Posts Tagged ‘newspapers’

The future of journalism: ‘Oh shit!!’

There’s a scene in The Wire where Omar, a psychopath with a shotgun whose trade is robbing drug dealers, gets into a drug stash house he intends to rob by disguising himself as an old lady in a wheelchair. Once he pulls off his wig and pulls his weapon from under the lap blanket, one of the guards realizes what’s happening and blurts out, “Oh shit!” And Omar gleefully echoes him: “‘Oh shit!!’ Yeah!”

Somehow that’s what came to mind when I saw this announcement of a program at City Arts and Lectures on the future of journalism. Why, just today in the NYT’s media blog came the news that the Newark Star-Ledger is planning on more newsroom employee buyouts-slash-layoffs. I have the feeling the disemployed reporters felt somewhat the same way as the drug dealers felt when they realized they had been tricked by Omar Little. They had the feeling it was coming, they did everything they could to prevent it, and when it came, all they can do is blurt, “Oh shit!”

Right. Anyway, at City Arts and Lectures, “two seasoned journalists and editors will discuss the current state of print journalism, the impact and implications of the shift toward a more digital world, and the future of print media.” Good luck with that!

Former SJ Merc sportswriter Ann Killion goes solo

Former San Jose Mercury News sportswriter Ann Killion, who left the newspaper at the end of July, now has her own sports blog at annkillion.com. You can also follow her on twitter @annkillion.

I would say her blog needs more frequent updates — the most recent post is 5 days old — but I think anybody who loses a job they’ve had for more than 20 years is entitled to some time for readjustment. I love her writing, so here’s hoping for more of it.

Former Rocky staff to launch pay news website — could SFGate follow?

As the Seattle Post-Intelligencer prepared for its last run on paper, former staffers at Denver’s just-closed newspaper, the Rocky Mountain News, announced today their intention to start a new online news site for Denver and charge $4.99 for it. They’ll try to get 50,000 monthly subscribers. Could that be a way forward for the San Francisco Chronicle and its popular online presence, SFGate?

Some interesting data points: both Seattle and Denver already have surviving other papers, the Seattle Times and the Denver Post. So their (former?) competitors’ online sites still have to compete, not only with the other papers’ online sites but with their surviving (for now) print editions. But in San Francisco, neither the Chronicle nor SFGate has an equivalent competitor. So if the print Chronicle goes away and it survives as an online paper, it would be the only big-league journalistic operation of its size, influence and considerable reputation.

So would you pay $5 a month — or even more, considering everything’s more expensive in San Francisco — for SFGate?

I would.

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