percentage among four delivery systems: mobile, desktop or laptop computer, broadcast and print. I write those percentages in four columns on a white board:

College students' use of media

(more…)

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Newsroom leaders struggling with the challenges of innovation will find help in a low-cost training opportunity next month in St. Louis.

Bring your Valentine with you to St. Louis (I’ll be taking mine to dinner at an Italian restaurant on The Hill) and join us for a Feb. 13-14 Mid-America Press Institute Seminar, Innovation and Managing Change in the Newsroom. (more…)

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I was delighted to read the news in a tweet from Carole Tarrant this morning: All APME board members are on Twitter now.

Tarrant, editor of the Roanoke Times, was tweeting from an APME board meeting and reported:

We just surveyed which #apme board members are on Facebook and Twitter. All 27 have accounts on both, I’m happy to report.

I was happy myself and ready to claim a piece of credit. Less than a year ago, I documented how few newsroom leaders were using Twitter, specifically checking the board members of both APME and the American Society of News Editors (then the N in ASNE stood for Newspaper). I could find Twitter accounts last March for only eight APME board members (more, actually, than on the ASNE board). I have been trying to educate colleagues on the value of Twitter for journalists. I led a webinar on Twitter for ASNE shortly afterward.

I almost retweeted what Tarrant had said right away, adding my praise for these busy editors taking the time to master a new tool. But then I paused. I was pretty sure every editor on that board has probably repeated the old journalism cliché: If your mother tells you she loves you, check it out. So I decided to check it out before retweeting Mom’s love for Twitter. I planned to document that newsroom leaders are using Twitter regularly and effectively, and how much their Twitter use has grown since last year. I planned to claim a little success in my Twitter evangelism efforts among newsroom leaders.

My plans didn’t quite work out. Actually, my quick research shows that most APME board members still are not actively engaged with Twitter. In fact, I could not find eight of them on Twitter. Most board members had not tweeted this year. (more…)

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One of journalism’s favorite notions is that we don’t become part of the story. We are supposed to be some sort of object (you know, objective) that doesn’t feel, that stays aloof and writes from an omniscient perch above it all.

It is a lie, and we need to stop repeating it. The first principle of the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics is “Seek truth and report it.” Here is the truth about journalism: Journalists aren’t objects; we are people. We feel. We have families and emotions. We have moral standards. When we show up for truly personal or potentially volatile interviews or events, we become part of the story and denying that violates our obligation to tell the truth.

But the Society of Professional Journalists denied it this week, somberly cautioning journalists in Haiti: “Report the story, don’t become part of it.” As I have written before, my family became a small part of the Haiti story this month. I will address the ethics of that story shortly. But first I want to write about the underlying ethical principles. I teach ethics in journalism seminars across North America (Ottawa, Canada, and Berkeley, Calif., this month), and I know that journalists sometimes like to reduce ethics to simple do-this-don’t-do-that rules. And ethics often aren’t that simple. (more…)

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