Sunday, 3 June 2007

Fishwrap Fear

First off, I commend law enforcement officials for their efforts over the past year to diffuse this movie-plot threat while it was still in the planning stage. This is proof investment in investigation pays off more than in airport screenings.

“Several law enforcement officials said, however, there have been no direct threat[s] to the airport and that the suspects had yet to obtain financing or explosives.”

That quote* – buried on A18 of today’s Sunday Strib – proves the story doesn’t belong on the front page. Especially since – also on A18 – a much shorter story (“A Snag in the Plot…”) confirms:

“…the level of catastrophe that may be created is much more limited that most people would expect..” –


“…jet fuel doesn’t easily explode.”

At, the JFK movie-plot threat is the second headline (and falling) in the second section a couple screenviews down. In terms of priority, importance, and relevance, this is where the story belongs.

The asymmetry between the placement as lead story in the print edition and insignificance placement online betrays the actual news-worthiness of the story (none) and the differences between fishwrap news editors and online news editors (apparently, the easily frightened buy fishwrap while the more thoughtful read online).

Lastly, this is the second time in as many days and with as many newspapers where I’ve struggled to find a print-edition story in on a newspaper’s website. Just as I expect retail stores to have symmetrical catalogs between their online and offline offerings, I expect the same from publishers.

*Oddly, I couldn’t find this quote in the online version.

Saturday, 2 June 2007

I’m trying to find the online version of an article in Today’s PiPress. This is really hard.

Searching for the author’s name doesn’t work. Copying the headline from the PDF version of the front page and pasting it into search doesn’t work.

Found it.

I Googled for the headline, the only result – Chuck’s posting of the article.

Here it is: On vacation, but still in the loop. Hi, I’m Garrick and I take my laptop on vacation. Especially to places I love.

Thanks to Julio, Chuck, and Google.

I forgot to mention all the blogging I did on that trip.

Re-reading those posts, looks like we’re just now flirting with the low end of the gas prices I saw in Europe 6 months ago.

Monday, 30 April 2007

A First Step

“…take 100 great journalists, give them small HD camcorders and laptops and say ‘here’s your camera, there’s the door….They could upload their stories and feed them to a web site, 24 hours a day…..and it would not cost all that much…say we paid each of our 100 reporters, $140,000 a year. Where would you get the money from?… take the $14 million you’re paying Katie Couric and guess what… you’re there.” – Jeff Jarvis

Wednesday, 21 March 2007

Ad Standards for Newspapers?

“Several wondered if the ad met the Star Tribune’s standards for acceptable advertising or if it was a mistake.” – Kate Parry, Star Tribune’s ombudsman

Here’s our panel’s reaction to the issue:

  • Snarky Garrick: “Until readers directly provide the Strib with enough revenue that advertising isn’t needed, their complaints should go in the recycling bin with the paper itself.”
  • Intrigued Garrick: “I doubt either answer will satisfy those that asked.”
  • Media Mogul Garrick: “Send me the names and contact info of the people with complaints, I have a few other brands I’d like to expose them to.”


“What confuses people is that ABC News logo screaming “official journalism!” – Chuck Olsen

Nope. Didn’t confuse me.

Of all the parties involved, the only person I might sometimes expect hard-question-asking “official journalism” from is…not Amanda Congdon, not ABC News, and not DuPont…but Chuck Olsen himself.

Advertising on the other hand is a completely different topic. I expect it from everyone I’ve listed above and I prefer Chuck’s.

Thursday, 18 January 2007

The News Block by Block

“The future of media is to stop boring us with news that doesn’t relate to our lives. I’ll start reading my ‘local’ newspaper again when it covers my block.” – Chris Anderson

Chris nails the idea I’ve talked about on this blog (1, 2, 3) and in numerous lunches: the blog-on-every-corner news.

St. Anthony Village is a pretty small town geographically, 3 square miles. Imagine if just the houses on the corners published something community-related every other day. That’s 1/3 of your neighbors writing about what’s happening on their block – regularly. More frequently than any of the papers – all without an ‘Associated Press’ byline.

Sure, the same topics will be covered…but the importance (relevance + intimacy + community) will be so much greater. Plus, far greater comprehensiveness on any given subject whether High School Ice Hockey or City Council proceedings. Overlap verifies.

Later 11 Apr 2007
I just picked up

Wednesday, 10 January 2007

‘Surrender’ Has Such a Negative Connotation

“What is killing newspapers, as I’ve written before, is…their antiquated distribution system…Dropping newspapers on driveways and putting them in corner boxes is cumbersome, compared with internet distribution.” – Shel Israel

Not to mention theft-prone:

“I didn’t want to cancel the paper because that would mean a complete surrender to the Internet and admittance of the fact that a printed newspaper is no longer necessary.” – Dmitry Kiper

Monday, 8 January 2007

Wednesday, 3 January 2007

Stop the Presses – Save the Journalism

NickelNuts pointed me to an article by media lawyer, Steven P. Aggergaard article via instant messaging, I read it in my web browser, and then posted this to a weblog.

Aggergaard is arguing we need to keep paper in newspaper – because that equals journalism and full-time jobs. Despite all the costs and overhead he lists out. In addition, the quality of information delivered online for free (versus $0.50 for a daily paper – Huh?) is some how not as valuable.

Minneapolis and St. Paul have a huge need for a hyper-local citizen (not consumer) journalism form. Something closer to what the smaller papers (St. Anthony Bulletin, Northeaster, Downtown Journal) are doing – but without the paper.

NickelNuts and I have talked about this, and in fact, yesterday over lunch I blurted out: “What would it take to make this happen?”

One website – or news paper – or television channel – or radio station – does not a well informed citizen make. But, what about 350 blogs written by your neighbors?

Dave has some great comments. I’m less concerned about an overarching editorial voice, and more interested in relevance delivered for and by local voices.

A great point and a wonderful tie back to Aggergaard’s original post.

“…readers don’t care. They just want the most complete, accurate and engaging coverage possible. They don’t how we make the sausage, or even who makes it. They just want to eat.” – Robert Niles

Aggergaard responds and corrects in the comments. I follow-up.

Wednesday, 27 December 2006

The Widing Space Between News and Paper

Earlier this year – for about 3 months – McClatchy owned both the St. Paul Pioneer Press and the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Now…they own neither. After selling the PP to MediaNewsGroup in August, the Strib is now owned by a holding company with stakes in the Weekly Reader, yearbook publisher Jostens, and real estate marketing materials publisher Merrill Corp.

Here’s the reaction from the pundits:
Snarky Garrick: “Now there is in fact, no difference between the Weekly Reader and the Star Tribune.”

Intrigued Garrick: “Broadsheet newspapers are now considered a specialty publication, like yearbooks and home-for-sale brochures. Huh. Looks like Avista doesn’t have a lot of holdings in internet technology. Why’d they buy more printing presses?”

Media Mogul Garrick: “The separation between news and paper is nearly complete. Avista just needs to divest themselves of the writing staff.”

Thanks to Matt @ for the tip.


“But half the price of the original purchase? And no interest from other newspaper companies? Those are signs of deepening malaise, or worse, in the newspaper business.” – Dan Gillmor

“…if Avista behaves like most private equity investors, they’ll come in to the Star Tribune with their knives sharpened, ready to slash costs. That could mean cutting staff in the newsroom…” – John Morton in MPR’s report on the sale.

Monday, 18 December 2006

Where Theory and Practice in Publishing Differ

“…a newspaper blog, for example, has higher standards to maintain than a teenager’s rant blog…” – Mark Gisleson

While I expect a higher standard of reporting from anything run through a printing press and sent over the FM dial (between 88.3 and 91.1) it’s a rare occasion the higher standard is delivered.

In fact, I’m pretty sure, these publishers are actually structured to deliver a lower standard than the random teenager’s MySpace page; supported by big ad dollars, needing to support expensive infrastructure (equipment, full-time staff, benefits), writing at or below a 4th-grade level, artificially restricted newshole, etc.

This weekend, paging through the Sunday paper, I gave some thought to how I might change newspapers;

  • Day 1: End all print publications.
  • Day 2: Install a multi-blog network engine for all staff and community leaders.
  • Day 3: Schedule free journalism courses in every neighborhood.
  • Day 4: Use staff to curate and develop the larger stories – tying neighborhood reports together. With lots and lots of links, pictures, audio, and video.


“I look forward to the day when Time and other traditional magazines fully embrace us when it comes to the journalism.” – Dan Gillmor

“….Time is, separating themselves where there is no separation.” – Dave Winer

“So if Time were doing its job properly, it would highlight a million people of the year. But, of course, it can’t. The form doesn’t allow it. And the form is what led to massthink. But mass is over.” – Jeff Jarvis

“At its best news informs and enlightens the citizens of a free society and thereby safeguards and strengthens our democracy. At its worst–dishonest, unfair, irresponsible–the media has potential to erode the public trust on which its own success depends and to corrode the democratic system of which it is so indispensably a part. So, let me touch on 10 current trends in the mass media that ought to disturb us.” – Peter R. Kann

Mr. Kann’s 10 trends are dead on – though, I think they are all different shades of his first:
“The blurring of the lines between journalism and entertainment”.

Back in October, Doc Searls listed his 10 ways to improve newspapers. I suspect unconsciously percolated in my head for 2 months.