Brutal, blunt piece on the future of newspapers, or the lack thereof

For an industry built on a foundation of truth-telling, the newspaper business sure has trouble telling the truth about itself.

Last month at the World Newspaper Congress in Turin, Italy, the chief spokesperson for U.S.-based dailies, Newspaper Association of America President Caroline Little, gave publishers, editors and educators from around the world a presentation on “the current state of newspaper media in the United States.”

Little’s PowerPoint show was a work of art. With her palette of selective statistics, context-less trend statements and stock photos of smiling, young news consumers, she painted an uplifting masterpiece worthy of the Italian master Botticelli. His cherubic angels were Little’s news-hungry Millennials; his dancing nymphs were her nimble publishers.More.

It’s all a matter of perspective

NewYork Times: Push to Renew Health Plans Finds Unlikely State Allies


President Obama is getting surprising support among some states on allowing the renewal of canceled health insurance plans: Of the 13 states that have said they will allow it, all but four are led by Republicans.

Washington Post: Tech problems trip up Md.’s health exchange

Lena H. Sun

The state, one of the most enthusiastic supporters of the new health-care law, is struggling with unexpectedly weak enrollment in its insurance exchange.

Miami Herald offers buyouts to copy editors, photographers, columnists and critics

This voluntary program is limited to full-time employees in three groups – photo, the copy desk and columnists/critics.  All eligible employees will be contacted by their supervisors this morning. — More.

It’s ironic the direction newspapers are headed. For decades local radio stations have had lean staff where about everyone does about everything, from reporting to traffic to promos to selling ads. Specialization is a rarity in radio with perhaps the  exception being the kind of music played and, of course, UT football. News like the Herald’s is just the latest example. The paper is moving away from what used to be considered critical specializations. They’re not the first, and won’t be the last. You might say they are becoming the 21st century model of 20th century radio.

Newspaper CEO hands out a $1.25 vending machine token for staffers’ birthdays

“Has to be the most insulting note I’ve ever gotten,” says a gift recipient. “Rather you send me nothing for my birthday than make me walk downstairs for a free stale pop. Meanwhile, think anyone at our paper can get a new battery pack for their equipment? No way. Christman won’t approve that.”More.

A pinhead showing he’s a bonehead.

A sea-change in the newspaper world; and can you imagine the KNS not covering the Vols?

While the sales of the Boston Globe and the Washington Post have dominated media news the past week, another seismic tremor hit an industry that’s gone largely unnoticed.

Imagine the Knoxville News Sentinel announcing that beginning with the upcoming season it was outsourcing coverage of University of Tennessee football. Well, in Iowa City, home of the Iowa Hawkeyes, that’s exactly what the city’s Iowa City Press-Citizen plans to do, according to a respected journalism news website.  Instead, the P-C will run coverage from its sister Gannett paper, the Des Moines Register, 114 miles from Iowa City.

“This is a Big Ten town! I think we’d be the only Big Ten town that doesn’t have the local newspaper covering college sports,” said KCJJ-TV owner Steve Soboroff.

At least on the surface, the news would seem consistent with the massive amount of layoffs that have occurred at Gannett over the last couple of weeks.

Still, I went over to the P-C’s website to check out sports stories. Here’s a story done by a Register sports writer headlined: Hawkeyes announce another player departure.’ Here’s another one by the same Register writer: ‘Ex-Hawkeye Ballard making impact with Vikings

Imagine the KNS farming out a major story on the Vols’ quarterbacks and wide receivers. Well, at the P-C there’s this, ‘Hawkeyes jittery about QB, receiver positions as practice begins,’ authored by another Register sports writer.

Newspapers should note that the interception rate of Hail Mary passes is 33 percent, compared to the overall rate of 2.7 in the NFL. Looks like here’s another MSM pass destined to be intercepted by social media.

UPDATE: Iowa Press-Citizen sports editor Ryan Suchomel was let go Tuesday. …

UPDATE: The Press-Citizen Is Abandoning Iowa Sports, And That’s Awful News

UPDATE: I’m told that the paper had decided to use the Register’s resources for Hawkeyes coverage rather than cut another Press-Citizen newsroom position.