September 29, 2009
So. Pretend you’re in commercial media. Or, suspend your reality suspension and just say you’re simply a fan of Tony Romo or (coming rapidly to a Twin City near you) Brett Favre. Better here….or here?
I don’t feel sorry for newspaper publishers who think that putting their sports stuff behind paywalls is a good idea. I do feel sorry for the poor souls who are actually wasting their time executing said directive.
September 25, 2009
From my friend Dave Sikora. Maybe it’s not nine minutes funny, but it’s still pretty damned good.
September 25, 2009
This is just marvelous, stunning news:
San Francisco financier Warren Hellman will invest $5 million to develop a nonprofit journalism venture that will provide regional news coverage online and feed stories to media partners including KQED and possibly the New York Times.
September 24, 2009
This from Judy Sims, formerly VP Digital at the Toronto Star Media Group: “4 Easy Steps to Becoming a New News Organization.” This is not bad, as these things go. But it leaves out the central fact: this “news organization” is tiny. What it cannibalizes is big.
September 20, 2009
I know next to nothing about entertainment journalism. I’m not a big consumer, and I don’t know much about the business. But holy moley, New York’s 9/14 cover package on late-night tv must be the best representative of the genre I’ve ever read. It’s anchored by a long Peter Kaplan article, but maybe the most fascinating part is the map that traces the evolution of the late-night genre over the past 50 years. And mercy, just the writing:
These are sunny, long-shadowed days in New York City; September is the deceptively glorious season of loss. The city is reborn but perhaps not quite rejuvenated: Our slightly weary-looking mayor is running for a third term, looking not so much like a raffish billionaire as late-issue Mayor Wagner. Our trademarked paragons of wealth and celebrity—Trumps, Hiltons, Diddys—seem either recession-worn or just a little silly. The valiant New York Times, gallant as a Rudyard Kipling regiment, is fighting for its life, waiting for the bugle calls of reinforcements or mini-payments. Wars grind on, the recession spits few gold coins, the one-woman ambition generator named Hillary R. Clinton is exporting her Lucy Van Pelt–like certitude to other nations, her replacement senator a genial mockery of the system. The Yankees are winning, that’s true, with a brutally efficient iteration of the team, but the long summer and the economy have draped gray through the town and even our lovely new mascot president seems careworn and drained.
Two things related and more fascinating still: I never would have stumbled across this in a web-only world. And second, the best bits don’t reproduce at all well electronically.
All hail, NYMag. Magazines absoutely have a place, but they need to be this good.
September 20, 2009
Her Sunday essay sent me scrambling to find the General Social Survey, which has been published since 1972. Lord, what a way to kill a morning. From it, she extracted some tidbits about the trends in women’s happiness. The big one, and the big surprise for me, is kids:
One area of extreme distraction is kids. “Across the happiness data, the one thing in life that will make you less happy is having children,” said Betsey Stevenson, an assistant professor at Wharton who co-wrote a paper called “The Paradox of Declining Female Happiness.” “It’s true whether you’re wealthy or poor, if you have kids late or kids early. Yet I know very few people who would tell me they wish they hadn’t had kids or who would tell me they feel their kids were the destroyer of their happiness.”
As I’m neither a parent nor a woman, I’m utterly unqualified to comment, other than to say, “huh?”
September 17, 2009
This really is a marvelous piece by a terrific guy. Glad he’s the captain of our new ship.
September 12, 2009
Paul’s post is about as crisp and cogent analysis of the current state of play as I’ve seen. In part:
The health care debate is rather simple, really. The fundamental problem is this: There are three elements to any health care reform: cost of care, quality of care, and breadth (coverage) of care. It is easy to design a system that takes care of any two of these, but extremely difficult to design a system that takes care of all three. The other fundamental fact is that most people who have health insurance are pretty happy with what they have. They get quality care at an affordable price, which is paid for by somebody else, usually their employer. Yes, that price keeps going up, and eventually it will become unsustainable, but for now, they don’t see a reason to change. Nor do they believe that the cost will come down if the government is in charge. To sum it up, the Democrats made the worst mistake they could make. They started acting like a bunch of liberals.
September 11, 2009
So now CNN reports that South Carolina Republican and self-appointed Hyena in Chief Joe Wilson has raised $200k in the wake of his calculated, embarrassing stunt . Unfortunately, the rest of the country seems to be a lot more embarrassed than Rep. Wilson:
“On these issues, I will not be muzzled, I will speak up and speak loudly against this risky plan,” Wilson said in a YouTube video released Thursday evening. “The supporters of the government takeover of health care and the liberals who want to give health care to illegals are using my opposition as an excuse to distract from the critical questions being raised about this poorly conceived plan.”
The congressman disbursed the video via Twitter and asked his followers to “please watch and pass on.”
“[Democrats] want to silence anyone who speaks out against it,” Wilson also says in the video. “They made it clear they want to defeat me and pass the plan. I need your help now. … Contribute to my effort to defeat the proponents of government-run health care.”
As Politico reports this morning, South Carolina has a long history of rough-and-tumble politics, some of it (or most of it, depending on whom you believe) racially tinged. But honestly, surely any clear-eyed American can see that this behavior is not only cynical, but unpatriotic. Where are calls of formal censure from the Republican leadership? We haven’t heard a peep.
I don’t begrudge Rep. Wilson his convictions that the Obama health care plan is a sure road to hell, with shockingly healthy illegal aliens serving as shameful mile markers along the way. Whatever. But I’d like to ask him one question, which my grandmother would ask me when I really disappointed her:
“What if everybody behaved that way?”
September 5, 2009
Interesting and sympathetic article about the Grahams and their position with the Washington Post in Vanity Fair. I love this turn of phrase:
In a sense, the Grahams are managing, and financing, their own transformation into lesserness. They will not be—can’t be—the first family of news in the nation’s capital anymore. That privilege is gone.
They’ll be much less dominant and much less important—along with everybody else in the news business. (Even in an ideal world, where, in the description of former Post editor and MarketWatch founder Larry Kramer, a “billion-dollar news business making $200 million becomes a $200 million business making $75 million,” it’s a smaller, much less impressive pie.)
Come to think of it, sooner or later, don’t we all face the challenge of “managing ourselves to lesserness?”