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.