Print editor canned for not getting net

Dateline: Fri 08 Oct 2010

First, thanks for the links a couple of you have been sending. Good material, all of it.

This one, however, is short and not-so-sweet -- about a top-notch editor and Pulitzer-winning journalist, one Bill Marimow of the Philadelphia Inquirer, who has been demoted from the paper's top job because "he did not have the background in digital media necessary to lead the paper going forward."

To quote Tom Henderson, who spotted this story: "The end is near."

That's a reference to my/your breed/generation; toast.

Side note about Marimow, from Gawker: he apparently is the flavor of the week with everyone except David Simon, the brilliantly talented former cop reporter who created television's The Wire. Simon worked for Marimow at the Baltimore Sun, and he styled an unsympathetic editor after his former boss in the TV series.

Count your days, if not your blessings.

As for Marimow -- sometimes it's better to rule in Hell than toil in Heaven. May he be happy back on the street, chasing tips.



hendy [Member] said:

On the list are the Philadelphia Inquirer, most of Sam Zell's Trib publications, Gannett's formularizing and dumb-sizing, and what's next?

2010-10-08 15:39:52

Tom Greenacres [unverified] said:

The beginning of the end hove into view when pagination became part of a reporter's responsibility.

The local typesetting industry disappeared virtually overnight, as desktop publishing rendered Weimer, Typo, Alexander and others redundant.

Bean counters figured that without a lot of effort, reporters could also format their stories...then format their pages...then design sections, and take photos...then, then.

Multitasking has proven to be a fiction: humans simply cannot do more than one thing at a time with equal skill. Many studies validate this. Yet newspapers came to believe that a reporter could also be a photographer, and designer, and web maven, producing finished, packaged "content" for print and electronic media. Content without much oversight.

I will send Marimow, poor chap, a membership application for the New Sons of Luddite.

2010-10-08 19:58:06

Robert Knilands [unverified] said:

User was banned for obnoxious trolling and the comment was removed. --Admin

2010-10-09 12:35:41

Tell The Truth [Member] said:

I like an eye-pleasing product. You can have both. There are and have been good examples.

But let's get real The Star was never a graphic masterpiece. Ever.

And now Varvel gets full-page comics. Idiotic.

2010-10-09 15:13:18

Robert Knilands [unverified] said:

User was banned for obnoxious trolling and the comment was removed. --Admin

2010-10-09 15:51:05

nicmart [Member] said:

It isn’t about multitasking, or pagination, or attractive pages. The problem is that for a very long time news editors and reporters have wanted to be close to government officials instead of making them uncomfortable. When journalists became part of the ruling class, newspapers died.

2010-10-10 16:06:33

Tom Greenacres [unverified] said:

"reporters have wanted to be close to government officials instead of making them uncomfortable."

You don't get anywhere with the power structure if you are always adversarial. My father was a newspaper reporter for a good daily and for 15 years he was the head dude on the political beat. He had pals on both sides of the aisle, counted both county chairmen as his friends, was buddies with each sheriff, etc. And never told anyone how he voted or whom he favored. And never spoke out of school about anyone, though it could be inferred whom he liked, and didn't, and often, why. He reported with accuracy and balance and avoided personal bile. Consequently, they all let him into the room. To paraphrase LBJ, you will learn more by being inside the tent pissing out, than outside the tent pissing in. If you are a known loudmouth, nobody is going to talk to you and you will never get the story.

Nobody will invite you to a party if they know your mission is to make them uncomfortable. Patently adversarial journalists will never get the insights that civility achieves.

Don't confuse "selling out" with responsible journalism.

2010-10-10 18:43:22

nicmart [Member] said:

Very little useful journalism depends on the cultivation of sources. Most of it comes from comparing the declarations and actions of public officials with known facts and outcomes. That is something almost never done by reporters, who, as a class, are conformists obsessed with respectability. They are as much Babbitts as the people they report on. There is nothing the typical reporter would like more than to be featured on dull but respectable shows like Indiana Week in Review. Reporters learn quickly not to ask impertinent questions that might disrupt their mutually parasitic relationships with government officials. There is no more effective soporific than the editorial page of nearly any local paper.

One could go for years, as I have, without buying a newspaper and be no less meaningfully informed. We learn little useful from reporters about how libraries spend tax monies, how wars are prosecuted, or the harm done by drug prohibition. Watching a documentary about My Lai last night, I was struck at how little realism there is in the reporting of America’s most recent wars. The reports from Vietnam were filled with blood and anguish, while today’s reporters barely raised a peep of protest when they were prohibited even from photographing flag-draped caskets. If they objected too loudly they wouldn’t get invited to the right parties.

But this debate is irrelevant because fewer people get their opinion and their news from professional journalists each day. The blogs are abuzz with diverse opinion such as one has never encountered in a daily paper or a Sunday talk show.

The term which best describes the modern mainstream journalist is “imbedded”; not just in war but in everything. Most of them harbor deep suspicion tending to disdain for anyone outside of the establishment. Dissidents do not host the best parties or spend money on advertising.

2010-10-10 20:58:00

Tom Greenacres [unverified] said:

"The blogs are abuzz with diverse opinion such as one has never encountered in a daily paper or a Sunday talk show."

Abuzz indeed, flitting from flower to flower without fear of contradiction, without worring about multiple sources, without concern for facts.

Blogs attract readers who agree with the blogger. People do indeed, as you say, get their opinions from blogs; and perhaps their news, sometimes.

I will not defend the current state of journalism. Fox is unwatchable; when did the standard for "reporting" come to mean several people opinionating at once? The attempt to feed the monster has given us as a consequence hours of ghastly and redundant opinionating. I prefer BBC America and the Economist for news reporting, and NBC network news in the evening because it is mercifully short.

The biggest problem is that people no longer know where to go to get factual, trustworthy, unbiased, timely news coverage. The WSJ used to give us some of that, with an acknowledged pro business bias, until Rupert turned it into a blantant horn for his views.

Blogs are entertaining, and I recommend propublica as a litmus test for news legitimacy; but blogs are not now nor ever will be a bona fide replacement for good newspapering.

2010-10-11 09:25:51

hendy [Member] said:

There are online news sites that have decent news, and other sites that dig down fairly well. None of them are fronted by bloggers, but may indeed be augmented by them.

I'll take as an example the NYT site, and reading columnist Frank Rich, who in my parlance, blogs on their site because I now NEVER read their printed paper. There is no reason to.

We don't identify news from journalism from opinion from analysis. I'd love to see a small icon that helps the reader identify which is what. Further, whenever a picture has been altered in any way, an icon needs to let people know that fact.

2010-10-11 12:57:11

nicmart [Member] said:

There are plenty of good, well edited blogs. For example economist Mark Perry's Carpe Diem:

One simply has to locate them.

The idea that newspapers are filled with accurate information is ludicrous. My long experience with them is consonant with George Orwell's, as reflected in his observation:

"Early in life I had noticed that no event is ever correctly reported in a newspaper."

Of course the media rarely admit or correct their errors.

Mencken had it about right:

"A newspaper is a device for making the ignorant more ignorant and the crazy crazier."

The difference between now and when Mencken wrote that is that newspapers are excruciatingly dull. And they would never publish Mencken, whose views would not be considered sufficiently respectable, and who would refuse to stay imbedded on the editorial reservation.

If it were left up to newspaper editors, the Duke Lacrosse players would be serving prison terms and the vile prosecutor still ensconced in his job. Newspapers reported his prosecutorial abuse reluctantly, and only after bloggers had covered them for months. This is the norm, not the exception. Most government abuse and malfeasance is reported by blogs, not by the respectable press.

Locally, one can learn more from Paul Ogden's blog about the dirty dealings of local politicians than from the Star, which doesn't want to threaten its cozy ties with politicians. Parties, you know, but more importantly, the Star is itself a powerful member of the establishment.

I like my journalism less respectable (i.e., obsequious) and more aggressive, and I don't give a damn if reporters are invited to social affairs with politicians. So far as I'm concerned political reporters are barely more than PR flacks for the swindlers they cover.

Defending newspapers is to defend the ancien regime. Newspapers having failed us, citizen journalists are doing the risk-taking work that mainstream journalists shy from.

2010-10-12 08:33:05

VladTheImpaler [unverified] said:

Citizen journalists have value. They're a healthy part of a balanced information diet. But to condemn newspapers out of hand is taking it a bit far.

2010-10-13 17:48:20

nicmart [Member] said:

I don’t condemn newspapers; I condem the sort of papers, offering bland, establishment journalism, that are the rule from coast to coast.

2010-10-13 19:14:05

hendy [Member] said:

There is McDonald's, and there is the Midtown Cafe. There is the Geo Metro, and the Mercedes 6.9. There is the Bloomington H-T, and the Indianapolis Star.

My helmet is on. Fire away.

2010-10-14 12:27:35

Robert Knilands [unverified] said:

User was banned for obnoxious trolling and the comment was removed. --Admin

2010-10-17 02:14:40

indykjsharp [Member] said:

bloggers didn't break this:

Breaking News Alert
The New York Times
Thu, October 21, 2010 -- 5:53 PM ET

Top Corporations Helping U.S. Chamber of Commerce Influence Campaigns

Prudential Financial sent in a $2 million donation last year as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce launched a national advertising campaign to weaken the historic rewrite of the nation's financial regulations.

Dow Chemical delivered $1.7 million to the chamber last year as the group took a leading role in aggressively fighting proposed new rules to tighten security requirements on chemical facilities.

And Goldman Sachs, Chevron Texaco, and Aegon, a multinational insurance company based in the Netherlands, donated more than
$8 million in recent years to a chamber foundation seeking to limit the ability of trial lawyers to sue businesses.

These large donations -- none of which were publicly disclosed by the chamber -- offer a glimpse of the chamber's money-raising efforts, which it has ramped up recently in an orchestrated campaign to become one of the most well-financed critics of the Obama administration and an influential player in this fall's Congressional elections.

Read More:

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2010-10-21 20:35:44

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