media

Opinion
10:47 am
Thu March 27, 2014

All the cuts to news gathering should scare us

Newspapers, even big-city newspapers, are in a sorry state these days.

Thanks largely to the Internet, their circulation and advertising revenue has been in free fall, with the result that they have far less staff than they once did.

There are also fewer papers than there used to be.

Washtenaw County, outside of Ann Arbor, is home to a collection of fascinating and picturesque little towns like Manchester, Saline, Dexter, and Chelsea. Each had its own thriving weekly newspaper: The Saline Reporter, Dexter Leader, and Chelsea Standard.

Years ago I did some consulting for the local company that owned those papers and learned that no matter how physically close these places might be, the good people of Chelsea did not want Dexter news in their paper, and vice-versa.

Times are different now.

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Arts & Culture
1:29 pm
Wed July 10, 2013

Local magazine shows stories of hope in neglected neighborhoods

A collage from the Model D's "On the Ground" summer series.
Model D

A magazine in Detroit is looking to get a new perspective on the Motor City

Model D is a digital magazine that’s been covering Detroit culture, development, and lack thereof since 2005. Now the small-staffed magazine is starting a new project: starting a summer-long series based in Osborn, a community in northwest Detroit.
From Model D’s Claire Nelson:

“What happens when we hang out in a Detroit neighborhood for a period of 90 days? Who will we meet? What will we learn? Can we eat enough at Capers Steakhouse to get some sort of discount?”

(Capers is an eastside joint known for selling its steaks by the ounce.)

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Politics & Government
8:30 am
Tue December 4, 2012

Commentary: The trouble with mainstream media

Lessenberry commentary for 12/4/12

A while ago, a student came to see me after she had badly bombed a midterm. Her goal in life is to be an on-air TV personality. Though she is a senior, it was clear that she didn’t really know how to study or take notes, and read only when forced to.

This was a course in the history of journalism, and one of her major mistakes was claiming that the African-American press tried in the 1930’s to turn people against slavery.

Slavery had then been abolished for 70 years. I asked if she knew that the Civil War had led to the end of slavery. She did not, and asked me when the Civil War was.

I said that if I told her, she would forget, and that she needed to look it up and then report back. She thought that was reasonable, and then paused. “What countries were involved in the Civil War? I mean, I know America was one of them,” she said.

Now, that was a bit of an extreme case -- but not as much as you might think. I am not telling you this to attack how history is taught in the public schools.  I’m thinking about the media.

As pretty much everybody knows, traditional mainstream media -- the daily newspaper and the half-hour TV broadcast, are in trouble.

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Politics & Government
6:00 am
Fri October 26, 2012

Politicians learn their lines

Bob Kolt teaches his students to "smile big" during interviews

Bob Kolt is using a wildly popular video clip to teach future politicians the importance of knowing their lines. It’s an excerpt from the 2007 Miss Teen USA competition. In the video, Miss South Carolina is asked why she thinks 1/5 of Americans can’t find the United States on a map.

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2:02 pm
Thu September 13, 2012

Can the Detroit Free Press survive the cuts?

Lead in text: 
Allan Lengel writes for Deadline Detroit, "the recent exodus is unprecedented in size for local media outlets, and it has shaken the staff and left the top management searching for talent to fill a few of the positions."
The strange gurgling noise you hear on W. Lafayette Blvd is the sound of talent trickling down the drain. Since last summer, the paper has lost 20 staffers, who quit for a variety of reasons, and it soon will lose 22 more reporters, editors and photographers, who have accepted a buyout offer from the Gannett Company, the Free Press' Virginia-based owner.
Health
4:46 pm
Thu June 21, 2012

Critics of the Affordable Care Act are winning the "messaging war"

nyaltnews.com

Critics of the Affordable Care Act are winning the media battle.  That's according to research by the Pew Trust.

The study says opponents of the health care overhaul had effective messages about what they call "big government." It says those messages were more effective than supporters' warnings about what they call "greedy insurance companies."  The study also mentions that most of the news coverage focused on politics rather than explaining what the law actually does.

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Culture of Class
8:45 am
Wed November 23, 2011

How the media portrays class

From the Bradys to the Cosbys, most of us can probably name several television families... some middle class, some working class and some decidedly upper class. But, how do media portrayals of these families affect our ideas about class... and ourselves? We asked Susan Douglas, author and professor of Communication Studies at the University of Michigan, just that question.

Newspapers
5:11 pm
Wed November 2, 2011

Booth papers, MLive.com form new company, cut home delivery

Dan Gaydou announces the formation of a new company, MLive Media Group
MLive.com

According to a press release by Booth Newspapers Publisher Dan Gaydou, Booth Newspapers and MLive.com will now operate as one consolidated company, MLive Media Group.

Distribution and administrative operations will move to Advance Central Services Michigan, a newly formed subsidiary company.

The restructuring will most likely mean job cuts as the organization increases its focus on digital content.

From the announcement on MLive.com:

Many of our newspaper employees will have a place in the MLive Media Group and will still work in your local community at the MLive Media Group office. Many others will have a place at Advance Central Services Michigan. While we believe these changes will create growth opportunities for our current employees, the reality is they will also lead to reductions in our work force. We will provide as much notice and consideration to our employees as possible. We’ll strive throughout this process to treat all our employees with the professionalism and respect they deserve.

Gaydou says MLive Media Group will open new offices and hire people to produce content for its online products and its newspapers. Employees affected by the layoffs will be able to apply for those jobs.

Home delivery will be reduced to three days a week for the following newspapers, with daily content available in an online format.

  • The Grand Rapids Press
  • The Kalamazoo Gazette
  • The Muskegon Chronicle
  • The Jackson Citizen Patriot

Other Booth newspapers including the Flint Journal, Saginaw News, Bay City Times, and AnnArbor.com will also move under the MLive Media Group name but delivery changes at those papers are not expected.

John Klein Wilson - Michigan Radio newsroom

Offbeat
2:52 pm
Fri September 16, 2011

PBS's Jim Lehrer brings us back to his "bus crier" days

Jim Lehrer is best known for hosting the nightly news program PBS NewsHour.

Lehrer has been with PBS since the early 1970s and helped develop the news program with Robert MacNeil in 1975.

But the man is also known as a bus enthusiast. Who knew?

He recently showed off his "bus crier" skills from his days as a ticket agent in the 1950s to ABC News:

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

Good thing he's not a "news crier."

Culture
5:03 pm
Mon September 12, 2011

Top 10 categories for time spent online

The top 5 social networks and blogs - Nielsen reports that blogs and social networks take up the majority of our time online. No surprise that Facebook is the king/queen.
screen grab from Nielsen report

My colleague Michigan Radio reporter Steve Carmody passed along this study from the Nielsen Company:

State of the Media: The Social Media Report (Q3 2011)

So how are we spending our time online? (hint: you "like" it). From the report:

Americans spend more time on Facebook than they do any other U.S. website.

Here's the top ten:

  1. 22.5 percent of our online time is spent on social networks and blogs
  2. 9.8 percent online games
  3. 7.6 percent e-mail
  4. 4.5 percent "portals"
  5. 4.4 percent videos/movies
  6. 4.0 percent search
  7. 3.3 percent instant messaging
  8. 3.2 percent software manufacturing
  9. 2.9 percent classifieds/auctions
  10. 2.6 percent on current events and global news

Nielsen reports that Tumblr is an emerging social network nearly tripling its unique U.S. audience over the last year.

Does the Tumblr design look somewhat familiar to you?

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Media
7:50 am
Thu August 4, 2011

In the digital age, social media is changing the way the media gathers information

Facebook is just one way that media organizations are asking you for information about the news
Jurveston Flickr

You’ve probably seen news outlets asking for your opinion, or asking you to share your story with them. More and more, media outlets are asking YOU for your personal stories to help them tell the news. Michigan Radio’s Changing Gears project has recently started trying it out with the Public Insight Network. It’s all about using social media to reach out to you. The goal is to tell a more compelling news story because it includes examples and real-life experiences.

To find out more about this trend in information-gathering and whether or not it's a good thing for a news-consumer, we caught up with Cliff Lampe, an assistant professor at the School of Information at the University of Michigan.

Simon Says
3:19 pm
Sat July 2, 2011

Out Of The Mouths Of Hosts, Oft Times, Come Flubs

Originally published on Sat July 2, 2011 8:32 am

I have sympathy for anyone who says something stupid into a microphone — any politician, pundit or nervous best man who makes an inane wedding toast.

Been there. Done that.

Mark Halperin, Time magazine's senior political analyst and a frequent commenter on MSNBC, was suspended by the cable network this week for using a locker-room profanity to critique President Obama's latest press conference. The hosts of the Morning Joe program assured Mr. Halperin that a seven-second delay switch would delete any coarse assessment that he wanted to make.

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Auto
10:48 am
Mon March 28, 2011

Founder of Automobile Magazine Dies

David E. Davis, Jr., founder of Automobile Magazine
Automobile Magazine

The founder and original editor of Automobile Magazine has died. The magazine says the man who was once called "the dean of automotive journalism" died in Ann Arbor, Michigan after complications from bladder cancer surgery.

This from Automobile Magazine Deputy Editor Joe DeMatio:

Davis founded Ann Arbor-based Automobile Magazine with Rupert Murdoch’s backing in 1985 after leaving his second stint in the editor’s chair at Car and Driver, which he moved from New York City to Ann Arbor in 1977.

Davis, who had already refashioned Car and Driver into one of the most literate and entertaining special-interest magazines in America, imagined Automobile Magazine as a celebration of the automotive good life with the rallying cry “No Boring Cars,” but the slogan could just as easily have been applied to everything else in his life:

No boring stories.

No boring meetings.

No boring road trips.

No boring wardrobes.

No boring friends.

No boring employees.

No boring food.

No boring parties.

When he was stuck with boring bosses, he suffered them most reluctantly, and in fact it was his disgust with the management team at CBS, which bought Car and Driver from Ziff-Davis Publishing in the mid-1980s, that propelled him to quit what he had considered the best job in the world, editor-in-chief of Car and Driver.

DeMatio writes that "Davis is survived by his wife, Jeannie, a.k.a. J.L.K., a.k.a. 'the woman who changed my life,' his sons Matthew (himself a well-known automotive journalist) and David III, his daughter, Peg, and his stepdaughter Eleanor, and stepsons Vincent and Tony Kuhn."

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Commentary
10:57 am
Mon March 14, 2011

Saving Newspapers

It’s hardly a secret that newspapers aren’t doing very well these days. Over the decades, they’ve been gradually replaced as the nation’s universal mass medium by television.

Newspaper’s biggest economic blow came, however, with the flight of advertising revenue to the Internet. This, combined with an ever-more busy public bombarded by more and more media choices, has badly wounded what was once a thriving industry. And, left us in danger of being dangerously uninformed as well. Ann Arbor, for example, no longer has a daily newspaper at all.

The problem is perhaps most acute in Detroit, where, twenty-five years ago, the Detroit News and Free Press sold a combined total of one point three million newspapers every day.

That number has declined ever since. Audited figures show that as of last September, they were down to a combined circulation of less than four hundred thousand, a number that has dropped further since then.

To save money two years ago, Detroit’s newspapers embarked on an experiment in which they would deliver the papers only three days a week, and asked consumers to read them online or go to the store and buy it the rest of the week. This really hasn’t worked.

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Arts/Culture
10:14 am
Mon March 14, 2011

AnnArbor.com lays off 14 employees

AnnArbor.com replaced the 174-year old daily Ann Arbor News in 2009
Jennifer Guerra Michigan Radio

Update March 14th, 10:14 a.m.

Tony Dearing is AnnArbor.com's chief content officer. He posted a comment over the weekend on AnnArbor.com about the layoffs. Here's what he wrote:

While personnel issues are an internal matter and we don't discuss them publicly, I can confirm that we reorganized our newsroom this week to put our focus more squarely on local news coverage. As a new organization, we have tried a lot of things. Now that we are well into our second year, the community has told us very resoundingly that what it wants most from us is hard news coverage, particularly in the areas of government, education, police, courts, health, the environment, University of Michigan sports, and business. These areas of coverage account for all but a tiny percentage of our readership and revenue. Meanwhile, we also have put a lot of effort toward other things -- including lifestyle topics like Passions and Pursuits, The Deuce, Homes and some areas of Entertainment coverage -- that our community has shown much less interest in, and we are scaling back in those areas.

We have made tremendous progress since we launched, and we continue to be very happy with the growth we're seeing in audience and revenue. But from the beginning, we said that we would be shaped by what the community wants, and the community wants us to focus more sharply on local news reporting. We have repositioned ourselves to throw our energy and resources into our local news coverage and that is how we will operate moving forward as we continue to grow.

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Media
10:53 am
Wed March 9, 2011

NPR CEO Vivian Schiller out

Vivian Schiller in 2009 sitting with Mark Cuban (left) and Bob Garfield (right)
David Berkowitz Flickr

Update 10:53 a.m.

The second hour of the Diane Rehm Show will focus on what the departure of NPR's CEO Vivian Schiller will mean for the network, and federal funding for public broadcasting.

The program starts at 11 a.m. on Michigan Radio.

10:29 a.m.

This news came from the NPR's news blog this morning:

NPR President and CEO Vivian Schiller has resigned, NPR just announced.

This follows yesterday's news that then-NPR fundraiser Ron Schiller (no relation) was videotaped slamming conservatives and questioning whether NPR needs federal funding during a lunch with men posing as members of a Muslim organization (they were working with political activist James O'Keefe on a "sting.")

NPR's Board of Directors is responsible for the governance of NPR. Chairman Dave Edwards released a statement to staff and member stations. In the statement, Edwards said Schiller resigned:

It is with deep regret that I tell you that the NPR Board of Directors has accepted the resignation of Vivian Schiller as President and CEO of NPR, effective immediately.

The Board accepted her resignation with understanding, genuine regret, and great respect for her leadership of NPR these past two years.

But NPR's media reporter, David Folkenflik, says that's not the case. This from NPR news:

NPR's David Folkenflik talks with Renee Montagne about the latest developments, saying CEO Vivian Schiller was ousted in the wake of the controversy over News Analyst Juan Williams' firing last year and gaffes by an NPR fundraiser that came to light Tuesday in a secret video.

Folkenflik said the latest development, the secret filming of a top NPR fundraiser making disparaging remarks about conservatives, was the last straw for NPR's Board.

You can hear the interview with Folkenflik here.

Governor Snyder
6:35 am
Fri January 28, 2011

Snyder to 'meet the press'

Governor Rick Snyder
Photo courtesy of www.governorelectricksnyder.com

Governor Rick Snyder will address the Michigan Press Association later today. As the Associated Press reports, the Republican governor will share his roadmap for reinventing the state.

The AP explains:

The MPA traditionally invites the sitting governor to speak to its annual gathering shortly after the governor gives the annual State of the State address. The meeting will take place at the Detroit Marriott in the Renaissance Center. The conference also includes a session with the GOP and Democratic legislative leaders...

Tomorrow, Governor Snyder will be in Grand Rapids as state Republicans elect a new party chairman.

Commentary
12:59 pm
Wed January 26, 2011

Violence Porn

A few months ago I was talking to a class about the economics of commercial broadcast news.  “Why,” one student wanted to know, was so much of the content so mindlessly bad?”

She complained that TV “news” seemed to be much the same these days from city to city: We get pictures of jack-knifed tractor-trailers, of fires, the crimes of the day, the more violent and sexual the better, followed by an interview with an incoherent sobbing relative. We may get a sound bite from a ranting politician. 

And if we are watching a major-market station with more dollars to invest in “news,” we may even get an “investigation” that shows that cheap hotel bedspreads tend to have germs.

However, why is it that if you want any serious discussion about why our schools are failing, or what is happening to people who have exhausted their unemployment benefits, forget it.

Okay, so how do I explain all that? Fortunately, I was assisted by a large housefly buzzing around the classroom.

Do you see that fly? I said. That fly and I don’t know each other personally, and I am not an expert on entomology. But I do know that it and I share at least two things in common.

Seriously. The fly and I eat every day, and at some point during our existence we have been or will be interested in sex. Understand that, and you’ll understand commercial broadcast programming.

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Politics
2:41 pm
Fri January 7, 2011

Ted Nugent, Anderson Cooper, and Sarah Palin

In case you missed it, Michigan's Ted Nugent talked with CNN's Anderson Cooper about Sarah Palin's prospects for the presidency (spoiler alert - he wouldn't vote for her if she was running today). Here's the interview:

News Director Off-Mic
10:47 pm
Tue January 4, 2011

Rich Rodriguez Rumors: Why it’s more important to be certain than to be first

Rich Rodriguez in 2007 accepting the coaching position at UM
Detroit News Creative Commons

Lots of media outlets in Southeast Michigan reported yesterday that University of Michigan football coach Rich Rodriguez had been fired. It wasn’t a surprise and everyone has been waiting for it to happen, and some listeners thought it was odd they didn’t hear about it on Michigan Radio. 


Want to know why? Well, couldn’t nail the rumors down as true, so we didn’t report it. Turns out that was the right decision.

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