Posts Tagged ‘Journalism’

A Newsroom Night Before Christmas

In Uncategorized on December 25, 2012 at 1:29 am

‘Twas the night before Christmas, and wouldn’t you know

We were hard at work on the five o’clock show;

Reporters sent to locations picked with care,

In hopes that a news story soon would be there;

Producers all nestled snug in Control A,

While they wondered why they were working that day;

And the EP was pacing, and I at the desk,

What would make this show better than all the rest?

When over the scanners there arose such a clatter,

I sprang to my feet to see what was the matter.

Maybe maybe I was hearing it all wrong

But if I was right it wouldn’t be long.


I had a hunch from the level of screaming

that my instincts were right. I started scheming

When, what to my wondering ears should I hear,

But a cop shout he just shot at a sleigh pulled by eight reindeer,

With an old driver, not so lively and quick,

I knew in a moment the cops shot St. Nick.

More rapid than eagles came cries for back-up,

Dispatchers whistled, and shouted, screaming to hurry-up;

“Now, captains! now, sergeants! Get me an ambulance!

Clear things before the press can be a nuisance!”

I called for every shooter; I needed them all

“Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!”

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,

When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky,

So to the scene a dozen cameras flew,

Hoping to get there before the cops were through


And then, in a twinkling, I heard an oy vey!

It was bad for Ol’ Saint Nick – he was DOA.

As I drew in my head, and was turning around,

I called the booth – BREAKING NEWS was all I could sound

We stayed on the air for days, or it might have been weeks,

Talking to all, from little kids to the Santa Freaks;

With bundles of toys they had flung on their backs,

They kept protesting, wanting the cops to get their whacks


Stories – there were many! Sidebars by the score!

Kids, toys, parents. There was always one more!


What did it mean for the future of the holiday?

There was always someone with something to say


The cops investigated and, not surprisingly

said the officers had all acted reasonably,


There would be no trial, no charges to air


Mrs Claus stayed secluded, you know where

Things moved forward and Christmas came again

I was sad Santa was gone, the story was over and then


At the desk. chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,

I was shocked when I saw him, in spite of myself;

A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,

Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;

He wasn’t a ghost, and went straight to his work,

and telling me that I wasn’t going berserk.


 The events of the past year had all been staged,

for an assignment editor for whom news he had prayed


And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,

And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.

But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,

“Some breaking news to all, and to all a good-night.”

The New York Times, The Washington Post and Irony

In Media, Politics, Technology, Uncategorized on July 20, 2010 at 8:56 am

Where would we be without Mondays?

Today’s life lesson in irony comes from The New York Times and The Washington Post. Actually it’s from Politico but it’s thanks to a New York Times story.

(maybe you should buckle up)

The New York Times had a story yesterday, In a World of Online News, Burnout Starts Younger.

The focus is websites like the hyperactive political website Politico and gossip site Gawker and the conclusion:

“Such is the state of the media business these days: frantic and fatigued. Young journalists who once dreamed of trotting the globe in pursuit of a story are instead shackled to their computers, where they try to eke out a fresh thought or be first to report even the smallest nugget of news — anything that will impress Google algorithms and draw readers their way.”

There’s talk of high turnover rates and frantic obsession with page views and that we live “in a media environment crowded with virtual content farms where no detail is too small to report as long as it was reported there first.”

What isn’t there is a lot of talk of long-term projects and in-depth reporting. Not to say that there isn’t in-depth online reporting, it’s just that the emphasis is fast fast fast. It’s as if suddenly everybody’s a wire service reporter.

Except Dana Priest of The Washington Post.

Bless her and her ability to report the hell out of a story.

In the past five years, Priest has won two Pulitzers — for her exposure of the CIA’s secret prisons and for her series on the lousy treatment Americans veterans were receiving at Walter Reed.

Now she’s back with a hell of a story running in installments in her paper.

Top Secret America is the result of more than two years of reporting, breathtaking in its scope and an amazing example of not only why newspapers are important but how effective they can be when embracing changes in technology.

At its heart, the series explores how “the government has built a national security and intelligence system so big, so complex and so hard to manage, no one really knows if it’s fulfilling its most important purpose: keeping its citizens safe.”

Priest, her colleague William Arkin and nearly a dozen other Post staffers have put together what appears to be an astoundingly well-reported, well-written series. And not only have they written some great articles (part two is live today), they’ve created an interactive website with a searchable database, a Facebook page, a Twitter account. There’s going to be a special on Frontline (won’t be airing until the fall, watch the seven-minute teaser video here).

So, on a day that The New York Times reports on how the world of online journalism is leading to burnout, The Washington Post comes out with a great series that reminds people of why newspapers are important — essential — and shows the potential of in-depth reporting on the web.


Knight Foundation Grants Offer Hope for Journalism

In Media on June 17, 2010 at 8:11 am

Yesterday for the fourth year in a row, the Knight Foundation offered up millions of dollars as part of its News Challenge to people and groups with ideas about how to keep journalism relevant.

The 12 projects, which will split $2.74 million, include: new tools allowing bloggers and journalists to illustrate raw data; a planned marketplace that will allow people to pitch story ideas to local public radio stations and to help pay to have them produced and a video-editing studio that will exist in a “cloud.”

“Until someone figures out the next big thing — the next killer app that might provide blockbuster connectivity and information sharing to masses of people — we can use the Knight News Challenge to experiment with ways to learn how to think in different ways about information sharing so we might discover the future of news,” said Knight Foundation President Alberto Ibargüen.

And that’s really what it’s all about — looking for the next big thing.

It’s not exactly a secret that newspaper circulation has been declining in recent years. What doesn’t get talked about quite as much is the fact that when it comes to e-editions, newspapers have seen their circulations climbing; up forty percent the first three months of this year when compared to the same period last year.

The Financial Times is a good example. The Los Angeles Times reported earlier this week the paper has been looking for other streams of revenue such as online — some 126,000 people have paid $299 for online access, a 15% bump from the year before — and hosting FT branded conferences.

As a result of their online strategy, the Los Angeles Times reports, the FT expects one third of their revenue will come from digital work by 2012 while most publishers struggle to see that number hit 10% and that “the company expects this year that direct payments for its journalism will exceed print advertising revenue.”

FT CEO John Ridding is quoted as saying: “Advertising alone is not going to sustain the kind of professional newsrooms that news organizations need and that readers expect.”

That’s at least part of the reason you’re going to see The New York Times start a paywall next year and why they’ve been pushing their store and continue to expand their online efforts.

And while revenue was probably not the motivating factor behind the Miami Herald’s decision to make a documentary about the earthquake in Haiti, it is a good example of a paper looking beyond print.

Meanwhile, the push to make the most of iPads and its tablet cousins continues unabated.

The Poynter Institute just concluded a two-day seminar: “The Power of Tablets: How the iPad and Others are Reshaping the Digital Revolution.”

According to Staci Kramer of paidContent, that in his keynote address, famed newspaper designer Mario “Garcia told news organizations they are already behind if they don’t have or aren’t planning a tablet edition” and added “Does it mean print is on the way out? Not at all… The tablet is the brother or sister to print like online never was.”

The lesson is that newspapers may be having issues but news isn’t.

As Ibargüen said in announcing this year’s Knight Challenge winners: “The free flow of shared information is essential for communities to function in a democracy.  More each day, that information flows through and because of digital technology.”

Don’t give up on papers and, certainly, don’t give up on news organizations. They are hopefully continuing to look for new ways to present the news and engage their readers.