Saturday, May 1, 2010

Journalism robots: Here right now?

This is an interesting story (with plenty of links) on the subject of automated journalism. Now we had a couple editors at the Flint Journal who tried to make all of us into their mind-numbed robots, but we resisted, but apparently there is actually a move on to make it so.

New circulation numbers in, the arrow goes down

Thanks to an FFE commenter, I went over to the ABC (the company that tracks newspaper circulation) and verified the information that was posted on a previous comment.

The numbers are not good. The last time I posted about the Flint Journal circulation the numbers I collected were. In case you don't follow the link it was numbers for September 2008 and Flint had a daily circulation of 73,013 and a Sunday number of 88,897.

Now the numbers are:

Sunday 74,375 (-14,000+)

Thursday 60,075 - Friday - 59,222 (-13,000)

That's a huge loss in less than two years. From what I hear they believe the bleeding has stopped, or at least slowed, but I still run into people everyday who are dropping the paper for a couple of reasons. "There's nothing in it" "I like the paper everyday"

My wife and I still get the paper and I don't subscribe to the "There's nothing in it," but some days it's pretty thin.

Here are the rest of the numbers as supplied by the commenter (Those circulation drop numbers are likely from 2009, not 2008):

Bay City:
Thu. - 21,607 (-2,896, -11.8%)
Fri. - 21,925 (-2,858, -11.5%)
Sun. - 31,968 (-2,382, -6.9%)

Flint:
Thu. - 60,075 (-5,896, -8.9%)
Fri. - 59,222 (-6,879, -10.4%)
Sun. - 74,375 (-5,817, -7.2%)

Saginaw:
Thu. - 27,581 (-2,998, -9.8%)
Fri. - 27,866 (-2,752, -8.9%)
Sun. - 39,156 (-2,205, -5.3%)

Thursday, April 29, 2010

The new journalism lemonade stand: Stories for $5

This was an interesting article about the use of freelancers for journalism.

Why Henry Waxman called off hearings on the "Write downs"

Not familiar with this website and story (found it on another site I read) but it is an interesting take on why uber-liberal Henry Waxman quietly ended the probe on the corporate write-downs related to the recently passed Health Care bill.

Remember the promise that we could all keep our current private health care and that it would save money.

Could be not so much.

Do as we write, not as we do

One of my favorite topics is media hypocrisy. I've pointed out a couple examples in the past.

Arizona was the center of controversy back in the 1990s when it wouldn't designate Martin Luther King Holiday as a day off for its State employees. There were charges of boycotts and other protests at the time (some things never change).

The Flint Journal editorial page editor wrote a scathing editorial on how unjust it was that Arizona would not honor the Civil Rights leader by declaring his birthday a holiday.

I read the editorial with interest, because the Flint Journal at the time also did not give employees the MLK holiday. Still doesn't I believe. So I confronted the editor and said how could we write such an editorial knowing that our own company didn't honor the leader.

The answer was lame.

On Sunday, April 25 the Journal ran a story tracking the unremarkable results of tax credits and incentives given to companies in the city.

They forgot one company: The Flint Journal. The newspaper got a pretty nice deal from the city when it built its new printing plant 7-8 years ago. There were, as I recall, the promise of many new jobs at the plant and company in exchange for the deal.

Might have been a nice sidebar to Sunday's story on the other companies who didn't live up to expectations.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

One of the best public service announcements ever

This is a very effective public service announcement. It has been around awhile, but if you haven't seen it, enjoy.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Feeling badly for the Flint Police Department

Flint's NBC affiliate, Channel 25, has this story on a homicide that occurred in the city while only one police officer was on patrol at the time.

I looked for a similar story on MLive.com but didn't find it, but only gave the site a cursory glance, so it could be there and I missed it.

In the "old" days there would be at least two and maybe three reporters covering news on Saturday, but I don't know what the current newsroom staffing is for a Saturday. I'm sure there is some, but I just don't know.

It is tough to imagine that there are less patrol officers in Flint at certain times than in some of the surrounding less violent suburbs. A sad situation indeed.