Apparently there is nothing else worth writing about so the LeaderPost ran an advertisement for Fuddruckers. This is low standards even for the Life section of a newspaper. On the other hand it is Regina so maybe their standards are lower but still…
The StarPhoenix has been a part of my life since we moved to Saskatoon in 1984 from Calgary. In fact I think it was a big reason why my mom chose Saskatoon over Moose Jaw. She literally dreaded the idea of not having a big city paper. It was there for me everyday growing up during it’s good times and their bad times (someone in parole say hi to Conrad Black for me) and now Mark grabs my Kindle every night and sits down and reads it before supper. It’s the starting point of my day at work and once I am done with that, the first site I check out at night is Dave Hutton’s City Hall Notebook once I boot up my computer. Outside of breathing and eating, it’s been the longest running constant in my life.
When I was asked to put a logo and link on my blog back to The StarPhoenix and be a part of their community bloggers, I was thrilled. While I have always rejected logos and link requests like this, it’s my paper, my hometown and my community.
Of course with The StarPhoenix being a print publication, never let me know the community bloggers section was active. So after seeing the referrals in my log files, checking it out, reading their horrible description of my blog, grabbing a screen shot of the blogger graphic, and cropping it, we are good to go. At least they spelled my name correctly, which is more than what CBC has ever been able to manage.
To kick this off, I should reciprocate with a link to their excellent feature, 52 Things to Love About Saskatoon, an ongoing feature about what makes Saskatoon a great place to live. They are only eight weeks into it but I agree with the first seven and am about to check out the Park Cafe this week.
Good editorial in the New York Times about why the New York Times has been quiet about their coming paywall. In it there is this interesting tidbit:
The stakes for The Times, which like other newspaper companies has seen major declines in print advertising revenues, are enormous. I asked Mr. Morton to rate, on a scale of 1 to 10, the strategic importance of the pending pay model to the future of the organization.
“For the future of The Times,” he replied, “I would say it is somewhere around 10, if not higher.”
If the New York Times needs this to survive, what about the other national papers like USA Today, the National Post, and the Globe and Mail. The Wall Street Journal already has a paywall approach (which I think has become quite profitable). I have heard that The StarPhoenix turns a profit but it would have nowhere near the newsroom and bureau cost’s of the New York Times and more or less depends exclusively on the wire services for international coverage. Still it’s a sad day when the paper of record becomes a closed archive unless we are planning to pay (which I will be paying for).
The paper of record profiles Heather Armstrong. Here is how it started.
She is the only blogger on the latest Forbes list of the Most Influential Women in Media, coming in at No. 26, which is 25 slots behind Oprah, but just one slot behind Tina Brown. Her site brings in an estimated $30,000 to $50,000 a month or more — and that’s not even counting the revenue from her two books, healthy speaking fees and the contracts she signed to promote Verizon and appear on HGTV. She won’t confirm her income (“We’re a privately held company and don’t reveal our financials”). But the sales rep for Federated Media, the agency that sells ads for Dooce, calls Armstrong “one of our most successful bloggers,” then notes a few beats later in our conversation that “our most successful bloggers can gross $1 million.”
By talking about poop and spit up. And stomach viruses and washing-machine repairs. And home design, and high-strung dogs, and reality television, and sewer-line disasters, and chiropractor visits. And countless other banalities of one mother’s eclectic life that, for some reason, hundreds of thousands of strangers tune in, regularly, to read.
I lost my job today. My direct boss and the human-resources representative pulled me into one of three relatively tiny conference rooms and informed me that the company no longer had any use for me. Essentially, they explained, they didn’t like what I had expressed on my Web site. I got fired because of dooce.com. FEB. 26, 2002
Today the sleek headquarters of Blurbodoocery Inc. — the corporate identity of Heather and Jon Armstrong’s company — is on the 1,000-square-foot third floor of their sprawling six-bedroom home on a cul-de-sac in Salt Lake City, where they have lived since June.
In one corner is the glass-walled office of their newest employee, John LaCaze, who came aboard a few months before that move, and whose job description — everything from answering e-mail to ordering lunch to making sure that time is not wasted because, after all, it is money — has earned him the nickname “Tyrant” on Heather’s blog. Next to LaCaze’s office is the studio, equipped for audio and video. In the center are Jon and Heather’s work spaces, each dominated by two enormous computer monitors and an array of cartoons and kitsch.
Next to the door of the office is etched “Heather B. Armstrong, President,” but by her desk is a nameplate that reads “Heather Hamilton.” That was who she was in February 2001 when she wrote her very first Dooce post. She was 25, with a degree in English from Brigham Young University and a job at a start-up in L.A. “In those days when you said you had a blog, people thought you had a venereal disease,” she says now.
Dooce was a nickname that grew out of an inside joke — a takeoff of “dude.” Unlike many bloggers (particularly women) whose initial goal was to update family living far away, her postings were never meant for her relatives. She wrote of the liberation she felt leaving her parents’ Mormonism behind, of sex and caffeine, of dating and work. In the summer of 2001, Armstrong’s site was receiving 58 hits a day. On a whim she e-mailed Jason Kottke, one of the earliest online aggregators (whose own site was still a hobby and had not yet become kottke.org) and asked him for technical advice. He linked to Dooce, and her readership leapt to 2,000 daily hits.
I have never been a Tony Kornheiser fan. I thought he was a waste of booth space on Monday Night Football and Pardon the Interruption seems to be totally devoid of any serious reflection or research. Here is Kornheiser on NASCAR
That’s the accusation Tony Kornheiser made Tuesday on ESPN’s "Pardon the Interruption."
"Someone I talked to who covered auto racing for a lot of years, said she believed there was a 60 percent chance that Junior qualified with a car not quite up to code, and people looked the other way," Kornheiser said.
Well, there you have it. Kornheiser talked to someone who’s "60 percent" sure the fix is in, so it must be true. Never mind that he doesn’t mention who said reporter is or offer what evidence — if any — she provided to back her claim.
Of course Kornheiser has some credibility issues with his coverage of the NFL so maybe he is just looking for a new sport to cover.
Stephen Farrell of the New York Times talks about what he did and didn’t bring to Egypt.
Photographers of the increasingly violent upheaval in Egypt are being forced — in the interest of personal safety — to adopt practices that limit their range of coverage at exactly the moment the world is hungriest for as many images from as many perspectives as possible.
According to interviews on Thursday with nine photojournalists in Cairo, it is often hard to photograph demonstrators for President Hosni Mubarak, because they are so openly hostile to journalists. On the defensive, photojournalists also find themselves traveling in packs (which they do not typically like to do), staying away from whole sections of Cairo (which is anathema) and donning helmets (which raises the likelihood they will be mistaken for government spies).
Today, with a diminished journalistic workforce on Parliament Hill, handling multiple deadlines and shrinking news space, it’s harder to keep any story in the frame of attention, let alone a dry, complicated fiscal debate. Note the revolving controversies of the past few years. Remember the Afghan-documents issue? Prorogation? We’re also told that the public has no interest now in "process" stories — which pretty much describes most political stories. I’m old enough to remember a time when I covered a story for months at a time — years, in the case of the national-unity struggles of Meech and Charlottetown. Now that prospect seems almost ridiculous.
The panel didn’t think very much of it but think they missed the point. They said that the financial crisis isn’t bad enough in people’s minds to require this kind of arrangement again. In some ways they are correct as Canada has a very strong economy compared to the rest of the western world right now. At the same time they missed the point in that with cuts to Parliament Hill, they aren’t sure what we stories they are missing. Of course I didn’t expect Chantel Hebert or Andrew Coyne to admit that because of cuts in the media and a quicker, more intense news cycle that her and her colleagues are missing important stories but the truth is, they don’t really know what they are missing.
Alan Taylor, who created The Big Picture as a side project at the Boston Globe has moved to The Atlantic Monthly where he is curating a new photoblog called In Focus for them. Regular readers of the site (and staff at work) know about my passion for The Big Picture and it’s nice to see Taylor getting rewarded for his efforts. I am not sure if the Boston Globe realized what they had with that site and I was surprised they let him get away and basically do the same thing with another paper.
While I am on the topic of media and photos, check out what the Oregonian has done with Flickr. The Oregonian is posting all the photos that go with stories in the paper to Flickr. Now one odd thing is that they don’t link their photos to the stories online but if they did, they could drive readers to their site and at the same time give a greater visual sense of the story with photos on Flickr that didn’t make the cut.
That’s borne out by a memo from AOL Chief Executive Officer Tim Armstrong on where his company’s journalism is going. It’s fairly chilling reading, ordering the company’s editors to evaluate all future stories on the basis of "traffic potential, revenue potential, edit quality and turnaround time." All stories, it stressed, are to be evaluated according to their "profitability consideration." All AOL’s journalistic employees will be required to produce "five to 10 stories per day."
Note all the things that come before the quality of the work or its contribution to the public interest and you’ve arrived at an essential difference between journalism and content. It may start with exploiting reporters and editors, but it inevitably ends up exploiting its audience.
Dan Snyder, the owner of a certain Washington based NFL football team that has a racist nickname, is threatening to sue a paper for an article posted if the author is not fired. What’s funny is that the article is not that inflammatory. While it is childish, it’s not any worse than anything written about any other owner of a struggling once proud team that is a national laughingstock (see Oakland Raiders, Toronto Maple Leafs, Buffalo Bills, Detroit Lions, Pittsburgh Pirates, or the USC athletic department). There isn’t even anything that personal in there.
Here are some of my favorite bits
Fan Appreciation Day: Gimmick used in 2006 by Snyder to draw people to FedExField, where he charged $25 to park to watch the team scrimmage and hear an address from Vinny Cerrato. The parking charge was not mentioned in the advertisements the team produced for the event.
Hill, Pat: Down-on-her-luck 73-year-old grandmother—and five-decade Redskins season-ticketholder—who was sued by the Redskins in 2009 because she could not afford to keep up payments on the 10-year, $50,000-plus club seats contract she’d signed.
Kennedy, Robert F.: Namesake for the former Redskins stadium—and current “party deck” at FedExField. Tickets to this standing-room only section cost $152.50 and include access to a cigar bar and a Hooters, among other come-ons. Snyder dropped “RFK” from the marketing pitch after Kennedy family announced its displeasure in Washington City Paper.
Redskins Unfiltered: Feature on Redskins.com designed to “offer fans an a la carte menu of information,” as Snyder told The New York Times in 2006. In practice, Unfiltered was mainly used to rebut everything written about the team by The Washington Post. Immediately after the Post ran a story that mentioned players eating “fast food” at Redskins Park, for example, Snyder staffer Larry Michael produced a long video in which team employees testified that Baja Fresh was NOT fast food. Unfiltered came back to haunt management when players used its video as evidence in a union grievance over “contact drills” during voluntary workouts. “You know how we caught them?” said NFLPA chief Gene Upshaw. “We saw it on their Web site.”
Vanilla: Flavor of ice cream that Snyder left to thaw in defensive coordinator Mike Nolan’s office TWICE in one season to let the coach know the owner felt his schemes were simplistic, or vanilla. John Feinstein wrote that Snyder’s second delivery, after a loss to Dallas, consisted of “three giant canisters of melting 31 Flavors ice cream” and a note that said “I do not like vanilla.”
Even the Washington Post has gotten sucked into this one.
According to several people with direct knowledge of the situation, Snyder’s attorneys contacted The Post last week and asked the newspaper to preserve e-mails between Post sports blogger Dan Steinberg and McKenna.
The attorneys said they intend to explore whether there was any agreement between McKenna and Steinberg to cross-promote McKenna’s pieces on Snyder. Steinberg routinely links to sports content across the Web.
McKenna and Steinberg are former neighbors and longtime friends, a fact disclosed by Steinberg when he linked to McKenna’s City Paper article on Steinberg’s D.C. Sports Bog blog in November. At the time, Steinberg called McKenna’s article "an encyclopedic takedown of Snyder’s decade of Redskins ownership, with just about all the horror stories gathered in one place."
McKenna, in turn, occasionally mentions Steinberg’s work in his City Paper columns and blog postings, referring to him as "the Great Dan Steinberg."
Steinberg declined to comment Tuesday, as did The Post.
Dan Snyder continues to be the most tone deaf owner in the NFL who has managed to turn a frivolous sports rant into a national story bringing attention to how inept he is. If I was the defense attorney, I would just point to Dan Snyder’s record as the owner of the team, toss a couple of years of sports stories from the Washington Post, some game film of Jeff George playing and Steve Spurrier coaching and say, “I rest my case”.
Great video and story about what it takes to be a New York Times staff photographer.
“I think we’re finished now. Thank you. Thank you.”
The voice was clipped, the accent British and the tone could not be mistaken as an invitation to debate. Richard Perry, a staff photographer for The New York Times, was being told that his time to take pictures of former Prime Minister Gordon Brown was over.
Mr. Perry was having none of it. “In this town, you can’t be a photographer that is trying to accomplish something and have one person come up and say, ‘You’re done now,’ and you go, ‘Oh, O.K., I’m leaving.’ You have to be a little tougher to manipulate than that.”