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Sunday, March 8, 2009

Flash! No more "Flash!"

A blogger complained the other day:

Today’s news is there is no news on the front page of today’s Washington Post. Not one of the six articles on page A1 begins with a hard news lead that imparts real news to readers.

Welcome to the new age of daily newspapering, where the actual news of the day has migrated to the Internet or TV or radio or the inside pages of the paper. Bye-bye to the old "who-what-when-where-why."

Do newspapers need to "go soft" to survive?

Comments (10)

That guy should be kept far away from a copy of the O for his own health. If he gets snippy about the front page of the WaPo he would have an aneurysm if he saw our local rag's above-the-fold front page headlines blaring about the Blazers, pit bull attacks, and a 1/16" of snow on the ground.

I have to agree with the folks who knock the linked piece. I've been a newspaper reader my whole life, often multiple papers, in many different places. And the narrow definition of "news" that the blogger advances is to blame for much of the illness killing journalism today. As several of the commenters noted in response, his definition of "news" translates into covering press conferences.

There's a good experiment for judging the quality of a newspaper: save your copies but don't read the news sections for a month (i.e., you can read the sports and comics, but nothing that purports to be "news.")

After the month, go back and read from the first day's paper forward. This separates all the meaningful news pieces from the noise. The more stories you have that are still worth reading -- stories that help you understand the world or its peoples, and that help you predict what will happen in the future -- a month after the dateline on the story, the better the paper. Most stories aren't worth reading the next day, much less after a month.

That's part of the problem is that newspapers are soft. Look at the O and how it gets scooped by WW. They give the impression they are running cover for the established politicians here. So what is the news they are generating?

However, magazines seem to be doing OK (outside of digging for every ad dollar), so I don't think print media is dead.

The front page of the O has degraded to being laughable.
The cooked up non-news stories dominate.

The blogger is out to lunch. This is a typical Sunday front -- today, 10 years or 30 years ago.

Back then there would have been at least a "Fire burns down warehouse" and "Congress wrangles over budget bill." But that kind of stuff will not sell papers any more, apparently.

Besides, the paper that the blogger was griping about was Friday's.

Coverage is overwhelmingly supportive of continued bank bail outs with virtually no coverage of those who argue for nationalization. Its like the run up to the Iraq war all over again. IMO, the american media has devolved into a propaganda machine.

Besides, the paper that the blogger was griping about was Friday's.

My bad for not clicking on the link and reading the blogger's actual post. Having now done so, I'd say his view is even more ridiculous than I thought.

The papers engage in unspoken "do not bite the hands that feed" agreements with their largest ad buyers/"partners". Sportcentric universities and a shady state lotto never get deserved scrutiny and even get editor commentary cheerleading in support of their worst ideas. Remember the O applauding Nike's war over the "conspiracy" by Beaverton to annex their campus ? When Nike releases a new shoe it makes the business page (essentially a free ad). When Nike's stock plummets in value (like now) or prepares to fire 1400 of it's workers coverage is scarce or non-existent.

Well golly, it took me a minute to Google the fact that the O had both a short story with photo in advance of the layoff announcement and a much more complete story the following day. And considering the layoffs are world-wide, the cuts don't seem all that significant (unless it was your job they cut) considering the times.
There is an oversupply of real problems in the world, Conspiracyzach. There really is no market for made up trouble.

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