Thursday, August 28, 2008

I never read this guy....

But Jay Mariotti sounds like a real douche.

Which brings me to today's links:

1) "Not once in the last eight years can I recall seeing Mariotti in the Cubs' or Sox' clubhouse. With a press credential that allowed him access to every major sporting event and every major figure, he hasn't broken a single story in that time. He says Chicago is a weak market, the competitive edge gone. He has only himself to blame." Click here.
2) "One of them is frantically trying to engineer a meeting between Captain Morgan and Ted Sorenson, the painfully dignified Democratic legend who is finishing an interview with Tavis Smiley just as Captain Morgan bursts into the tent, T-shirts and Morganettes in tow. That person is me, and, in this, I am a failure. But, then again, we are all sort of failures here." (Via Romenesko).
3) "The former New York Times correspondent, U.S. propaganda maven, and leader in the anti-Castro movement is one of the last of the hard-nosed newsmen from the World War II era. His story pits a combative watchdog against a deceitful politician in one of Miami-Dade's wealthiest burgs — a place that despite its high profile and 42,000 residents rarely receives much media scrutiny." (Via Romenesko).
4) "I'm talking about the press corps' irritating habit of remaining seated during the playing of "The Star-Spangled Banner" at the start of each night's session." (Via Romenesko).

Monday, August 25, 2008

Links for today...

1) Eight ways to get interactive data on your site.
2) Major League Baseball standings get more sophisticated.
3) A new Web site allows home buyers, real-estate developers, nonprofit groups and any other interested parties to map neighborhoods for free using a wide range of data, such as per-capita income, education levels and unemployment.

And...Not really journalism-related, but kind of cool. Devon Energy is building a new 54-story tower in downtown OKC that's pretty damn nice. Here's some pics from friend Steve Lackmeyer.

NBA team? New tower? Things are looking up in OKC.

Friday, August 22, 2008

What I'm reading....

I regularly forward some articles I read to a former boss of mine. He asked where I get this stuff...and then wanted me to forward everything. So instead I guess I'll try --- once again --- to start posting some of the things I'm reading. We'll see.

1) "The newspaper industry has a devastating history of letting the future of media slip from its grasp." (Via Romenesko).
2) "In the coming year, expect a lot of papers to eliminate money-losing Monday, Tuesday and Saturday editions, dump their classified advertising sections and combine forces with rivals or outsource overseas." According to this post, all options are on the table. Too bad newspaper executives didn't a sense of urgency a few years ago.
3) What is it you do here again?

So I'm finally settled ....

Well, we've found a place here in downtown Dallas, which means I can walk to work. This is a much-needed development for the expanded waistline, which has existed since college.

We still don't have Internet access at home, which means my attempt to start up blogging again is difficult. No, it's not that I haven't ordered Internet service...for I have. From AT&T, which supposedly installed it on Saturday, but I haven't been able to get it working yet.

And no --- it's not user idiocy this time around. I've had to call India twice, and both times the representative said there are "line problems" and a tech would come out to fix it. After the first call, I got a call to say everything is working. I got home and that wasn't true. I've called a second time, got the same excuse, but haven't received an update.

And no, I didn't want DSL. But it was the only service available in my building.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Abrams and the Kool-Aid

Lee Abrams has taken a beating recently in the newspaper-watching blog-o-sphere. A few Tribune watchers, like Tell Zell, are particularly angry (rightfully so, no doubt) with the leveraged buyout that has left the company saddled with massive debt amid declining revenues.

But Abrams seems like a decent guy. And I think he's trying. His MEMOS with random CAPITALIZATION, misspellings, and talk of 2x4s have made for comic relief in a time when the ax is hanging over our heads.

That being said, and maybe I'm drinking the corporate Kool-Aid, but it's tough not to agree with this.

"Trying something different, even if it seems nutty, is far preferable to stubbornly going down with the ship."

This blogger points toward another blogger, Bob Lefsetz, "a former industry executive who delights in pointing out how record companies, led by ossified management, have been totally eclipsed by the Internet and changing technology to the point where they're in danger of going out of business."

This guy's entry turns toward the newspaper industry.

"In other words, you can’t find the stories online. Steve Jobs’ mantra? Usability? It’s absent from each and every newspaper site except for the Wall Street Journal’s."

By the way, this has been a complaint of mine for a long time: I hate newspaper Web sites. I can't find anything. Ever. They're clouded with all kinds of nonsense. Sites make it miserably hard to find anything.

On that note, has anyone seen the redesigned Moonie Washington Times? Kind of an interesting approach.

I digress.

Anyways, this guy goes on:

"If those running the newspapers were so damn smart, they wouldn’t be in this predicament. Lee Abrams is looking to save their business. Whereas the Netizens are looking to kill it."

I think there's some valid points in what this guy has to say. But where I relate is how newspaper owners completely failed to adapt or change. For that matter, I think it sometimes applies to newsroom management, as well.

I can remember proposing blogs to a newsroom manager at another employer back in 2002, 2003 --- sometime in that era. I was laughed off with a variety of excuses of how it would blur the lines between news and opinion, etc.

"No one cares about blogs," an editor once told me.

Now I'm not proposing blogs were the end-all, be-all, by any means. Heck, half the blogs out there are just regurgitation of facts spilled out from a reporter's notebook with no personality. Doesn't make me want to read.

But my point?

We. Were. A. Monopoly. Who. Got. Our. Ass. Kicked. By. Sitting. Still. And. Pretending. Things. Would. Always. Be. The. Same.

And now, here are we. We're canning people left and right. And while it sucks that reporters are getting punished for the misdeeds of their owners (isn't it always the worker bees who get pummeled while the failed CEO trots off with millions?), maybe the owners are getting what they've long deserved --- welcome to competing.

It's time to sack up and innovate or go home, owners. What will you do?

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

I have already broken my promise...

Not too long ago, I decided it was time to post more often here. Maybe I'd post some random thoughts about something new I was know, self-indulgent stuff.

But I've broken my promise.

It's been a couple weeks since our editor told us to expect layoffs in the newsroom. In fact, it was the week after IRE. A lot of numbers have floated around, but it's safe to say we're talking significant layoffs from a newsroom of 300 or so reporters and editors.

It's real tough to stay motivated about journalism when the ax is falling all around you. Mr. Hartnett up in swanky Palm Beach Co. has a picture that illustrates things perfectly.

I realize THIS is the time we have to stay motivated. This is when we have to innovate, kick ass and take names. But it's almost like you need that period to catch your breath, to take account of what's happening and what's going to happen.

Monday, June 23, 2008

I need a new shrine...or offering...human sacrifice, maybe?

For those who don't know, our friends down south at the Miami Herald had an idea to save their jobs: Make offerings to the Santeria chicken brought in by some priest. Or that's how I understand the story.

So I made a little electronic shrine to the chicken over at a site I set up for just this reason.

But either the chicken didn't like being mocked, or the Santeria chicken didn't work, bringing to mind scenes from the movie Major League:

Pedro Cerrano: Bats, they are sick. I cannot hit curveball. Straightball I hit it very much. Curveball, bats are afraid. I ask Jobu to come, take fear from bats. I offer him cigar, rum. He will come.
Eddie Harris: You know you might think about taking Jesus Christ as your savior instead of fooling around with all this stuff.
Roger Dorn: Shit, Harris.
Pedro Cerrano: Jesus, I like him very much, but he no help with curveball.
Eddie Harris: You trying to say Jesus Christ can't hit a curveball?

Anyone have an idea of a new shrine to make offerings? Human sacrifice? It's all in the name of not being canned. Judging from this article, we could use all the help we can get.