JGFitzgerald -- June 25th, 2007

There’s so much news out there, it’s sometimes hard to remember where it showed up first. But increasingly, as in the story about SNP air quality, the story shows up here first, with a link to the source material, then a few days later in the local newspaper, with a link only to the email address of the reporter who, often, rewrote the source material and added a couple of quotes. It’s hard to get around the conclusion that blogs like this are furballs the size of peach pits crawling around eating the eggs of giant MSM lizards dragging their tails through the jungle floor while watching their audience die out. Maybe they should add more quotes.

14 Responses to “DiNosauRs?”

  1. finnegan says:

    In all fairness, the DNR is the first website I go to in the morning. I quote from (and link to) it heavily.

    However, I’ve often wondered why the DNR doesn’t hyperlink more, or post more stories online as soon as they’re finished. Why wait until the story is old news? Once in a while, if there’s a shooting or bank robbery, they do have a “breaking news” update, but not very often. To borrow a quote from the Staunton News Leader’s Dennis Neal (again) they’re “following the dinosaur business model and pretending that TV and the Internet haven’t been invented.”

    There is a difference. For example, compare the DNR’s dead blogs to The News Leader’s blog page/local aggregator.

    I do this as a hobby, but I don’t envy reporters and their daily deadlines. Really, the only way to do any sort of in-depth journalism is to spend a lot of time on a piece. Daily deadlines can often hinder/prohibit that. Plus, I know from personal experience that newspaper editors can shrug off or kill reporters’ ideas for stories. Equally frustrating.

  2. JGFitzgerald says:

    It’s in general a frustrating business, with deadlines cutting a story off halfway through, leaving the possibility of two stories, or three-quarters of the way, leaving the likelihood of a quarter of it being untold while a reporter moves on to something else the next day. But while the Internet should free newspeople from that cutoff, those following the dinosaur model still think they’re putting a newspaper on the Internet, which they are like so not.
    Those papers that lead, like the Post, have a robust web presence while still printing stories like the four-part profile this week of VP Strangelove. I wonder if they’ll expand to cover Richmond when the Times-Dispatch follows a 1950s business model into oblivion, and if Staunton will step in when the DNR follows the same path.

  3. justin says:

    Wikipedia on Newspapers poses the debate: What is a newspaper?

    Online newspapers covers things such as libel, misleading information, and blogs. Things that will definitely go away once more experienced editors and writers move over to online.

    It also projects that, for instance, the DNR will post breaking news on their website, while leaving summarizing coverage for the newspaper.

    But what about paper usage? Costs of delivery? Gas prices? Labor/printing prices?

    But I think we can all agree newspapers are going the way of the dodo. We just have to wait for the stop-the-presses generation to fade away. Home and mobile internet usage is going to have to penetrate way more than it has right now for a newspaper to say it’s pointless to print anymore. They will co-exist for awhile (another 30-50 years?), but electronic media will take over eventually.

    Look at magazines. Wired, a monthly magazine, still charges a lot for a subscription but they have tons of online content that never shows up in the print version, but everything shows up online. I wonder what model they follow?

    BTW, it’s Transformers on the cover this month. Mmmmmm….

  4. finnegan says:

    I don’t know that blogs will ever go away now. I think they may change, but most people use blogs as an outlet, for the same reason people have always had journals, or written letters to the editor.

    IMO, the best paper in the state is probably the Roanoke Times. Their coverage of the VT shootings was better than any national media outlet. They updated the website often in a live-blog fashion, but because they were local, they knew where the line was and didn’t cross it.

  5. …but…but…but if the DNR ceases to exist how will I satisfy my intellectually masochistic tendancies?! I suppose newspapers, like anything else, will either adapt or die. What would happen if the DNR went out of business? Would other forms of media take its place? What would I do over my lunch break if there was no more DNR Forum page? I could listen to my tape recording of nails on a chalk-board. Yeah, that’s a good way to maintain normalcy.

  6. Bubby says:

    IMO, the best paper in the state is probably the Roanoke Times.

    I’ll take it one step further: The best TV station (WDBJ7) and the best public radio station (WVTF) in Virginia are in Roanoke. Which always surprises me since so many other regions of the state have a stronger economy, and should be able to support better media.

  7. Barnabas says:

    The nice thing about a newspaper is that its lightweight and you can easily take it anywhere. If you spill coffee on it, you swear, wipe it off with a towel and everything is okay. When you’re done with a newspaper you think nothing of giving it to somebody else to read or let letting him or her have a section when you finished with it. I remember as a kid grabbing the sports section to check the box scores for the Oakland A’s while my parents where reading the local and national news sections. When you open a newspaper you have enough info to fill a screen 24”x 36”. While notebook PCs are becoming lighter and more convenient they do not make a good makeshift umbrella in an emergency. When they make a disposable solar powered tablet PC that can fold or roll up and you can stick it in your pocket this is when the newspaper will become obsolete. I think it was ‘Minority Report’ where they had the futuristic newspaper with images that moved and updated on the page, it was a tech version of the magic newspapers in Harry Potter. So if the dinosaurs of newspapers aren’t going to get techno they need to hire some wizards.

  8. larsen says:

    I still say it’s no fun to curl up on the sofa with a laptop. Plus, when you’re leading at one story, a picture or another story may catch your eye and take you in a whole new direction. Reading just what’s on the screen is like the Hubbell showing us the universe through a soda straw.

  9. larsen says:

    Make that “looking” at one story.

  10. JGFitzgerald says:

    One managing editor I worked for (or whose job I did for him, depending on how you want to phrase it) always argued that the newspaper would survive because you could take it to the bathroom with you. I always thought that was an odd thing on which to base one’s belief in the survival of an industry.

    The question for the newspaper industry is what percentage of its readership it has to lose before it tanks, or perhaps what percentage it has to keep to survive. A quarter buy it for the portability, but that’s not enough. Fifteen percent don’t have computers, but that’s not enough. Two percent want their crossword puzzle on paper, but that’s not enough. Most papers seem to still be at the stage of cutting staff to maintain profit margins and subsidizing studies that tell them — wait for it — readership is declining.

  11. Justin says:

    Barnabas…isn’t that against some kind of newspaper user agreement? Sharing newspapers?? And if I spilled coffee on my newspaper, I’d try to take it back. It’s probably under warranty. But only if you don’t do the crossword…that probably breaks the warranty.

  12. David Miller says:

    Justin, I love the analogy. Software EUA vs Newspaper user Agreement. I hereby solemnly swear to burn my newspaper after use. Sharing my newspaper with another individual robs the Daily News Record of its well deserved profits and therefore limits the capital the DNR can utilize for future such publications/innovations. Therefore, only criminals share newspapers. Would you steal a purse?

  13. MF says:

    I would like to point out that in the editorial page of the DNR today one of the letters to the editor mistakenly refers to Osama Bin Laden as Obama in its title.

  14. David Miller says:

    It would be silly of the DNR to publish letters that are , ohh never mind. Fish in a barrel

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