Friday, July 29, 2011

Path of least resistance

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I do not think I am being cynical when I say that people, generally, are like electricity – we follow the path of least resistance.
This can be an amazing trait, because in many respects it helps us function more efficiently. We follow the rules or expectations laid out before us by law or societal perceptions of right and wrong behavior.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Fear and loathing in journalism

Bitterness, anger, hope: Passion marks fork in road

Few debate that print journalism is at a crossroads: One
path is along the traditional road of newspapers, the other
lies with new media technology, the Internet. And change,
particularly radical change, is painful.
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I started writing this in response to a thread on a LinkedIn discussion board in which Dan, a young journalist who has embraced his role in new media, was taking some heat over his views in defense of his employer and in defense of new media in general. When I realized I had written 1,400 words, I stopped, posted my response here, and left @Dan a link.

@Dan, these are probably the toughest times for journalists since the early 1980s, and you are on the “other side” of the aisle from many traditional journalists.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Sun-Times to cut 400

Will media company fall as The Rocky did? 

When I received the email alert Tuesday afternoon from Crain’s Chicago Business, the headline I saw, “Sun-Times newspapers will roll off rival Tribune presses,” caught me by surprise, although it should not have.

The first thing thought that came to my mind as I read the story was the Rocky Mountain News in Denver, long affectionately called The Rocky by its readers. I lived out West for 11 years, and I had read the Rocky Mountain News from time to time. Some of the folks I worked with for four years in Cheyenne, Wyo., went on to better jobs at The Rocky.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Fessin’ up: Addressing mistakes

Mistakes are not acceptable when they are avoidable.

This was a lesson I had pounded in to me repeatedly when I was news editor in the early 1990s at one of Wyoming’s then two capital city newspapers.

I worked there in a pressure cooker environment – I enjoyed the work thoroughly, despite the intensity and workload. There was very little time to stop to think through the course of the 90 mph night. We rushed through everything. I starting using the term “spray-and-pray editing” to describe our work.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Rumor fed a flash mob of fear

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As journalists, perhaps we should have known better. In all things it's verify, then verify again, and finally, verify.

In many work places, people gather around the water cooler to learn what’s “on the grapevine” about things happening in the company. Over the years, the rumors and gossip came in varied flavors.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Motivation's at heart of gossip

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The first four words leading up to a familiar name were all I needed to hear to know that this banter I overheard the other night, while friendly and good-natured, was gossip.

“Did you hear about …?” My stomach knotted up just a bit. When I heard the name, I clenched my teeth slightly.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Sinking feeling for Sun-Times

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It’s difficult to express the range of emotions I’ve experienced and continue to feel surrounding my former employer since I was laid off seven months ago. Largely, they centered on grief, which in her 1969 book, On Death and Dying, Elisabeth Kubler-Ross spelled out as five stages: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Sight improves; wait continues

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I’d been sitting at my laptop for something like 30 minutes on Friday when I noticed something odd about my vision.

I had not removed my regular glasses and replaced them with the cheap reading glasses I’d bought at Walgreens months ago after the vision in my one good eye began to deteriorate.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Blood spills at Sun-Times Media

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Instruments of death continue to let blood at Sun-Times Media, whose newsrooms are thinning as much from staff cuts as they are from the flight of those able to move on before their jobs are cut.

Those who leave rarely are replaced.