New Media

Daily Bread for 12.14.23: Standalone and Stand Alone

 Good morning.

Thursday in Whitewater will be sunny with a high of 46. Sunrise is 7:18 and sunset 4:21 for 9h 03m 17s of daytime. The moon is a waxing crescent with 3.2% of its visible disk illuminated.

 On this day in 1964, in Heart of Atlanta Motel v. United States the U.S. Supreme Court rules that Congress can use the Constitution’s Commerce Clause to fight discrimination.

  Over at Neiman Lab, Andrew Kaczynski’s The Homepage is Back makes a prediction for 2024: 

As some social media platforms diminish in significance as primary news sources for news junkies — because of their perceived unreliability and chaotic nature — there will be a notable rise in the importance of homepages and newsletters as those readers seek more authoritative and trustworthy sources for news.

The reality today is most voracious news consumers — members of the media included — have to embrace a choose-your-own-adventure approach to getting read-in each day, cobbling together an ever-changing combination of news sites, author pages, social channels, and email newsletters. It’s reminiscent of our pre-Twitter days. (RSS feeds, anyone?)

But is that necessarily a bad thing? I’d argue that it is well worth the extra effort. I’d even take it a step further and say there’s something cleansing about avoiding the algorithm and doing a little self-discovery when it comes to news sources. Personally, I’ve rediscovered the value and influence of morning political newsletters in reaching elected officials and decision-makers and the importance of homepages for getting a sense of the big national stories of the day. I’ve embraced the news sections of apps and, yes, I am still exploring the potential for new platforms like Threads.

Yes, for journalists, and for others like bloggers, the homepage is back. Then again, it never truly went away. Standalone and stand alone are both good practices. 

The rubber that stops cracks in their tracks:

If Not 2020, When?

In August, the Journal Sentinel published a story, Liberal ‘news’ websites launching in Wisconsin, where conservative versions have thrived. (From the viewpoint of the JS, these are ‘news’ sites not news sites, as the paper is suspicious of non-traditional reporting. Without seeing some of the online publications, however, the scare quotes seem presumptuous.) These months later, only…

What Can Be Done About Rural Newspapers (Even Though It Probably Won’t Be)?

Yesterday I wrote that Another Local Paper Changes Hands. With the failure of legacy publishing, what are rural communities to do? (Obvious point: FREE WHITEWATER is not an online newspaper – never aspired to be, never will be. This is a website of independent commentary: aligned with no faction, beholden to no faction.) A few…

Lessons from a Digital Newspaper Now Making Money

In late April, I wrote about The Media’s ‘Post-Advertising’ Future (advertising’s not enough to sustain publications, subscriptions will prove necessary for most publications, and “[t]he key lesson for publishers is to offer sharp (and sometimes sharp-tongued) writing, to see that content is king”).  (A word about FREE WHITEWATER.  This website accepts no advertising, requires no…

The Media’s ‘Post-Advertising’ Future

Nationally and locally, the media (whether profit or non-profit) continue their significant transformation: the decline of print, the rise of (interactive) digital media, and the collapse of a middle-of-the-road partnership of boosterism between mediocre newspapers and middling officials. Print’s doomed, and so is digital that merely repeats the same banal style of contemporary print. Traditional…

A Site on Facebook: ‘Nothing on this page is real’

Standards have fallen so low that, whether of right or left, trolls take advantage of gullible and ignorant people on Facebook each day.  Eli Saslow reports how a liberal troll tricks impressionable conservatives.  The people tricking, and the people being tricked, are evidence of (respectively) ethical or educational decline.  First the unethical tricksters: He [forty-something Christopher Blair] had…

‘A Free Press Needs You’

Following Trump’s repeated attacks on the press as the enemy of the people, hundreds of publications across America are today uniting in a defense of their right to free expression. The editorial board of the New York Times, in A Free Press Needs You, describes our heritage and the threat to it: In 1787, the…

Revisiting Kozloff’s ‘Dark, Futile Dream’

About a year ago, I wrote a post on an off-campus meeting at which local notables and a search consultant (Jessica Kozloff) discussed a replacement for Richard Telfer. A story on that meeting, published in the Daily Union, is one of the best accounts of insiders’  thinking.  See, from that newspaper, UW-Whitewater chancellor session held,…

Henry Blodget on Where Digital’s Headed

At the latest Ignition conference, Henry Blodget of Business Insider gave his most recent assessment of where digital media are headed. It’s a sound appraisal. It’s worth noting that while he sees media’s direction as predominantly digital (true enough), he leaves unstated (because it must seem so obvious to him) that successful digital media are…

4 Points About Public Records Requests

So a local paper complains that a local school superintendent won’t comply with a public records request, won’t put the paper on a media contact list, and simply ‘must’ improve communications.   A few points — 1.  Compliance with a public records request isn’t a ‘communications’ issue; it’s a legal issue, of rights of residents…