Sunday, January 15, 2006

The Burris Blog has moved...

If you're looking for posts since January 15, 2006, go here. I packed up my various blogs and moved them to a site that allows me to place all three in a single menu.

Sorry for any inconvenience. Now click the link and come over to the other side...

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Newspapers - part 2

Rick Hall's comments to my earlier post were right: years, decades from now we'll still want to hold much of what we read in our hands. (Thanks, Rick.) The NY Times, the Journal, maybe the Post ... these aren't local papers, and I believe there will always be a place for them, as there will for magazines.

But back to local papers...

I came across this from an interview in TIME with Dave Barry:

TIME: Newspapers have changed since you started [writing a column more than thirty years ago].
BARRY: They're less edgy.... When we had more space, more money and less obsession with losing readers, editors were quicker to print what they thought was funny just because they thought it was funny. Now they're more likely to wonder, Is it really funny? Will it annoy people? Maybe we should show a focus group.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Local newspapers

"The boss walks into your office and shuts the door. Sits down. Looks you solemnly in the eye. 'We're buying a bunch of newspapers from Knight Ridder,' he says. Tilts back in his chair. 'We know there's something to be done with them, but we don't know what. Your new job is to figure that out. Which functions can go, which stay, what must be expanded, where the new revenue is. We - well, you - will remake the local newspaper for this century.'"

Thus opens Jon Fine's January 9, 2005, "MediaCentric" column in BusinessWeek.

I read Fine's column, "The Daily Paper of Tomorrow," one day after sitting in a presentation by Bernie Mann, owner and publisher of Our State magazine. Bernie made a strong case about his magazine's phenomenal circulation gains, and he couldn't resist (rightfully, I think) comparing it to daily newspapers in North Carolina, which are, of course, losing circulation almost every day.

Back to Fine's column. It seems virtually everything a local or regional newspaper does, he says - with the exception of local news - is done better by someone

Classifieds? Craigslist is free.

Sports? Since TV is moving more games into primetime, many of the big games finish too late to be covered in the morning papers. Might as well check ESPN or CNN, online or on-air.

Local advertising? Google and Yahoo! target better and produce measurable results.

The (Greensboro) News & Record for the last year has carried on a noble experiment in local blogging, wondering if the paper of tomorrow isn't more a citizens' broadsheet. One of the best things I've read on this topic is Lex Alexander's manifesto, posted just over a year ago.

Oddly enough, as down as I am on newspapers' future, I'd love the job described in Fine's opening paragraph. If only I thought someone would care what I think...