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Archive for April 2010

In the future, online news will make us all feel fine …

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The Newspaper Association of America is crowing of late over the growth of audiences at online news websites.

Newspaper companies drove record traffic to their websites in the first quarter of 2010, attracting an unprecedented 74.4 million unique visitors per month on average – more than one-third (37 percent) of all Internet users. This new record follows the strong audience newspapers delivered in last year’s fourth quarter, with newspaper websites drawing an average of 72 million unique visitors per month during that period. [emphasis added]

Editor & Publisher points out that these numbers demonstrate continued online growth carried over from the fourth quarter of 2009. The first quarter numbers apparently show visitors showing up and staying on site a while, averaging 44 pages per person during a visit of just more than a half hour.

The NAA is happily tossing confetti and joyfully dropping balloons over this booming Internet traffic. The business model of the future is nigh! Should anyone else celebrate?

Not me. And not anyone who pays close attention to layoffs in the newspaper industry, the content of online sites, the apparent increasing numbers of under 35 visitors, and the increasingly false logic of arguing newspapers are the most trusted information sources.
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Written by Dr. Denny Wilkins

April 25, 2010 at 5:01 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

The devolution of Congress

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I don’t think I’m alone in believing that members of Congress — as a species — have devolved instead of evolved. The Perpetual Political Conflict™ that has stymied improvements in government of, for, and by the people has become a loathsome barrier to resurrecting the American Dream for whose who have lost sight of it. Voters get that. Folks in the street get that. But Congress critters, as a herd of panicked horses wearing blinders, don’t.

As a journalist, I’ve known many politicians — as individuals — at all levels of government in my professional lifetime. I’ve liked many of them, too. My favorite, the late Silvio O. Conte, who served 17 terms in the House, was my Republican congressman when I lived and worked in Massachusetts. He’d drop into the newsroom unannounced, wearing his Red Sox cap and jacket, just, he always said, to visit. But he was a politician, and he had a reason for every word he uttered and every action he took. And he’d take my newsroom godfather, statehouse reporter Neil Perry, aside … and promptly give Neil The Conte View of The Political World. That benefited Neil — but it surely benefited Silvio, too.

Conte had a receptive soul and a large Italian heart. His constituents knew that. That’s why they elected him repeatedly. His House colleagues knew it, too. That’s why Conte was an effective legislator.
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Written by Dr. Denny Wilkins

April 10, 2010 at 1:49 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

The cost of political folly — 660,000 unrepresented citizens

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Today I wish I lived in Palm Beach County, Florida. The temperature is floating in the high 70s, the humidity in the low 40s. Here, in western New York, it has been raining and partly cloudy.

Yep, nice weather down south. But, more importantly, I could vote today in a special election in House District 19 to replace Rep. Robert Wexler, who resigned in January to run a think tank that ponders deeply about the Mideast.

If I moved to northern Georgia, in House District 9, I could vote on April 29 to replace former Rep. Nathan Deal, who resigned March 1 one step ahead of ethics charges to run for governor. (I wouldn’t vote for him, though; at least one group considers him among the most corrupt members of Congress.)

If I lived in House District 12 in southwestern Pennsylvania, I could vote May 18 in a special election to replace earmark king Rep. John Murtha, who died in early February.

Sadly, I live in rural western New York, in District 29. I have no representative in Congress because Democratic Rep. Eric Massa self-destructed in early March because of aberrant behavioral traits not seen by voters (and certainly not by me, who supported him).

So I need to persuade the governor of the state of New York to call a special election to replace Massa, because he has not done so.
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Written by Dr. Denny Wilkins

April 5, 2010 at 3:41 pm

Posted in Uncategorized