Changes Brewing At Newscoma

6 09 2008

Tomorrow, I’m going to be changing some of Newscoma and, admittedly, I’m a bit scared because it’s change. Change is terrifying.

This has been in the works for most of the summer, but I’m moving Newscoma to where I can take ads. I’ve been asked and, for a long time, I resisted the idea. I asked some great minds like Jackson Miller in a series of emails in the spring (he is truly one of the coolest people ever) and Sharon Cobb was one of most supportive people ever about going ad-based. Heather and Ivy have also been a great inspiration and I thank them for fielding emails from me when I was wigging out a bit. And Sadcox is the dude. He has been just wonderful. My buddy, Chris, is going to help me out here with the techy stuff as I’m a moron about certain things. My main hesitation is actually learning widgets and stuff that I didn’t have to use before. I’ll learn it but it may take me some time.

As I said, bear with me.

So Sunday is the big day. And, as I walk into a bit of the unknown, I’m worried that you guys will wander off.

I started a magazine in 1993 and it was a lot of fun. We had a good time with it and it’s still around although I’m not a part of it anymore. I kind of feel the same way I did back then. Anxious, a bit excited and, you know, afraid of failure and burning in a huge blaze of public humiliation.

Basically, nothing is going to change here other than new digs, you will see some ads and possibly some collaborations with some folks who are working in the news business.

So, if it’s a bit wonky around here in the next few days, please bear with me. I’m trying to be transparent about it all so if you come to a page that has weird code on it taking you to a midget porn site or something equally as freaky, send me an email. Once it’s all done, change those bookmarks and your feeds (you can already) to

As we launch the new site, I have some giveaways next week from the Red State Update guys so stay tuned to that as well.

And send me some courage, as change freaks me the hell out.

She's Coming Too

Terry Heaton’s Take On The AP

30 08 2008

As Mr. Heaton is a heckuva lot smarter than me, and being that I agree with him on this and am having a moment of intellectual superiority because we are on the same page.

I’m trying to ride the coattails of smart people. He’s talking about the potential demise of the Association Press.

This should surprise no one, for, as I’ve oft-written in the past, the Internet by-passes middlemen, and it is no respecter of companies. The networks even by-pass affiliates in delivering their programs directly to viewers these days. This “by-pass” trait inherent to the Web has been discussed by minds much greater than mine, only they use the term “route around” to describe the idea.

“The net regards censorship as a failure, and routes around it.” John Gilmore, SUN Microsystems.
“The net regards hierarchy as a failure, and routes around it.” Mark Pesce, Writer, consultant, Sydney, Australia
“The web regards centralization as a failure, and routes around it… by moving to the edge.” Stowe Boyd

My take: The net regards the middleman as a failure, and routes around it.”

The Associated Press is in the midst of a big, good, old-fashion fail. The kicker is that the rules are constantly changing. If dinosaurs don’t pay attention, they are going to get left behind.

I haven’t had the AP in years at the small paper I work at. It’s more than fine. I get my information off the net, local connection because I hit the beat and through bloggers.

Just saying.

Scobleizer Has A Point

19 08 2008

He says:

Look at this photo from the Olympics. I count about 75 photographers, each decked out with a $9,000 (or more expensive) camera and lens (and most of them are carrying several cameras).

This is in a year when tons of journalists are getting laid off.

This is in a year when there are tons of stories around the world that aren’t getting reported on.

I couldn’t agree more.

Anything Goes In The Internet Era

19 08 2008

An article out of Pittsburgh takes on the mainstream media’s recent reaction to the John Edwards scandal. But the story is more about how the blogosphere is changing news delivery.

Such is the inevitable result of the revolution in the communication of news in the anything-goes Internet era. The old standards of how and when to report a story have gone out the window when instant disclosure is the imperative; anybody with a laptop can become Walter Winchell or Matt Drudge.

These are discouraging times for reporters who grew up under rigid restraints on pursuing stories within established boundaries of truth and accuracy — and with regard for privacy and reader sensitivities of all sorts. Those olden days, when a glimpse of stocking was looked on as something shocking and was never reported, are long gone.


With the blogging phenomenon already elbowing itself into mainstream print outlets, you can expect more sensationalism ahead — especially in the once gray and staid top dogs of the circulation-sinking newspaper business.

If you are in news, you blog or if you are in news and you blog either personally or professionally, I encourage you  to read the whole thing.

Changes In The LA Times

13 08 2008

Ooh boy.

Sellers will no longer be able to demand their houses be advertised in the LA Times real estate section because the major, super-dooper, massive,incredibly big newspaper has killed this special section.  More accurately, it has combined real estate with the Home and Sunday Business sections, according to Inman News.

This could be seen two ways. The first one is that the paper is evolving due to the pressure of the Internet’s presence in the real estate market. Looking at houses online is super easy these days.

The second thing that could be an indication from one of the big boys that, once again, dead wood editions are in trouble.

Either way, it may not be a sign of the apocalypse, but it’s a sign of changes in print news.

Tennessee Politics Blog Closes Shop

12 08 2008

From Adam Groves this morning.

After more than two years of reporting daily on Tennessee politics, I will be closing Tennessee Politics Blog. My reasons for doing so are personal – although I will say that at times it has been difficult to keep up the pace of a daily entry summarizing the news of the day. Late breaking news was often overlooked to the detriment of content and other blogs have risen since the time of this blog’s inception which have delivered the news in a far better fashion than I was ever able.

I went over there quite a bit. He was excellent in running down the political news stories of the day.

The Tennessee Blogosphere is constantly changing, isn’t it?

Media Loses Money As Auto Industry Flounders

11 08 2008

I can personally attest to this being absolutely correct.

In the first quarter alone, the auto industry spent $414 million less on advertising than in last year’s first quarter, according to TNS Media Intelligence.

And it’s not just the local newspaper or television station that is hurting from cutbacks in advertising by the local car dealerships.

In recent earnings reports from the major media companies, like Viacom and Time Warner, executives mentioned the downturn in the auto industry as one reason for lagging revenue at cable networks and magazines.

Newspapers were the hardest hit, losing $131 million in auto advertising, much of the decline coming from local dealerships that are having trouble moving cars off their lots.

“You’re talking about cars sitting on lots for 90 days,” said Mort Goldstrom, vice president for advertising at the Newspaper Association of America. “The dealers are saying, ‘I have cars that won’t move. And I can’t advertise.’ It’s because of cash flow.”

Traditional media/old school deadtree folks who deny this is happening make me scratch my head.

I’m telling you, it’s happening. Car lots have always been a huge spender in local newspapers. They aren’t moving cars which means advertising is down because they don’t have the money.

Sometimes, though, I feel like I’m preaching to the choir.

Read the whole thing if you are so inclined.

Basket Case by Carl Hiaasen

6 08 2008

I just finished Basket Case and I have to tell you, it knocked my socks off.

Yeah, it’s about an investigative reporter whose role is diminished at a newspaper to writing the obituaries after he calls the new corporate owners a few choice names. It’s your basic murder mystery but the reason why the book was so good is that Carl Hiaasen has written a sardonic and real critique of the dead tree news business.

And it doesn’t just bark, it bites.

In the novel, the lead character, Jack Tagger, talks about how his fictional paper has reduced staffs, added the always dreaded special advertising sections and basically, IMHO, how journalists/editors are asked to basically not do news.

Hiaasen has worked for decades at the Miami Herald. The tiers and hierarchy of the news staff in the novel are real. Anyone in the news business will recognize everything from the excitement of an intern to the cluelessness of non-journalists managing a newspaper. They will also recognize Jack Tagger, a 46-year-old journalist who is clouded by apathy and mourns the changes in his profession before he reinvents himself.

And there is a Warren Zevon connection for you rabid fans out there.

Yeah, I’m gushing.

Old Vs. New Media Practices

5 08 2008

Mark directs us to a new policy at CNN.

Basically, employees of the network cannot use Facebook, Twitter, Blog or even comment in forums and chat rooms without permission from the CNN higher ups according to Chez Pazienza, who was famously fired from CNN for blogging at Deus Ex Malcontent. His story is here.

You can head to their blogs to get the vibe of what’s going on.

I agree with Mark who says this:

Did I give up my right to protest or vote when I started working for a newspaper? I hope not.
Many newspapers are actively encouraging reporters to take up blogging.  Newspapers invite reporters to express opinion in the print editions. Newspapers have long held that as long as the opinion expressed is marked clearly as that of the reporter, it is acceptable.

I talk about evolving trends in the news business a lot. I don’t understand why more media folks don’t blog or use Twitter. I’ve seen more breaking news on Twitter that it still boggles my mind.

Ryan Sholin points us to a post written by an outgoing newsman of the LA Times, who is getting out of the dead tree business.

  1. Technology has run laps around the print media — giving readers instant news, open-source journalism, no barriers to become publishers, and an infinite news hole.
  2. The idea that your daily news is collected, written, edited, paginated, printed on dead trees, put in a series trucks and cars and delivered on your driveway — at least 12 hours stale — is anachronistic in 2008.

I think these things are connected. The writer talks about his 18 years with the Times. I’ve worked in news off and on for nearly 20 years. The way I started out has vastly changed in those two decades.

And the blogosphere has changed in the nearly three years I’ve been blogging. Some media outlets get it and have actively worked toward changing their model to accommodate changes that will happen in the future, which is smart. Even some rural outlets do although there are a great deal of folks who do not and angrily (yes, I said angrily) hold on to that the old ways are the only way to do news.

There is chasm that exists between old and new.

And CNN is treating online communication like a dinosaur. When you edit free thought, then what do you have?

Zombies in a newsroom.

Steve Cohen And Scotty McClellan

21 06 2008

I watched the livestream of Scotty McClellan’s hearing yesterday.

Tennessee was represented with my political boyfriend, Rep. Steve Cohen during yesterday’s soirée.

From the Commercial Appeal:

Cohen: “Do you believe that Vice President Cheney was most responsible for deterring President Bush from being the great president and uniter that you think he could have been?”

McClellan: “The president has to bear responsibility for his presidency veering off track like it did more than anyone else, but there are certainly some influences on him that I think were negative influences in that regard and I would include the vice president in that.”

And here’s more:

The former White House press secretary suggested that Bush could do much to redeem his credibility on the Plame matter and his reasons for going to war in Iraq if he would embrace “openness and candor and then constantly strive to build trust across the aisle.”

“This is a very secretive White House … There’s some things that they would prefer not to be talked about,” McClellan said.

And shifting to another topic, Sharon Cobb makes a good point here. As I was called this word this very week and a racial slur that accompanied it which made me feel very small by the absolute hate tied to it, it just seems to me that Sharon is right and MSM should report it.

I’m none to fond of it.

Annoying Autobiographical Pause – Twitter Mumblings

15 06 2008

I’ve been talking a lot about Twitter this past week. A murder trial, the speed of news and the conversation that followed immediately after Tim Russert’s death and even live updates about the 7.2 earthquake in Japan.

On March 29th, I wrote about us sending out some news on Twitter that made the rounds.

I know, beating a dead horse and all, but actually I’m not.

And I’m not the only one writing about it.

What you are left with is a group of people you find useful/interesting/relevant who update you through out the day. In my case it’s sparked new relationships and opportunities as well.

So I’m not really sure why anyone would prefer not to bother themselves with using twitter or a similar service. If you’re a writer (especially the non-fiction variety) check out twitter for a week and see if it hasn’t proven invaluable on at least one occasion.

Read the whole thing. TechGOnzo breaks it down very well.

I talk a lot about being in a rural part of the state and some of the limitations that go with that. I work at a place that doesn’t even subscribe to a newswire.

I’m finding I don’t need one with Twitter who continually keeps beating mainstream media cable networks in breaking the news. Many times it needs verification, don’t get me wrong, but then it creates a dialogue. The conversation flows and you have instant feedback.

If you don’t give two hoots about Twitter, I’ll give you a picture of a kangaroo drinking a beer

Reporter’s Notes

14 06 2008

Quite by accident.

Yeah, old school notes.

The Unaware Reporter

13 06 2008

Guys, this is so not safe for work. It was sent to me a couple of months ago by a buddy in Nashville.

I’m warning you, it’s nsfw but it was apparently safe enough for a news broadcast.

It’s been through the rounds I’m sure but it still tickles me to no end.

Denver Alien Video

31 05 2008

So, here’s the video of the Denver Alien that was released yesterday.

I have a theory, so bear with me. First of all, this is a country that can’t keep secrets to save it’s life. What I mean is, that if the alien was in Gitmo Bay, we wouldn’t know about it. But if this guy, Stan Romanek, has had this video for five years, I think we would have heard about it. Why?

Here’s the story:

Romanek had allegedly set up a camera in order to catch evidence of a peeping tom whom he’d feared was preying on his daughters. Romanek did not particpate in Friday’s press conference, but did appear Friday night on CNN’s “Larry King Live,” along with Peckman, and other guests.

At Friday’s press conference, although the Romanek video was shown, photographers were asked to turn their cameras away, and not roll while it was exhibited. However, media members were given compact discs with a single, still image from the tape, purporting to show an alien’s head looking in a window of Romanek’s home.

I have to admit that I was watching Doctor Who last night and missed out on Larry King. Well, I don’t know if miss is the right word because, you know, it’s Larry King.

Here’s where I’m cynical grrl.


Plain and simple, capitalism would drive something of this nature. And, sorry, it does look like a puppet. I agree with the naysayers. I know, I’m usually more optimistic than this but it’s true. Now, there are arm-chair traditionalists like me that would love to see something like this happen and I would love to write for Weekly World News and am still reeling from the sad fact that they aren’t around anymore (Bat Boy, call me.)

Just call me KolchakComa. I even have the hat.

And, let’s keep in mind elusive creatures like the Giant Squid that we know exist but you just aren’t going to see them. Wait, that just changed.

Jeff Peckham, who is trying to set up a extraterrestrial commission in Denver, is also about publicity. My cynicism comes from that there are a ton of paranormal/alien associations and societies across the country. Let’s look at Roswell, NM. The money flows there, FLOWS.

Or is Peckham a believer to put himself out for so much scrutiny?

He says he is.

I’m think it’s arrogant to think that some things don’t exist just because I’ve never see them. I’ve never seen Clay Aiken face to face and he changes his look all the time completely confusing me. I also hear he sings although I have no idea what he croons about. Is he real? I have to make the assumption that he is.

The news, in a small part, has been following this. If Aliens were to land, the news media would shat itself trying to get the footage. Giving reporters a CD with a still photo and asking them to shut off their cameras just doesn’t make sense to me.

If aliens were to arrive, small microbes from space or people who look like Yul Brynner (I’m on a bald kick right now), networks would have alien pundits on the tube faster than you could say E.T., and the tickers at the bottom of the screen would be going wild.

Just saying.

UPDATE: This isn’t the official video going into the documentary. This is something else floating around.

Journalists Writing Code

27 05 2008

When I talk about media changing, it’s items like this that reinforce that ideology completely.

It’s now been almost exactly a year since we announced (thanks to a Knight News Challenge grant) that programmer-developers could earn full scholarships to study journalism in the master’s program at the Medill School at Northwestern University. We’ve got plenty of scholarship money still available — but we have not been overwhelmed with applications.

Here’s where we stand: Two scholarship winners are now almost midway through their Medill studies. A third candidate will enroll next month. And we still have the equivalent of six full scholarships yet to award.

It’s important to remember the tools of journalism are evolving into new things many of us old-timers did not consider even five years ago. I honestly believe that journalists are going to have to learn how to write code.

And I’m trying to figure it out myself as well.

Annoying Autobiographical Pause #1,333

21 05 2008

We always hear about how there is the battle between old ways of covering news and new digital media. Of course, these days sometimes I feel my job is more about being a battering goat for complaints as yesterday that seemed to be the ONLY thing in my job description.  I was also taking care of an awning problem in front of our building that was victim to the winds and age this spring.

That’s not news. That’s housekeeping.

I miss balls to the wall writing news and it’s hard to do that sitting behind a desk at times. I used to love getting out and organically finding news stories. I used to have four deadlines in one day when I was in radio news. I like the feel of busting a news story from the trickle and whisper of it’s conception to when it breaks knowing that I was getting that piece of news to the people.

And, I’m dealing with awning, complaints and personnel issues these days.

I bring this up that sometimes when you get to that point in your career when you realize you are in transition.

I am, however, excited about new concepts in delivering news. I mentioned last week I’ve been following a murder trial on twitter.

I also noticed yesterday that Katie Allison Granju covered minute-by-minute the shooting of a police officer at WBIR on it’s news site.

I realize news is changing.

Fortunately, tomorrow I am covering a hearing of a deputy who killed his estranged wife’s lover. He was convicted a couple of years ago but the case is headed back to court. As I love covering court better than just about anything, it will be a welcome change. If only they had WiFi in the courthouse here then I could report it live.

I need to work on making things like that happen.

How Can I Get On The Front Page?

15 05 2008

I found this site through Brittney G’s fancy new blog in San Francisco.

Big city, little town, it’s all the same.

How can I get on the front page?

This is what Spots says:

“What’s your name?”


“Who are you with? Newspaper? TV? Website? Media?”

Oy. “The Chronicle.”

“What do we have to do to get on the front page of the Chronicle?”

Oh god. What the hell do I say to that? Beats me, sketch comedy guy. Probably bomb a government building day care center. So I went with the obvious.


I mainly did this for my girls, giggling behind me.

Andrew, who had remained on stage then proceeded to undress, making it only as far as his yellow man-panties, which is why he’s only ending up on the Culture Blog.

I have to become more clever when I get this question like she was. Every day. I live in the South in the Bible Belt. No one is going to get nude except that one lady who they keep throwing out of the local juke joints for conducting, let’s say, business practices that aren’t quite legal.

Most men I know don’t wear “yellow man-panties” but if they did, I’d probably put them on the front page.

Yes, we would love to put every story on the front page. But there is, you know, just one front page thus it being called the front page.

Oy indeed.

The Day There Was No News

15 05 2008

From the BBC.


10 05 2008

Lauren Rabaino writes this at her blog over Wired Journalists. It’s a great piece.

The deadline isn’t 11 p.m. anymore. The deadline is now. She gets the content on the Web, she writes a longer, more elaborate story for print, and continues writing updates for the Web all day. After deadline passes, she’s still not done; she writes a blog about her experience. One reporter is being stretched in different directions, acting as a print reporter, TV anchor, radio reporter and Web guru. Thus, the concept of news “convergence.”

She’s right. Things aren’t just changing, they HAVE changed.

Tiki Barber And Pat Buchanan

6 05 2008

I woke up this morning and did some early morning blogging over at Music City Bloggers while drinking my morning joe watching CNN.

The audio started acting wonky and it sounded like John Roberts was the devil. Of course I don’t want my newscasters to sound like Beelzebub so I turned the channel to, and the irony it burns, Morning Joe.

As it is primary day, I thought watching the news would give me some insight into the election. Joe had Pat Buchanan on.

I have to tell you, Pat B. always looks mad. He looked mad when he was on Crossfire a kajillion years ago. He just has this look of perpetual pissdom.

Well, they played all of the negative ads running giving everyone a freebie on national television and I kinda zoned out because we won’t know until tonight.

Here’s what I think, and I could be wrong, will happen today. Obama has to close the deal if he wants the nomination. Clinton, well, I’m not happy with her at all right now but she’s probably going to do well.

More democrat fighting for six more weeks! Woot. *snark*

Who knows at this point. All I know is I’m still suffering Election Fatigue Syndrome.

So, back to my morning, Tiki Barber and Pat Buchanan are pontificating about Hillary Clinton as I write this.


This is a combination of political punditry I would have never considered in my entire life.