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Sunday, April 7, 2013

Cuts at the RJ. Why should I care?


People do not understand experience, expertise and history. Nor do most people care. We see it in our lives. I am seeing it in my current election. Cuts at the RJ and Sun show the lack of value now in selling newspapers and any sense of local community.

The Sun cut half its staff last year. The RJ cut another 22 reporters this last Friday, after previous cuts in the spring, last winter and last year. Yet the editors say that coverage will not change.

12,000 daily newspaper journalist have lost their positions (not just their jobs, but not replaced) over the past 12 years nationally. In addition national and international bureaus where a local perspective can be placed on outside issue that impact your town are closing in favor of one view pooled reporting. Stories that once were covered will go unseen and uncovered.

City hall and country government reporters were laid off…both higher paid. The truth is that the people with background, contacts and history are gone. There no longer is media beat, arts and entertainment are reduced, investigative is gone entirely. The RJ are sharing reports from local reports by other papers and wire services (AP, LA Times and so on) with less local knowledge and perspective.

And the award winning photographers are gone. It is hardest on them as they do not own their own equipment (a journalist camera runs $2,500 to $10,000, plus the computer and programming used today by the photographer).

The RJ already had the smallest reporting and editorial staff for size of market of any major newspaper in the country.

There will be another shift of changes…layoffs and other leaving because of the climate of the paper. That will allow some new reporters to come on board, with the perspective of where they come from and not a feeling or identity as Nevadans. Plus the younger reporters who do join the paper will be learning in this sized market, when historically the sort of trial and error they experience was learned either as a junior cub reporter or in a much smaller market, where the stakes are less high.

There is a brain drain in Las Vegas. Now journalist have joined that drain, despite the increase in market size and importance.

So more stories by visiting LA and NYC reporters with no market knowledge, less reporting by reporters who know the market and the players.

At least at the RJ and the Sun (where deep cuts were last year).

Local television is pooling its reporting, with Channel 8 locally handling the news for four television stations, and channel 3 for two. That means fewer newsrooms and fewer journalist. Television staff has been cut as well, here and nationally. Radio news is almost dead. Bloggers do not have the training, education or balance in their approach.

And today the ability to do audio, video and print are vital for reporters no matter which media you seek employment in. Almost all reporters have to blog, many with video and audio clips, increasingly shoot their own photos or video and even edit the material.

The number of eyes inspecting for accuracy, history, grammar, spelling and perspective have been reduced, as fact checkers and proof readers are almost as ancient as dinosaurs, and there are fewer editors with greater responsibilities per editor.

So where is journalism going?

Blogs?  Most bloggers take material from other reporters  and sources, distort them, repeat them over and over and add personal opinion rather than considering a questioning balanced journalism. Talking heads, shouting blogs, controversy and link words over content and factual reporting.

On-line publications? No one has figures out how to make a profit, other than by selling it to another owner or bidder. Journalism is going to help divide the society into classes that are divided by knowledge, how informed they are. The have's will afford newspapers, subscription on-line and targeted reports. The have-nots will have headlines, reality TV and pulp "fiction."

More to come....

By Art Lynch
First run 8/22/11

THE FUTURE OF EGYPTIAN MEDIA, THE BITCOIN BUBBLE, AND MORE

NPR and American Public radio's

on the media....(click here)

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After the arrest (and release) of Bassem Youssef, OTM looks back on a trip on a 2011 trip to Egypt and forward to the future of independent Egyptian media. Also: the song remains the same in North Korea coverage and innovative TV ads from Old Milwaukee. 

THE ANNUAL NORTH KOREAN MISSILE CRISIS

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s escalating threats against the US earned him a prominent spot in this week’s news cycle. Charles Armstrong, Director of Columbia University’s Center for Korean Research, tells Brooke that North Korean threats are not only cyclical - they’re seasonal.

SAYING GOODBYE TO "ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS"

On Tuesday the Associated Press eliminated the phrases "illegal immigrantand "undocumented" from its stylebook. Previous OTM guest Jose Antonio Vargas has been campaigning for this change for months on the grounds that “actions are illegal – not people.” The AP has conceded this point of view, but it’s not because of political correctness. Bob talks to AP editor Tom Kent, who explains that the change is part of a broader overhaul of the AP stylebook.

William Tyler - We Can't Go Home Again

THE STATE OF THE MEDIA IN EGYPT

Two years ago OTM traveled to Cairo to report on the post-revolution Egyptian media. This week, in the aftermath of the Bassem Youssef arrest, Brooke looks back on her interview with Bassem in 2011 and speaks with New York Times Cairo Bureau David Kirkpatrick about the future of the media in Egypt. 

SOMALIA'S CHILD JOURNALISTS

In Somalia the relative calm and stability of the last few years has resulted in a burgeoning journalism scene. But the practice is a deadly one, journalists are targeted for offending powerful interests, and most experienced journalists have fled. NPR's East Africa correspondent, Gregory Warner, talks to Bob about who's stepped in to do the incredibly risky reporting in Somalia - children.

Kronos Quartet - Mai Nozipo

THE BITCOIN BUBBLE

Bitcoin is an online currency backed by no government, central authority or bank. Invented in 2009 as a response to the global financial crisis it's now worth over a billion dollars. Reuters financial blogger Felix Salmon talks to Bob about Bitcoin's impact on the real world and how every conversation about Bitcoin is making it a little bit stronger.

PIONEERS OF THE "SOFT SELL"

On Sunday, the critically acclaimed AMC series Mad Men launches its sixth season. On Mad Men we see admen scrambling to match their ads to a new era - the 1960's. But in 1955, one real adman saw the future of advertising and it was funny. WNYC’s Sara Fishko tells the story of the pioneers of the "soft sell."

A MODERN VERSION OF THE "SOFT SELL"

Over the past year, the Pabst brewing company, which makes Old Milwaukee, has honed the "soft sell" to a sharp edge, reminiscent of the brothers Bert and Harry Piel. They have been filming spots starring Will Ferrell that only air in select markets. But these spots have an advantage the Piel commercials didn't - internet virality.