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Monday, July 19, 2010

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres



"Such is the state of the media business these days: frantic and fatigued. Young journalists who once dreamed of trotting the globe in pursuit of a story are instead shackled to their computers, where they try to eke out a fresh thought or be first to report even the smallest nugget of news — anything that will impress Google algorithms and draw readers their way. Tracking how many people view articles, and then rewarding — or shaming — writers based on those results has become increasingly common in old and new media newsrooms. The Christian Science Monitor now sends a daily e-mail message to its staff that lists the number of page views for each article on the paper’s Web site that day. The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Los Angeles Times all display a 'most viewed' list on their home pages. Some media outlets, including Bloomberg News and Gawker Media, now pay writers based in part on how many readers click on their articles. Once only wire-service journalists had their output measured this way. And in a media environment crowded with virtual content farms where no detail is too small to report as long as it was reported there first, Politico stands out for its frenetic pace or, in the euphemism preferred by its editors, 'high metabolism.'" (NYTimes)



"Bristol Palin and Levi Johnston are hoping to launch a reality show about their upcoming wedding and life as newlyweds with son, Tripp, 2. But network honchos aren't enthusiastic. 'Don't think we should do it. Neither of them have personalities,' said one cable honcho. But Levi will bring in his sister and other relatives to make it work. One online commenter said of their reunion, 'When you have no way to come up with $1,700 a month in child support ... and there aren't any other jobs out there ... options are limited.'" (PageSix)



(Vernon Jordan, Robert Butler, Barbara Walters, and Donald Marron via NYSD)

"Dr. Robert Butler died a couple weeks ago at 83. While he is well known and I had heard of him, it wasn’t until reading his obituaries that I kept thinking: 'how do I know this man?' Dr. Butler was a gerontologist and it wasn’t lost on me that I am of an age where people forget (I have a memoir on one of my bookshelves by the late Duff Cooper -- 'Old Men Forget' and it always makes me laugh when I notice it. This past weekend there was an obit of Robert Butler in the FT. He was an amazing man with a most interesting background – interesting because of the hardship that he faced at the beginning of his life and how it motivated him and translated into his work that took him all the way to the end of his life." (NYSocialDiary)



(Jewel, undercover, via EW)

"Everyone has been wondering where the next big reality format idea would come from. Funny or Die video is throwing its hat into the ring, generating a lot of buzz in the unscripted marketplace with a viral video starring singer Jewel. Titled Undercover Karaoke with Jewel, it was posted on the comedy site on Wednesday and generated 2.5 million views in its first 3 days. It features Jewel disguised as a mousy-looking, mild-mannered businesswoman who has a Susan Boyle moment when she performs some of her signature songs to a dumbfounded audience at a local karaoke bar. I hear the Funny or Die team, including the video's creator Eric Appel, are out there with a concept for a reality show based on the hit video, which would feature music stars from the past 4 decades going undercover to places where comedic situations will ensue, showcasing their talent. There has been a lot of interest in the idea and I hear it is being pitched to a number of networks this week." (Deadline)



"... Anti-Europeanism is hardly a new phenomenon. America's first president warned against 'permanent alliances' after successfully conspiring in an alliance with the French against the British in the Revolutionary War. President James Monroe issued his famous doctrine expressly to keep the European powers out of a New World to which a then much weaker Washington presumptuously laid claim. (Monroe neglected to mention that it would for the most part be the British Royal Navy tasked with enforcing his doctrine.) Fear, envy, anti-colonialism, anti-imperialism, cultural inferiority-superiority complexes, trade, political and military rivalries, and America's quest for identity all fed anti-European feeling as the new country sought to differentiate itself from the old countries whence most of its people came. Many of these phenomena remain relevant today. 'Expressing one's anti-European sentiment can be a way of building up and displaying one's American identity and patriotism,' said Patrick Chamorel in a European University Institute study published in Italy in 2004. 'Anti-Europeanism has always been part of American exceptionalism, which defined itself in contrast to European history, politics, and society.'" (FP)

2 comments:

Michael Buettner said...

Speaking as a longtime professional journalist, my impression is that the bean-counting owners of the "media" don't have a clue about the business they're running. They want to run newspapers as if they were factories, so they want to measure reporters in terms of "output" or "productivity" based on "objective measures" such as byline counts or Internet hits. So a reporter who churns out a crappy story every day scores higher than a reporter who writes a really good story once a week.
It was pretty bad in the old days when editors and publishers ran things by gut-feeling, but the way things are now is a lot worse, because those old guys at least gave a damn about what they were putting on paper.

Ron said...

I couldn't agree more. I've worked in trasditional journalism, digital journalism and within the new blog business model and as flawed as old media was -- and it was -- this NYTimes piece about how the new digital landscape is shaping has me worried about the dissemination information, which is VITAL to a democracy.