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The State of Journalism

Entertainment Weekly Beta-Testing an Old Concept: Unpaid Contributors

They are just three little words. But the media community shudder that goes along with community.ew.com is much larger.

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Per Lucia Moses at DigiDay, the once-venerable pop culture king of newsstands and weekly subscriptions is formally stooping to the level of unpaid contributors. Complete with double-speak or maybe even, in this case, triple:

“The expansion here hopefully allows us to tap into new audiences who are increasingly having conversations in fragmented locations,” said Liz White, general manager of EW.com and people.com.

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This Just In! Hilaria Baldwin is a Mom, Yoga Instructor and Instagram User

DailyMailLogoIt’s hard out there for a “Daily Mail Reporter.” The boss is staring over your shoulder in the tap-tap-tap sweatshop newsroom, wondering what clicks you have brought in lately. And so, just three minutes after posting a March 20 Hilaria Baldwin fluff piece, there is the need for a 9:35 p.m. update.

Maybe a caption for one of the Hilaria-with-child photos needed to be tweaked. Maybe ten giant-sized .jpegs just wasn’t quite enough. Who knows?

In any case, the Daily Mail piece wound up with the hallmarks of a vessel for the Web’s most-read newspaper:

- Gargantuan headline (19 words; 120 characters);
- Sexual innuendo (“Hilaria’s early morning Instagram snap was sure to please her husband Alec, who was most certainly the lucky photographer.”)
- Cram-tastic use (15+) of the SEO bullseye “yoga”.

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Alt-Weekly Editor Dismisses NYT Op-Ed ‘Drivel’

BrowardPalmBeachNewTimesLogoDeirdra Funcheon, managing editor of Village Media Group Florida alt-weekly New Times Broward-Palm Beach, has some choice words today in response to a New York Times op-ed earlier in the week by Baltimore City Paper editor and author Baynard Woods. The op-ed was headlined “Are Alt Weeklies Over?

Funcheon writes that despite the fact that the financial struggles of alt-weeklies are similar to those of just about every other U.S. media tier, these publications have been unfairly singled out in recent years by doomsday-sayers. She has no idea why an alt-weekly fraternity member such as Woods would choose to “castrate” himself in the NYT, especially for such tediously familiar territory:

Not only is the article a rehashing of the 2012 NYT piece “Are Alternative Weeklies Toast?”, which was itself a rehashing of a BuzzFeed article (Did ya catch that? The NYT follows Buzzfeed and then dares to condescend to alt-weeklies?), but its logic was really dumb: alt-weeklies are important, and another company just came and saw value in my paper and paid money for it, so now all alt-weeklies are dying and everyone is “glum”!

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Study: Media Still Dominated by Dudes

A new study — that is sure to make people say “Shocking!” or “Nothing new to me!” — has found that men continue to dominate the media business.

The Women’s Media Center’s latest Status of Women in the Media report showed that the percentage of women on newsroom staffs was a dismal 36 percent, where it has been since 1999. Also, among America’s “three most prestigious newspapers and four newspaper syndicates,” male op-ed writers out number women four to one.

The report gets worse from there. Below are some other higlights. Or lowlights.

  • A two-month long review of news sites and newspapers showed that 82 percent of all movie reviews were written by men.
  • A three-month long review of New York Times front page articles found that men were quoted three times more often than women.
  • Among news directors working at local radio stations, only 20 percent were women.
  • A survey of 150 sports centric print publications and websites found that 90 percent of editors were white males.

Gauging the Next ‘Golden Age’ of Journalism

We’re still mulling over remarks made last Friday in Lawrence, KS by ProPublica founder and executive chairman Paul Steiger. Accepting the prestigious William Allen White Foundation National Citation from the University of Kansas’s White School of Journalism and Mass Communications, he talked a lot about “golden ages” of journalism.

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According to Steiger, the last such era started in the mid-1950s and ran through the mid-1970s. Ergo, ending right around the time a massive amount of students were compelled by Woodward and Bernstein to head to J-school. Steiger takes issue with Henry Blodget‘s 2013 declaration that a new golden age is upon us. He says we’re perhaps close, but not quite there yet:

“Creating millions of lone-wolf, single-person bloggers doesn’t get us to a golden age. It can give us cat photos that make us giggle, news scoops involving an original fact or two, a trenchant analysis of finance or politics or sculpture, video of Miley Cyrus or Taylor Swift nuzzling their latest boyfriends, or possibly some movie and book reviews worth trusting. All nice to have but not game-changing.”

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Right Now, Pierre Omidyar Knows Three Things About First Look Media

In the shadow of the Seahawks vs. the Broncos, another 2014 Super Battle is taking shape: Jeff Bezos vs. Pierre Omidyar.

Today’s memo to Washington Post staff from the paper’s executive editor Marty Baron is one of the best things you’ll read from within the guts of a print media outlet anywhere, anytime this year. It hints at the promise and potential we all envisioned upon first hearing about the most surprising and flush U.S. media acquisition of 2013.

Then there’s Omidyar’s heartening, hand-drawn-animation teaser for First Look Media. Released at the beginning of the week, it attaches to the Glenn Greenwald operation a comforting voice of patronage and – again – suggests that the money is going to be put where the media mouths should rightly belong.

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Does WSJ Have a Problem Disclosing Conflicts of Interest?

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A letter published by The Wall Street Journal on Saturday drew criticism from Jewish groups and readers for comparing recent protests targeting San Francisco’s wealthiest residents to a series of 1938 riots, instigated by German Nazis, that left dozens dead and kicked off the Holocaust.

And as some began to question why the business paper of record give a platform to such a far-fetched analogy — in a letter that also unexpectedly glorifies serial novelist Danielle Steel as the city’s No. 1 celebrity — even if the writer was a legendary Silicon Valley venture capitalist.

In an italicized tagline beneath the letter, WSJ introduced the author, Thomas Perkins, as founder of the VC firm Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield & Byers — which, despite bearing his name, distanced itself on Saturday from the “partner emeritus” profiled on its website.

A quick Google search reveals more relevant biographical details.

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Bankrupt Journalism? Detroit Auto Show Swag Once Again on eBay

Deadline Detroit has documented this sordid practice before. But it’s still jarring and depressing to see attendees at the media week portion of the Detroit Auto Show try to make a few, extra, unethical bucks.

eBayDetroitAutoShowSwagBy all, shiny appearances, this is a hybrid model of auto journalism, wherein an individual gets some mileage from the materials for story purposes and more via the auction block. It’s possible that some, maybe even all of the highlighted sellers possess “backdoor” media credentials, e.g. their badge says Press even though they’re not really active in the byline trenches. But many would argue, same difference. From Alan Stam‘s item:

[A scale model and Pewabic tile from Chrysler] went on eBay Monday night, drawing six bids so far. The same seller is peddling eight other giveaways from the 2014 North American International Auto Show, open only to credentialed professionals through Friday.

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A Very Merry Listicle New Year

Click. The Huffington Post’s “14 Things to Stop Stressing About in 2014” leads off with “your email inbox.”

Click. Among the “14 Things We Can’t Wait For!” at Broadway World is the musical version of Rocky, set to open in March after previews in February.

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Click. In case you’ve forgotten, Oliver Willis over at Media Matters for America runs down “14 Things We’ve Learned From News Corp.’s Phone Hacking Trial So Far.” Some might argue that there’s really just one overriding thing we’ve all learned from this sordid mess: When you’re as rich and powerful as Rupert Murdoch, nothing can touch you.

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Survey: Journalists are Liars, Immoral

320px-Newsroom_Z1According to a new survey from Gallup, Americans don’t think too highly of journalists. In a similiar survey, journalists don’t think too highly of Americans. Kidding! Maybe.

According to Gallup, only 21 percent of people think that newspaper reporters have “very high” or “high” honesty and ethical standards. TV reporters fared worse, as only 20 percent of people said they have very high or high honesty and ethical standards.

The least trusted profession was lobbyists, as only six percent of respondents deemed them trustworthy or moral. That seems high, doesn’t it?

On the flip side, everyone seems to love nurses. A big majority — 82 percent — said they have high honesty and ethical standards. Let’s hope so.

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