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Reporter blogs on his former paper's site about layoffs

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by bigpern23, Nov 21, 2011.

  1. bigpern23

    bigpern23 Well-Known Member

  2. Rhody31

    Rhody31 Well-Known Member

    I will confirm BigPern not being Jim Craven.
  3. PCLoadLetter

    PCLoadLetter Well-Known Member

    Two thoughts...

    1) I've seen a number of these columns in the last couple of years (which is a pretty sad commentary on the state of newspapers, obviously), and pretty consistently, I think the writers are way too emotionally connected to what's happening to get what will resonate with the reader and what won't. In this case, the stuff about how the reporters were all dying to work 16 hour days but the bean-counters wouldn't let 'em... c'mon, man. And there's a great point to be made about the public meetings that will go uncovered; that point is not made by telling the reader he's going to have to get off his ass and turn off Dancing With the Stars.

    2) Posting it on the newspaper website is a dick move, and makes him look small.

    I get the frustration. I've been laid off in my career. It sucks, and it's scary, and it's frustrating. But it seems to me, doing something like this doesn't do anybody any good.
  4. sgreenwell

    sgreenwell Well-Known Member

    I can confirm that Rhody31 is not Jim Craven.
  5. podunk press

    podunk press Active Member

    I wonder about a lot of the stuff we cover at the community level.

    1. Do the masses care about high school field hockey? No. Will that coverage be missed? Probably by just a few dozens in the community.
    2. Do the masses care about town meetings? Most of the ones I go to draw three or four citizens, most of whom hate one, or more, Town Council members.
    3. Do the masses care about community arts coverage? I'm guessing they will go to an event if they like whoever is playing, regardless of newspaper coverage.

    I've been openly questioning lately whether or not our readers even care anymore about what we do. And when I say "we," I mean what "we" do as an industry. I know the publishers don't care. That's been proven by layoff after layoff and furlough after furlough.

    It's such a confounding, frustrating time.
  6. sgreenwell

    sgreenwell Well-Known Member

    Snark aside, and with the caveat that I work for Patch and thus focus solely on the local stuff, I do think there is an audience for it still. If anything, I think that newspapers sometimes take themselves too seriously, and that a good amount of them could reach a larger audience just by loosening up a bit and becoming less stodgy.

    I'm not advocating that they start running a slew of Bill Simmmons-esque columns. But, it's probably more important to be there covering some of the fluff assignments - the powderpuff football game that draws 500 people, the boy scout spaghetti dinners - than going to every single town council, school committee, zoning and planning board meeting. You're more likely to find out what interests and resonates with your audience if you go to the events they are actually at. It's always easier to network with people vs. authorities (politicians, police).

    However, at least in my experience, there has been a resistance from co-workers to go out and cover the off-beat stuff. (I grew up reading George Plympton, so I love covering weird crap.) Instead, it was people obsessed with the minutiae of government, or the assignment I always dreaded the most, "Another paper got this story so go out and do a shittier version of it after the fact, because we can't dare acknowledge that they exist!"
  7. podunk press

    podunk press Active Member

    I don't disagree about the meeting stuff.
  8. Double J

    Double J Active Member

    I think I can assume that Ricky Craven is not Jim Craven.
  9. Tarheel316

    Tarheel316 Well-Known Member

    I understand his frustration but the 16 hours reference was a bit melodramatic. And I am not Jim Craven.
  10. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    People may not care at all about meetings until they do -- when the town council is hiring a pedophile as police chief or some other horror.

    People may not care at all about field hockey until they do -- the kids or grandkids are playing.

    But the main purpose of the press isn't to get in volleyball scores or town council minutes -- it's to be there as a watchdog and to jump on stories where shady stuff is going on or be an effective deterrent for politicians and others to try to pull crap out of the public eye.
  11. I Should Coco

    I Should Coco Well-Known Member

    You're right about this. But I'd say with the amount of layoffs/staff reduction, the tradition of reporters assigned to specific "beats" is ending fast. Instead, we have a handful of GA reporters scrambling like mad to react whenever a controversy erupts at city hall, or there's a horrible crime to cover.

    The watchdog and institutional memory roles of newspapers are very important, but they don't pay the bills.
  12. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    The ads pay the bills.
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