Tag Archives: newspapers

America’s newspapers: where are they headed?

GandhitoMahatma17Up early this morning, and watched a two hour special on Los Angeles as seen through the eyes of the Los Angeles Times and the Chandler Dynasty.  And what a fascinating journey it was.  I was raised in Venice CA, and went through the transformation of the Times from a right wing John Bircher apologist, and voted the third worst paper in the country, to a nationally recognized Pulitzer prize winning newspaper, and voted the third best paper in the country.

Otis Chandler, publisher from 1960 to 1980, led that change from the day he took over the paper as the forth publisher in the Chandler line. I remember my parents, who were right wing Birchers, dropping their subscription to the times in favor of the Los Angeles (Santa Monica) Herald Examiner. The Times had become too liberal for them. Otis Chandler was the instrument that made that change possible.

Prior to Otis, the Times refused to cover either the black or Hispanic issues of the growing city. When he took over, suddenly both races started showing up in both pictures and stories. President Nixon, at the time, ordered his Attorney General, John Mitchell, to investigate Otis Chandler to the extent his tax records were pulled. All because Nixon thought Otis’s gardener was, as Nixon put it, a “wetback.” Such were the times. But that failed to dissuade Otis from reporting on the city he loved and respected to the extent he published a six part series on the John Birch Society, and its negative effects on both the city and the country. Their coverage of the Watts riots was unprecedented at the time.

When Otis was fired by the board of the times, made up of the many members of the Chandler dynasty, the downfall of the Times was pretty much guaranteed. It went from a Pulitzer Prize winning publication, to one concerned with the bottom line only. It forgot its roots and the City of Los Angeles, and worshiped at the alter of the almighty dollar.  It was sold in 2000 to the Tribune Company of Chicago, ending the Chandler line, and an era that saw Los Angeles grow from a small western hick town to a major metropolis. It’s still alive today, but only as a shadow of its former self.

I remember bringing home a copy of the Times, because they had better comics than the Examiner (I think I was around eleven at the time), and watching as my father tore it up and told me never to bring the Times in his house again. That’s really not much different than the rhetoric we are seeing today.

So my questions are: Is the print media going the way of the dinosaur because of the internet? Has reporting reverted to right/left extremes to the extent middle of the road has ceased to exist? How can one believe basic reporting when the same story, reported by the left and right, varies so much there is little to compare either to? Can today’s reporting be compared to the great reporting of the past?   Got an opinion? Let’s hear it.

jammer5

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Filed under Media, newspapers, The Internet

Charging for Newspaper On-line Content

Newspaper Editors from all the major corporate players and individual papers are meeting in Chicago today to discuss ways of making money off of their product’s internet content.

I wonder why they have waited this long?

See this Atlantic article for more details.

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Filed under New Technology, newspapers, The Economy

Newspapers vs. the Internets

grouchoI am a huge fan of Mark Fiore.  Check out his animation from Mother Jones.  I am sure on hot and humid days like these, Mark needs a “huge fan” – my apologies to Groucho for always stealing his best stuff…

If this doesn’t work, let me know, and I will figure out something else.

iggy donnelly

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Filed under Humor, newspapers, Research, The Public Square

The Industry that was Eaten by the Internet

Web-guru, Clay Shirky, has provided in his essay, Newspapers and Thinking the Unthinkable, a brief history of the relationship between the Internet and traditional newspapers. In the spirit of full disclosure, my wife and I still subscribe to the print version of our local newspaper. Each month when we pay, and at those times when it’s necessary to recycle the newsprint, we ask ourselves “Why are we doing this, exactly?” We haven’t come up with a satisfactory answer, but neither have we been moved to stop subscribing. I think you could say we are late “un-adopters”.

Shirky claims that the newspaper industry in the early 1990’s saw the Internet coming, and they developed several plans to respond to the challenge. Shirky quotes a friend who ran the Internet services for the New York Times who was commenting on the investigation into the pirating of Dave Berry’s popular column. It had been discovered that an active participant in this piracy was a 14 year old boy from the Midwest, who had sent the column to alt.fan.dave_barry on usenet. The teenager was illegally distributing the column because he loved Dave Barry, and thought all should read him. Shirky’s New York Times friend said: “When a 14 year old kid can blow up your business in his spare time, not because he hates you, but because he loves you, then you got a problem.”

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Filed under Media