Tag Archive: newspapers

Quoting from Media Reporting on GWB

There has been some top-quality analysis over the last several days about the developing George Washington Bridge scandal, some of it Jersey-based, some national. I just want to flag some of this for you, because it sheds light on how what may be a massive abuse of power could happen in an agency with a budget larger than 26 of our states, on a bridge carrying 300,000 cars a day, and also on the conduct of Gov. Christie and the loyalists he surrounds himself with, and what they might have been willing to do in service of the man with his eye on the White House.  

Press of Atlantic City is put up for sale

First its online content went behind a paywall – the first NJ newspaper to implement a digital paywall – in late 2011. And now the parent company of Press of Atlantic City, fourth-largest daily newspaper in New Jersey, has just  put the paper up for sale.

Among the papers Press of Atlantic City has had to compete with for South Jersey readership are Philadelphia Inquirer (owned by a group led by South Jersey powerbroker George Norcross), the Asbury Park Press,Courier-Post and the Vineland Daily Journal.

This may represent great change in the work lives of many good journalists and other employees. And it’s impossible not to grieve as yet another daily newspaper is in jeopardy.

In June, 2012, Press of Atlantic City put out a release with audit bureau figures showing the paper’s circulation was the only one of 16 dailies in New Jersey to show positive circulation growth over the two reporting periods covering October 2011 to March 2012, and more than 4 million page views of its on line editions, with half a million unique visitors.

The paper, which lists a daily circulation of just 70,000 (85,000 for Sunday edition) has published since 1895 under several names and owners. Current owner is a Pittsburgh-based holding company, ABARTA, Inc.. In an announcement posted on line at its site, the company’s president & CEO John F. Bitaer III said, “ABARTA’s investment priorities have always emphasized growth.” Family members have owned the paper for 60 years, Bitzer said, with four generations working in the business over that time. The company also has holdings in beverages, frozen food, energy, and technology. ABARTA owns The Press Media Group.  

Do words matter to journalists?

I watched the national VP debate yesterday. I’m not going into the heart of it here as there are plenty of places for that. I’m disgusted that every newspaper felt that the only story of the hour and half debate was that Joe Biden smiled.

The statistics, the policies, the projections get minor paragraphs at the end of the story. Newspapers think the real story was that Joe Biden laughed or smiled. Was the smile rude? Was the smile too dramatic? Was the smile genuine?

What about the words that came out of those mouths?

Journalists took writing courses, why don’t they report the words of the debates?

Are journalists just not that smart or do they think we’re not smart?

Newspapers from the Gulf War

Newspapers around the country announced that the war was over. I kept a Providence Journal from 1991 with bold headlines and color pictures on the front page. I read those stories from the Gulf War and put the papers in a box.

People from school talked about the war. Some wanted to see the country go to war. Some other people didn’t want any war or death. I saw protesters outside my dorm. I talked with people that didn’t get why we were involved in the first place. Those newspapers tried to make sense of it all for me.

I kept those newspapers because I thought the Gulf War would be the defining moment of a generation. I grew up in the war weary 1970’s. When many wanted a war in 1979-1980 over the hostage situation, we negotiated.  In 1991 we had a war. This was serious and would change the country. I  protected those newspapers in plastic folders for future generations that would ask us about war.

The Gulf War was over in a few months and victory was declared. Politicians said we restored our power after Vietnam. It changed the speed of the military. It brought allies together.

Since then, the country has been in Kosovo and Somalia. I forgot about those newspapers.  I feel that many people forgot about that war.

I’m thinking about throwing those newspapers away today. Instead of a keepsake of a defining moment, those newspapers became a relic of the many wars in the past few years.

The Opinion Page and News

Do reporters and journalists read letters to the editor section of the paper and feel miserable?

A local newspaper printed letters in the past month calling the President’s policies socialist. Readers complain about Governor Christie’s Isreal trip being paid for by taxpayers. I read a letter today that said gas prices aren’t because of speculators, but the lack of off-shore drilling.

I understand people have opinions and those opinions may differ from mine. The name calling and flat out wrong information in these letters bother me.

Do editors feel like they’ve failed when they don’t dispel myths?

Do reporters question their abilities as writers when the information doesn’t get through? Do newspaper owners hate it when their own readers get information wrong?

They print these letters in the opinion page with no corrections or counter points. It makes me wonder if they just don’t care about the readers or the news.

Reports: Norcross getting Philadelphia newspapers

It seems pretty definite now that that South Jersey political boss Norcross is getting the Philadelphia newspapers. This is the Philly.com version reporting rumors about itself being sold on Monday:  

The investor group has spent much of the last two months negotiating to acquire PMN from its hedge-fund owners in a transaction valued at between $55 million and $60 million, according to multiple reports.

The buyers of Philadelphia Media Network Inc. are a group of local investors, led by George E. Norcross III…

Other versions of the story are at the New York Times and  Jim Romenesko, so it seems pretty solid.  

Eagleton Forum on The Future of Journalism in NJ

promoted by Rosi

There’s a great forum on NJN, the future of journalism and the future of public media in NJ at Rutgers Eagleton Institute of Politics on the Douglas Campus tomorrow, 9/16.

Program starts at 5:30pm, Reception is at 5:00pm.  If you’ve never been to an Eagleton event you’re missing out.  Eagleton is the hub of intellectual activity about NJ politics and a nationally known hub for expertise on Women and Politics.

Woodlawn is an old mansion built in the 1830s and expanded in the 1890s and beyond.  Forums are held in the Drawing Room and are always on point.

Tomorrow’s speaker is Princeton Professor Paul Starr and panelists include the acting director of NJN Janice Selinger and Ellen Goodman a Professor of Law at RU-Camden and Co-Director of the Rutgers Institute for Information Policy and Law.  Eagleton Associate Director John Weingart is moderating.

The Future of Journalism in NJ

What will New Jersey do after newspapers?

What will New Jersey do after newspapers? I don’t know the answer but I ran across this prediction today:

At a recent conference, The New York Times’ publisher and chairman Arthur Sulzberger, Jr., stated that he eventually expects the “Gray Lady” will no longer be a physical newspaper.

“We will stop printing the New York Times sometime in the future, date TBD,” he said to attendees of the International Newsroom Summit.

I believe New Jersey is especially dependent on newspapers because TV and radio are dominated by our neighboring cities of New York and Philadelphia. Now, electronic vs. paper doesn’t really matter to me as a reader, but it sure matters to the newspaper industry. The Newsosaur blog tells us the situation continues to be disastrous:

Newspaper advertising revenues are on track this year to dive to a 25-year low of approximately $26.5 billion, or 47% of the record $49.4 billon in sales achieved by the industry as recently as 2005…

The only bright spot for publishers in the last five years is that online advertising has climbed 54.3% to $1.5 billion in the first half of 2010 from $955 million in 2005.

Unfortunately, this category represented only 11.8% of total newspaper revenues in the first half of 2010 and its growth has done nothing to offset the prodigious declines in all the other advertising verticals.

I’m not really a reporter and I’m certainly no businessman but obviously $1.5 billion in online revenue is nothing like a replacement for $48 billion in print ads.  

Is the future joint TV-newspaper enterprises? The problem is that the experiments so far haven’t worked, and it doesn’t do us any good in New Jersey anyway since the NY/Philly stations don’t care about us. Meanwhile, Newsosaur also points us to how internet groups doom publisher paywalls even for local news.

News Roundup Round #2

This is an appeal to read newspapers. Not just the on line versions, but the inky versions that used to arrive with a plop! somewhere in the vicinity of everybody’s front door forever, but now is delivered to far fewer of those doors.

It takes about 2 hours to write a Blue Jersey News Roundup. Longer on weekends, because of the Op-Ed pages. But after I post Sunday’s, with the heavy paper version of Star Ledger spread out on the table at The Shaker Cafe in Flemington, next to my blueberry pancakes, I always find things I don’t see in the electronic versions. Including stuff that’s not on line.

So no links. This is from the crunchy paper version. Stuff I’m reading today:

Teacher of the Year: Merit pay is the wrong way – Maryann Woods-Murphy, judged the very best in New Jersey this year, is against forcing teachers into competing with each other, instead of supporting each others work. And she resents S-L columnist Kevin Manahan calling some of her colleagues “lazy, unprepared, and uninspiring slug(s).”

On race, power, culture and tea – Miami Heral columnist Leonard Pitts, in a piece run in S-L examines a recent commentary from Keith Olbermann on the inherent racism infecting tea party activists. He’s not writing about New Jersey specifically, but he might as well be. After all, New Jersey’s tea party has given their endorsement to Michael Halfacre, hoping that the Fair Haven mayor, who led a teaparty rally during Rush Holt’s summer health care town hall, will now get the GOP nomination to run against him in November.

Obit, Robert C. Hare, 95, former Passaic mayor – The man for whom the city’s City Hall was named in a ceremony in 2005.

AP, Democrats ready to go it alone on health care – Again, not New Jersey, but of interest given that Rep. Rob Andrews was a player in the president’s bi-partisan meeting. (also wire service, just below it on the page, the how-it-works of reconciliation).

When we see problems in how NJ’s newspapers are covering the news, it’s not like we’d ever just shut up about it. But there’s depth, analysis, and good writing to be found in newsprint in (almost) every corner of the state. And for just pennies. You can’t help drive journalism to be better, or the newspaper industry to perform better, if you’re not a participant. K’thanks, gotta go wash ink off my fingers now.