Monthly Archives: November 2011

Andy Rooney

              Andy Rooney, best known to my generation as the opinionated commentator at the end “60 Minutes” passed away last week after complications from a surgery.

My memories of him are of putting on CBS and catching the tail end of “60 Minutes”  only to hear him complain about one topic or another. In class last week, we discussed how some of his comments sometimes got him trouble, such as slurs against homosexuals, yet CBS never fired him.

The discussion turned towards whether they didn’t fire him because they thought he really didn’t do much wrong or, really because he was a literal goldmine for the station. Personally, I believe that he never got fired because viewers were used to seeing him on the network. This built loyalty, and loyalty turned around and brought in money.

I will go on to say that I believe that if any commentator says something so outlandish against any group they should all have the same punishment. If one is going to be terminated, then shouldn’t they all? Or, I guess there was something to be said for tenure?


Nisenholtz Resigns

            Martin Nisenholtz, senior vice president of digital operations at The New York Times, is retiring at the end of the year. I think what might be the best contribution he made to the Times was the incorporation of a pay wall as “leaky” as it might be.

The Times’ pay wall allows readers to read 20 articles before they have to pay for content. It is referred to as “leaky” because people have found ways around it such as googling the content or getting it through social media.

The Times’ pay wall has helped lead to successful pay walls at other papers. The success of the Times’ pay wall surpassed what they expected would happened.  The Times had 324,000 digital subscribers by the end of September, according to the article.

I think Nisenholtz is leaving the Time’s website in a good place. At least he helped correct the “original sin” before he left.


Political Ads turn to the Internet

We’ve all seen the melodramatic political campaigns on TV. They’re usually slow motion and accuse one politician of doing or believing in terrible things and at they end we all here the special little message “This ad was sponsored by ……(the opponent).”  Well now instead of just interrupting your TV viewing pleasures, the political ads will be popping up when you go online as well.

During this year’s County Executive race in Suffolk County, an ad for Steve Bellone played before most video’s on Youtube. Currently, Hulu is making a bid to have politicians advertise on their site. Barack Obama was the first candidate to buy time on Hulu in 2008. Ads on Hulu though, are more expensive than on Youtube.

I was a firm believer that the Internet was more dangerous to the Print field than it was to the broadcast field in news. The news about even political ads going online starts to make me worry. In 2010, only about 10 percent of advertising was done online for campaigns. But, the number is set to increase in 2012. I think broadcast news has some valid reasons to be more concerned now. Unless, maybe they start putting more ads before the packages that go online too.

 


The Real Magazine of Reality

       As if you couldn’t catch all the “real people” you wanted on TV, a new magazine will now be totally devoted to “reality news.” American Media Inc. has  created “Reality Weekly,” which will hit newsstands in January. There is a softening market for gossip magazines, but America still has “a hearty appetite” for reality TV.

What I found really interesting was that the magazine will just be $1.79 per issue and have a slogan “Less money/ more fun.” The reason I found this so interesting is that in class on Thursday, Professor Reiner said that there is so much reality TV because it is cheap to make. I think that because the magazine is so cheaply priced, the same must be true for the production of the magazine.

There is clearly no news value in this magazine. In my personal opinion, I think it is only being made for two reasons. One, to fulfill the fascination that our country has with the “private lives” of the rich and famous. And secondly, and probably more importantly for the industry, to (hopefully) make money. The “journalism business” is still a business, right?


The Internet is actually helping TV?

In an article from MarketWatch Bob Iger, Walt Disney CEO, said that DVR’s and Internet videos are actually helping out TV ratings. Due to people being able to record their shows ad rates have been higher.

The question that is raised for me is whether this translates to TV news viewership as well. In the digital age, as we have learned in this class, the Internet is a direct competitor for TV news. Iger had said that online videos are a sort of “syndication.” Could that be true for broadcast journalists as well? Most times packages are put online, especially in local news. The whole newscast may not be online but the packages usually are.

I think of Iger’s theory is true, then the Internet may being turning into a friend, instead of a regular foe of TV news.


Let’s Eat Grandma. Or Let’s Eat, Grandma. There’s a difference.

Recently, Poynter has come under fire for cracking the whip on Jim Romenesko  due to lack of attribution. Critics are either in support of Poynter for punishing him for his lazy attribution style or in support of Romenesko and feel that Poynter was too harsh  over  something like not using quotation marks.

One person who was quoted in the article in support of Romenesko, really stood out to me:

“Jim Romenesko didn’t plagiarize and my friends at the Poynter Institute were wrong to suggest that he did,” wrote Steve Buttry, the director of community engagement and social media at Journal Register Co. “It’s a punctuation offense, not a serious breach of journalism ethics.”

Now some people may not think that punctuation really matters, but the wrong placement of something such as a comma, could completely change the meaning of a sentence. The oldest example of this is the difference between, ‘Let’s eat Grandma’ and ‘Let’s eat, Grandma.’ One is an invitation and one is cannibalism.

Quote marks are even more important, if you have them it means the words aren’t yours. If you don’t then readers should rightly assume  that the words that are there are your own creation.

However, someone else in support of Romenesko had a valid point. He wasn’t really doing journalism, he was blogging. It wasn’t necessarily fair to use strict journalism rules on something that wasn’t journalism.

I think this whole case is in a shade of gray. Especially given that Romenesko was a little while away from retiring. If they were letting it go for so long, why not just let him retire when he was supposed to?

Regardless, grammar is grammar. It should be followed in writing in general, not just journalism.


CNN Cuts 50 Jobs

 

In the ever ailing journalism industry it is no surprise that a company has made job cuts. Most recently, CNN cut 50 jobs. The bright side? None of the people fired were reporters.

The job cuts went to technicians, librarians and photojournalists. In the turmoil of the industry, it’s easy to feel selfishly happy that reporters missed the axe this one time. The fact that photojournalists were cut, causes me think that reliance on “one man band” journalists may be increasing. The good side of this is that the training we get in this J-school is going to be even more useful. The bad side is that journalists might be so spread then that the quality of journalism might be lagging. Of course, in this case we are speaking about CNN, so I don’t see that happening.

After this round of cuts, a spokesman for the company said that number of jobs should stay flat.