Editors, and how bad ones are ruining the newspaper business
Have you LOOKED at a Patch "paper?" They suck. Now I know why.
Hi Inky,Sorry you aren't impressed with Patch … But maybe you didn't look close enough. … The sites do have a lot of what some serious-minded journalists consider fluff … But one, these sites practice community journalism where this is to be expected and for which there is a demand, and two, if you read them enough, especially here in Michigan, you'll see some solid journalism being practiced. What also is important to know is that Patch isn't trying to be an online newspaper or replace them … It's trying to be more of a virtual town square of sorts that's moderated by a professional who also does some serious journalism … The way it's set up because online it's more about interacting with the audience and building a virtual community around a geographical location …Patch also hired more than 1,000 journalists last year and is paying them a decent wage in a job where they work a ton of hours but get to do it at home. The place isn't perfect, but it's trying to do what the rest of the media hasn't still quite figured out yet — succeed online.I would hope you would give them a second look …
I took you up on your offer and here's what I found today on the Birmingham Patch:* A story updating a four-day-old piece about strange smells from a school construction site (the smell is gone now).* Another inviting people to chime in on whether MSU or U-M babies are the cutest. Um, seriously.Here's what I didn't see: much advertising. Of all markets, I would expect to find ads in a Birmingham product. I'll continue to look for the "solid" journalism you mentioned. To me, "solid" = breaking a story.
Hi Inky,Actually, that's too bad you didn't find that story about the smell any good … http://birmingham.patch.com/articles/birmingham-school-officials-reviewing-procedures-after-construction-odor-closes-seaholm … 6 people went to the hospital and the school was closed and this story follows up on what was a breaking news story the previous week … That sounds more like responsible following up reporting to me. … Granted, stories on something like this can be overdone, but if I lived in that community, I'd want to know more than probably what Local TV news did on this story for half a second.If you look at the rest of the week on Birmingham Patch, you're right there's no investigative/enterprise story that everyone hungers for, but what is there shouldn't be thrown under the bus, either … There are several profiles about candidates for office, coverage of high school sports and homecoming and stories, police briefs (always popular) and a few pieces about (gasp) what a local planning commission is doing … To me that's the nuts and bolts stuff that leads to the investigative/enterprise story every now and then … If that's there, you know someone's on the beat and that's sadly what's been lost in many places after the cutbacks elsewhere … I said it before — Patch isn't perfect, but they do have 29 full-time journalists and they are doing their thing in 29 towns large and small … All those communities are better served by it. To write them off as something not worth anyone's time is short-sighted.
PS … You wanted an investigative … Here's one from the Canton Patch … http://canton-mi.patch.com/articles/us-army-schepansky-no-special-forces-major
One newspaper I worked at (it has since closed) the publisher wanted us on the editorial side to also answer the phones and be secretaries. The owner didn't want to invest in a receptionist. He told us the ladies in advertising were far too busy. Well, sheesh, we wrote articles, took pictures, laid out the newspaper, had to leave the office to cover meetings, etc. About a year or so after I left, the paper went out of business after failing to attract a buyer.
Big meetings today in Booth Land. Things must still be really "vibrant."
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