Saturday, January 9, 2010

What everyone already knew, DDP won't come back

Found a story on Facebook about the fate of the Detroit Daily Press. This was a no-brainer.

Newspapers 2010: Good news, but mostly bad

Here's what Nieman says about it.

Ten reasons I don't miss the newsroom, and one big one why I do

Ten reasons why I don’t miss working in newspapers anymore:

1. No more cell phone or pager going off when I’m on vacation with my family with a question about my story.

2. No more idiot readers calling me to tell me how much better they know my job than I do.

3. No more idiot editors calling me to tell me how much better they know my beat than I do.

4. No more 8 hours pay for 12 hours of work.

5. No more endless memos about how the most important thing in the editor’s day was that my desk should be clean.

6. No more airhead bosses telling me how we all need to “write with authority.”

7. No more reading my stories in print with stupid errors edited INTO them.

8. No more being awake half the night wondering what stupid assignment awaits me in the morning.

9. No more putting together a great investigative piece only to have a big city lawyer and spineless editor remove the facts the public really needed to know.

10. No more blankety-blank Sunday story meetings. Or any meeting heading by an editor, for that matter.

One reason I do miss working in newspapers:

1. The rush you get from chasing a crooked politician or following up leads to a great story and seeing it in print. We endured all the above for that one high. It was like crack.

I'm finally cured. (Feel free to add your own - remember anonymous here, is really anonymous, but all blog rules apply, so keep it clean. I know it will be hard).

Friday, January 8, 2010

More on Western Michigan layoffs

It's been a very bad day for Boothies on the west side of Michigan. I know those of us who have already been through the end of our careers feel for those who are now facing the abyss.

As always, the rumors started flying on Wednesday (I received several tips beginning Wednesday afternoon) that something bad was in the offing for Friday. The rumors, in this case, were right.

Kalamazoo got the bad news today and layoffs were announced in P&D, editorial and advertising. There was a morning meeting and an afternoon meeting to deliver the bad news, according to sources there.

Individual meetings are planned to deliver the really bad news.

According to one source, severance packages will be offered to those laid off, and new part-time positions (possibly the ones published yesterday ahead of today's announcement - nice, eh?) are being created.

For reporters on the layoff list, a 48-hour notification window with severance packages are expected to arrive at people's mailboxes Monday.

There appears to be an chance for the laid off full-time reporters to apply for the downsized part-time positions. And some management folks will suffer salary decreases.

Presses at the Gazette will be "moth balled" with printing of the Gazette moving to Grand Rapids.

Friday's meetings were a poorly kept secret and I began getting notifications of it on Wednesday.
The news at Grand Rapids is equally bad.

A total of 65 layoffs at the Grand Rapids Press, 15 from the newsroom. Will have to wait and see how that all shakes out.

Ad production is reportedly heading to Erie, Pennsylvania, so a pretty long commute for the Booth faithful on the west side of the State. That fact, along with many others were left out of the cushy, lame news release put out by the company. For a news gathering organization they certainly aren't ashamed enough to cover their own bad news with the same sensational language they would use for some other company.

Or perhaps, the editor didn't risk letting a real business reporter cover the story as it should have been. Shameless.

I'm told the Muskegon Chronicle is down to six reporters, but could use some help if that's a decrease from today, or if it has been that low for awhile.

Once again we'll wait and see how much pain the suits and brains that have brought Booth/Advance to this point suffer. Guessing probably not as much as those they led.

All this became possible when the "Lifetime" job pledge was withdrawn in August. I have a question. How do you withdraw a lifetime pledge, before a lifetime is over? If you can withdraw a lifetime pledge, then it never was one. That would make it a lie.

At least one layoff today at the Flint Journal. (Aren't they hiring?) Inside Out has that story.

Hang in there folks, our hearts are with you.

The other shoe as dropped in Western Michigan

I've been getting tips for days on this, but never got it from a source I knew well enough to post. But some big news today out of Kalamazoo.

The headline of the story is comical in its euphemistic language. If this had been a story about any other local business's layoffs, it would have been dramatically worse.

I have some more information I have obtained this afternoon, but won't have time to post it until after 8 p.m. tonight. Check back.

A couple notable lies from the recent past

How do you tell when a politician is lying? You all know the punchline......

Just in case: "When their lips are moving."

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Google: In the French crosshairs

I'm not a big lover of the French, but have to love their spunk in thinking about going after Google. (You may have to click on the link a couple times to bypass a free registration process)

The only thing that makes this improbable, is that the French aren't usually known for their fighting.

I do like that the French court finds that aggregating published content as a copyright violation. (Of course, here I am posting a link to a published article myself).

A Western Michigan news opportunity

Here's a link to some available news jobs in Western Michigan. Make sure to read the comments, some are priceless.

Also rumblings of a major annoucement in two newspapers on the West side of the state - Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo.

Ah yes, the weather panic is back

Oh how I love the annual weather panic. A now retired veteran photographer at the Oakland Press and I used to mock the total obsession with weather by the media.

It's been relatively quiet here in Michigan this winter, but "a huge weather event" is on its way. The prediction is for 2-4 inches of snow over the next two days. Wow, how will we survive. If I still had a dog I might euthanize it so it wouldn't have to endure the misery of a "4-inch" snow.

Good grief, how stupid is all this? I love it when they predict these weather disasters and then nothing happens. At 5 a.m. you have some poor reporter they dragged out of bed at 3 a.m. standing on a street corner with a flake or two of snow falling around their heads and literally a dusting of snow on the ground.

"Well, Fred, (insert first name of your favorite anchor), looks like we've dodge a bullet today." Yeah, what we've dodged is your stupid, inane descriptions of what we should do.

And just in case any of you Michiganders have never heard this advice before:

"Make sure you dress warmly and in layers and make sure your car is stocked with blankets, fresh water, a cell phone, shovel and virtually every item available in your garage just in case you get stranded on the I-75 freeway where you might not get help for 20-30 minutes."

If it weren't so stupid, it would be funnier.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

No news, is not always good news

Just in case you keep checking your doorstep for your daily issue of the Detroit Daily Press Bill Shea of Crain's has a little news for you on that.

Found that tidbit along with a number of interesting items over on Inside Out.

C-SPAN formalizes request to air health care hearings

Brian Lamb has sent a letter to House and Senate leaders asking them to allow cameras in to cover the health care negotiations.

Wanna bet the only thing Brian Lamb hears is the sounds of crickets chirping.

So much for transparency. I'd like to be wrong on this, by the way.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Reporters wanted: Flint, Bay City, Saginaw

Just months after slamming the door behind a number of good reporters (and I learned another really good one just left for a private sector job out of journalism - good for her) has a listing for "versatile reporters" at the papers in Flint, Saginaw and Bay City.

My favorite line is: "salary negotiable."

You better bring a really good negotiator if you want to make enough not to have to room with three other people and drive a winter beater car. Also remember that full-time in the new journalism world means 50-hours a week with no overtime. But I'm sure there will be plenty of takers.

On the other hand, they must still have an old roster with the names and numbers of a lot of "versatile reporters" they showed the door. Some of them might want their jobs back.

If you apply for one of those jobs, drop me a line and let me know what those "competitive salary and benefits" are.

But it may be good news for those on board that maybe the bottom has been found and that further reductions and salary and benefit "adjustments" might be over. If that's the case I'm happy for those still there.'s chief content czar checks in with the numbers at A2politico

OK, the Chief Content Czar at has checked in at's site with a response to questions raised before Christmas.

Here is the comment left by the Czar:

At, we have not done a lot of publicizing of our site traffic so far while it continues to grow. As a new organization, we’ve been waiting to see where our traffic settles in before we begin citing traffic numbers in our promotional material. As other commenters have noted here, sites like and are commonly used to get some indication of site traffic, but can grossly undercount that traffic. We use Omniture to measure our site traffic, and have been pleased with the traffic we’ve seen and well as the way traffic grew throughout 2009. In November and December, we typically saw between 170,000 and 200,000 unique visitors a week. For the month of November, we had a little over 630,000 unique visitors, and for December, we had a little more than 650,000 uniques. Given the increases in traffic that we saw in 2009, we are optimistic that we have not peaked and that we will continue to grow our site traffic in 2010. One thing Omniture does not do a great job of is determining what portion of our audience is local, because a local person can be on our site but have an IP address that is not recorded as local. During 2010, we plan to do some market research that measures what share of our audience is local. Anecdotally, we find that our audience is pretty local, but we want to quantify that. In print, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulation, our Sunday circulation is 47,962 and our Thursday circulation is 39,857.

Comment by Tony Dearing — January 4, 2010 @ 10:00 am

Sunday, January 3, 2010

USS Independence - A new breed of ship

My sister-in-law Barbara sent me some pictures of the new LCS2, the USS Independence, which will be commissioned in a couple weeks.

As a former U.S. Navy sailor I am very excited for the potential for this ship. It is designed for close to shore service, which I guess could put it on duty to attack pirates, among other duties.

The ship's website has some nice pictures and photos. The news seems to indicate that the cost of the ship has well overrun its original estimate, but even at $540 million, a relatively inexpensive ship.