Today's Goodies: Cauthorn Webcast; Parks Retrospective

View the webcast (QuickTime) to discover why my compatriot Bob Cauthorn, founder of and the former vice president of Digital Media at the San Francisco Chronicle, was introduced as “a thorn in the site of the newspaper industry” prior to his lecture last month at the University of California at Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism.

Cauthorn addresses why today’s local newspapers aren’t really local; why newspapers shouldn’t blog but should work with outside bloggers; how newspapers could better use their readers’ input to focus their news instincts; the value of free newspaper archives online; why newspapers should be open tagging their online content; why Yahoo!’s hiring of reporters is merely a Geraldo Rivera-like stunts and not really journalism; and much more. His speech was part of the New Media Lecture Series sponsored by the Western Knight Center for Specialized Journalism and Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation.

Some newspapers are doing brilliant work online. While judging an awards contest, I discovered the Houston Chronicle‘s exceptionally thorough and up-to-date The Fall of Enron special report and also El Resumen 2005 annual retrospective by El País of Madrid. The Chronicle‘s Enron coverage is stellar example of how to comprehensively cover a major local event. And what can I write about El País, which has long been the world’s leader in print and online graphics, as so ably used in their 2005 retrospective.

Meanwhile, recognition of the importance of online editions continue to grow. recMiami Herald Executive Editor Tom Fiedler yesterday issued a memo to his staff declaring:

    … we will make delivering that journalism on and our other media platforms just as high
    a priority as delivering it in The Miami Herald. Let me
    repeat that for emphasis: Just as high.

    We are beyond being satisfied with incremental change and
    giving polite head nods toward other media platforms. We
    are going to execute fundamental restructuring to support
    that pledge. Every job in the newsroom — EVERY JOB — is
    going to be redefined to include a web responsibility and,
    if appropriate, radio. For news gatherers, this means posting
    everything we can as soon as we can. It means using the
    web site to its fullest potential for text, audio and video.
    We’ll come to appreciate that is not an
    appendage of the newsroom; it’s a fundamental product of
    the newsroom.

    No more will some people be strictly newspaper staff and
    others will be strictly on-line or multi-media staff. If
    you produce news, you’ll be expected to produce it as
    effectively for the electronic reader or listener as you
    would for the newspaper reader. If you edit or design for
    the newspaper, you’ll learn to edit and design for the web

Heidi Cohen, in her marketing column for, notes how publishers of printed periodicals are finally getting serious about shifting their business online and what advertisers should do about that.

I’m constantly fascinated by the data compiled by The Tyndall Report about thre three traditional TV news reports (ABC, CBS, and NBC) in the U.S.. For example, take a look at how those networks covered events during 2005 or last week.

I blame TV news for killing the great picture news magazines. The April edition of The Digital Journalist features a great retrospective of the even greater Gordon Parks — filmmaker, composer, artist, writer, and the last of legendary photojournalists of the old LIFE magazine. A true renaissance man.

On a less grand scale, I also like freelance writer Wayne Yang‘s interviews with photographers and writers Nana Chen and Jon Anderson and also Photoshelter CEO Allen Murabayashi on Yang’s Eight Diagram site.

Finally, I’ve installed and am running the beta test of Google Content Blocker, a copy of which I obtained at the 3rd Annual Nigerian E-Mail Conference in Lagos last month. A few years ago, someone on a professional journalism listserv asked where to obtain a list of celebrity e-mail addresses. When I jokingly replied that there is a guy who sells them in Los Angeles at the intersection of Wilshire and Sunset boulevards (which are actually parallel streets), I was amazed to be contacted by reporters from the Washington Post and The Los Angeles Times who wanted my help finding that guy. I do hope those reporters put as much effort into the Google Content Blocker that the Nigerians gave me. ;^)

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