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Archive for May 2012

Journalism in an era of onerous deadlines? Not so good anymore

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Producing the equivalent of a book every 24 hours, seven days a week, is difficult. That’s what daily newspapers do day after day. Sadly, in New Orleans, readers will receive only three books a week instead of seven.

The Times-Picayune will print its book only on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays. Those are the only days advertising revenue is sufficient to justify the cost of ink and paper. The Times-Picayune is not the first paper to reduce print editions. Detroit papers did that several years ago. And other papers in the NOLA Media Group will curtail print editions.

The Times-Picayune, which won the Pulitzer Prize for brilliant coverage of Hurricane Katrina, will become less than it was. The staff will be depleted as management seeks, like virtually every newspaper, to successfully marry financial gains on the Web to (hopefully) good journalism. A decade of arrogant, errant actions and inaction by newspapers’ decision-makers has so far failed to consistently produce either.

There are reasons for that: corporate failure to recognize the Internet as a valid competitor, free access to online content for all comers, the wholesale firings of thousands of journalists, belated and botched attempts at paywalls, and so on.

But consider two others, one historical, one behavioral.
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Written by Dr. Denny Wilkins

May 29, 2012 at 8:19 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Romney vs. Obama: big campaign cash spent neither wisely nor well

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On the north wall of my living room is a 37- by 58-inch map of the United States. It shows only landforms and drainage. It is beautifully executed.

There are no state boundaries on the map. There are no political divisions on the map of any kind, not even the names of states or cities or towns. There are just landforms — rivers, mountains, valleys, plateaus, lakes.

This map is all of us, commingled in our differences. But until November, we will be shown differing, even disturbing, realities in other media-manufactured and “Magic Wall” maps of the United States. Pundits and candidates will talk about red states and blue states and purple states — battleground states vs. safe states. And we’ll likely be shown maps with different shades of green.

Those green maps will show who’s spending what amounts of political money where. (For example, scroll down to this Washington Post map showing political ad spending by states. Some markets get plenty; many get bupkis.) But it’s not likely that we’ll be shown maps identifying the sources of that money — because, it seems, the Supreme Court of these United States says much of this money, given by the few, can be hidden from us, the many.
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Written by Dr. Denny Wilkins

May 17, 2012 at 3:28 pm

Posted in Uncategorized