Tag Archives: Newsweek

Newsweek experiments with Twitter profile of Michele Bachmann

When Newsweek reporter Andrew Romano was dispatched by the magazine to profile ultraconservative Republican congresswoman Michele Bachmann it was not, as he would have liked, with a pen, paper and pretend fedora. Instead they suggested he do it live on Twitter as he followed her around. She doesn’t seem to have taken to the idea. Romano’s article about the experience makes for a good read.

I hadn’t spent enough time with her to decide if she was unserious, or crazy, or whatever. Instead, I was simply doing what Twitter demanded: being pithy and provocative. Straightforward narration would go unnoticed. Quotes from Bachmann’s old friends would seem un-newsy. Nuance would cost too many characters. So I became a color commentator, casting off the reporter’s traditional cloak of detachment and publicly weighing in on the proceedings at regular intervals. And because observation and publication were now compressed into a single act, I spent a lot of time thinking about how to phrase my tweets that I otherwise would’ve spent absorbing a scene or speaking to locals. I don’t remember much about the crowd in Monticello, the businessmen in Blaine, or Bachmann’s larger themes. I do remember what I wound up tweeting, and that’s about it.

Full story at this link…

Peter Preston: Can the Economist succeed where Newsweek has failed?

Peter Preston looks into the problems faced by weekly US news magazine Newsweek, which was put up for sale by its owners the Washington Post Co. last week, and asks if news magazines need to rethink their remit:

America is a huge, scattered country. Before mass television, before satellite printing and long before the internet, it needed news magazines to set a national agenda and provide a common framework of fact and perception. It needed Time and then its slightly more liberal competitor, Newsweek.

But now the national agenda rasps away on cable 24/7. Now the facts are familiar and the perceptions old hat by the time they drop on the mat. Now readers don’t want to be told what’s happened in the past seven days, but how it fits and what to think about it. They need analysis and context, in short: not old, broken news. They need The Economist.

Full post at this link…

US Digest: McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern; Newsweek’s yearly results; Winnipeg’s bright future

Starting this week, the editor’s blog will feature an afternoon roundup of all things media from over the pond. From the hugely important to the very inconsequential, check in for a choice of America’s journalistic goings on.

A glimpse of a perfect media world

To the Chicago Tribune first today for a heartwarming paean to Dave Eggers and McSweeney’s, and to Eggers’ own heartwarming paean to the newspaper journalism of old.

Eggers is the founder of independent publishing house McSweeny’s, responsible for, among other things, Timothy McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern and McSweeney’s Internet Tendency.

Issue 33 of the McSweeney’s quarterly – “so immense it comes in a pillow-size silver, Ziploc-ish bag” – has just been released. It is safe to say that Tribune reporter Christopher Borrelli, who likens it to “a fantasy, a tantalizing mirage — a glimpse of a perfect media world”, is a fan.

The books section runs 96 pages, the Sunday magazine 112 pages. The photos are large and gorgeous, the longest story is about 20,000 words, the arts section is two sections, and, basically, it’s fun.

Really fun.

So perfectly executed that if you work at a daily newspaper — heck, if you merely prefer the feel of news on print, or just adore the beleaguered medium (as Eggers does) — issue No. 33 may bring a tear to your eye.

In interview with Borrelli, Eggers discusses the pragmatic (financial viability) and nostalgic (reading the newspaper as a child) elements of his relationship with the printed word. He also offers a decent response to the accusation that print journalism is elitist:

Readers can tell you what’s important to them by what they look at, but there’s a great danger in that too. When I see a picture of a funny dog wearing a hat on the Web, yeah, I click it too. The problem is that pretty soon you’re down a rabbit hole, and who’s still holding the government accountable? I would much rather have reporters who have been at a subject for a while tell me what’s most important about a subject. Am I really going to cobble together my own news of what’s happening in Afghanistan?

Truth be told, if all the good newspapers called it a day Eggers probably would cobble together his own news of what’s happening in Afghanistan, and it would probably be pretty good. But I suspect this one man publishing phenomenon is not a very good test case for the rest of us. With luck, the San Francisco Panorama – “a nod to Eggers’ adopted hometown and the locality of newspapers” according to Borrelli – which broke even on its first run, will make it into regular print.

Dave Eggers

A glimpse of the real media world

North to the New York Post now, which reports that formal experimentation doesn’t seem to be paying off so well for Newsweek. From Post reporter Keith J. Kelly:

Attempts by Newsweek CEO Tom Ascheim and Editor-in-Chief Jon Meacham to reshape the magazine into a lower-circulation weekly with a more Economist-like feel do not seem to be paying off.

Tucked in the fourth-quarter earnings report from parent Washington Post Company were numbers that suggest the magazine lost $28.1 million in 2009, the first year of the process.

Newsweek is one of only two magazines currently published by the Washington Post Company. The other, Arthur Frommer’s Budget Travel, lost $1.2 million bringing the magazine arm losses to a total of $29.3 million.

Politico commentator Michael Calderone was sceptical about the shake-up from the start. From early 2009:

It certainly is a big gamble to mess with the DNA of such an established brand. But given Newsweek’s losses — and the magazine industry as a whole — it’s not a bad time to try and switch things up.

Perhaps some new kind of gamble is now needed at the beginning of 2010, established brand or not.

The hyperlocal/local/niche debate: a follow-up

To, well, anywhere local now with Lost Remote, and a follow up to Wednesday’s US Digest story about local/hyperlocal/niche reporting.

What seemed at first like a fairly innocuous post by the site’s editor Steve Safran provoked a fair amount of discussion. Safran then returned to the fray with a follow up post to address some of the readers’ comments.

Last in: the last in

A little toward the trailing edge of technology, the Winnipeg Free Press, “whose dead-tree edition have been hemorrhaging readers for two decades”, is nonetheless deserving of a runners-up round of applause for finally catching the ‘tweet from local council meeting’ bandwagon.

Apparently, reporter Bartley Kives’ “irreverent tone is perfect for social media”.

Lest the improbably named Bartley Kives get carried away with fantasies of the Twitterati, Duncan McDonagle of Snoo.ws chimes in with a sharp reminder of the realities of modern local reporting in Winnipeg, to which the world’s best-named people clearly gravitate.

And poor old Kives still had to interview participants and write stories for the paper’s website and for the newsprint edition the next morning – as well as keep an eye on council’s debate about garbage containers.

Fear not though, Kives’ humour is very much intact, in evidence in his Twitter report that McDonagle had reported on his Twitter reporting:

Reporter tweets about journalism instructor blogging about reporter tweeting. http://tinyurl.com/yaytn3a #selfpromotion #wpgcouncil

Image of Dave Eggers courtesy of David Shankbone

Image of street map courtesy of Htonl

Newsweek’s Daniel Lyons: ‘Don’t bail out newspapers – let them die and get out of the way’

Daniel Lyons, senior editor and columnist at Newsweek, argues on his Techtonic Shifts blog that US bailout plans for newspapers, such as a proposed ‘Newspaper Revitalisation Act,’ are pointless and stupid:

“All this hysteria has nothing to do with saving the news, or saving jobs. Nor is it about saving democracy, which is what the red-in-the-face newspaper lovers always get themselves huffed about, as if newspapers and democracy were inextricably linked. Democracy existed long before newspapers did, and it will survive without them. And plenty of countries that don’t have democracy do have newspapers. Nor would a bailout help readers. In fact, it would only slow down our shift to the internet, which is a far better medium for delivering information.”

Full post at this link….

Charles Apple: Newsweek photo-cropping row

Pulitzer prize-winning photojournalist David Hume Kennerly is not at all happy with the way Newsweek magazine cropped his photo of former vice-president Dick Cheney at home with his family, Charles Apple notes on his blog. The original photograph shows Cheney leaned over a chopping board, with his family in the background. The cropped version shows the vice-president only, to illustrate quotes that he made about C.I.A. interrogators.

“This incident is another example of why many people don’t believe what they see or read. And America clearly notices these shifts in journalism,” wrote Kennerly in a piece for the New York Times site. Newsweek has defended its use of the photo.

Reasons to be cheerful? Seattle paper, Roanoke Times and magazine publishers turning a profit

In addition to reporting on plummeting profits for some newspaper groups, Journalism.co.uk thought it was about time we shared some better news or at least some examples of titles that aren’t making a loss.

  1. As the city’s only surviving daily newspaper since the decline of the Post-Intelligencer, the Seattle Times posted a rise in daily circulation of around 30 per cent for June. According to the New York Times, publisher Frank Blethen says the title is operating ‘in the black’ on a month-to-month basis now.
  2. “We are a profitable, debt-free enterprise,” says Debbi Meade, publisher of the US’ Roanoke Times, in this letter to readers.
  3. New figures from the US’ Publishers Information Bureau (PIB) suggest that 12 titles managed to attract more ad pages in the first six months of this year than in comparison to the same period in 2008. Newsweek looks at which titles are managing to buck the trend in this way.

Deadline Hollywood Daily’s Nikki Finke: “I did not sell out”

It was reported this week that Nikki Finke has sold her media and entertainment news blog, Deadline Hollywood Daily, to Mail Media Corporation – for a figure speculated to be as much as $15m. Here’s a blog post written on Tuesday by the former Newsweek writer:

“Know this: I did not sell out. I really meant it when I said that DeadlineHollywood Daily.com will continue to be an independent editorial voice  – and I would retain complete control over everything reported on the website – so that DHD’s credibility with its readers could remain intact.”

Full post can be found at this link…

FT scoops six prizes at SOPA awards

The Financial Times’ Chinese-language website, FTChinese.com, took the prize for best feature writing at the Society of Publishers in Asia (SOPA) awards last night.

The site was one of six winners for the FT, which also took home gongs for newspaper design, digital journalism (for reporting on China and the Olympics) and scoop of the year.

FTChinese.com’s winning effort was an article on 30 years of reforms in China.

The title’s Mumbai correspondent, Joe Leahy, was also named journalist of the year at the event.

A full list of the award winners, which also saw the International Herald Tribune and Newsweek recognised, can be downloaded at this link.

Amnesty International Media Awards winners in full

Here are the winners from last night’s Amnesty International Media Awards; nominees and judges were reported here. The awards, designed to recognise ‘excellence in human rights reporting’, feature ten categories spread across print, broadcast and online journalism.

Gaby Rado Memorial Award
Aleem Maqbool, BBC News

International Television & Radio
World’s Untold Stories:  The Forgotten People, CNN, Dan Rivers and Mary Rogers

Nations & Regions
The Fight for Justice, The Herald Magazine by Lucy Adams

National newspapers
MI5 and the Torture Chambers of Pakistan, The Guardian by Ian Cobain

New media
Kenya: The Cry of Blood – Extra Judicial Killings and Disappearances, Wikileaks, Julian Assange

Periodicals – consumer magazines
The ‘No Place for Children’ campaign, New Statesman, Sir Al Aynsley Green, and Gillian Slovo

Periodicals – newspaper supplements
Why do the Italians Hate Us? The Observer Magazine, Dan McDougall and Robin Hammond

No One Much Cares, Newsweek, Eugene Richards

Forgotten: The Central African Republic, BBC Radio 4 – Today Programme, Edward Main, Ceri Thomas, Mike Thomson

Television documentary and docu-drama
Dispatches: Saving Africa’s Witch Children, Channel 4 / Red Rebel Films / Southern Star Factual, Mags Gavan, Joost Van der Valk, Alice Keens-Soper, Paul Woolwich

Television news
Kiwanja Massacre: Congo, Channel 4 News / ITN, Ben De Pear, Jonathan Miller, Stuart Webb and Robert Chamwami

Special award
This year’s Special Award for Journalism Under Threat was awarded to Eynulla Fәtullayev, from Azerbaijan.

García Media: Newsweek’s new approach

“With the announcement that Newsweek is planning to rethink itself to appeal to a smaller, more elite, but devoted, audience, two themes emerge that are worth considering,” writes Dr Mario R. Garcia.

Firstly, the editor Jon Meacham’s statement that “If we don’t have something original to say, we won’t. The drill of chasing the week’s news to add a couple of hard-fought new details is not sustainable.”

Secondly, that editorially, ‘Newsweek’s plan calls for moving in the direction of not just analysis and commentary, but an opinionated, prescriptive or offbeat take on events.’

Full post at this link…