Insomniactive as Media Opthamologist

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.


The Year Media Died

September 25, 2009

From my friend Dave Sikora.  Maybe it’s not nine minutes funny, but it’s still pretty damned good.

Warren Hellman Brings Non-Profit Journalism to the Bay Area

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.

Read more:

The First Step is a Doozy

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.

All Hail NYMag

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.

Maureen Dowd on Women’s Happiness

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?”

Evan Smith’s Texas Monthly Farewell

September 17, 2009

This really is a marvelous piece by a terrific guy.  Glad he’s the captain of our new ship.