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Preview: Comments on: New news: The fear factor

Comments on: New news: The fear factor

The media pundit's pundit. Written by NYC insider Jeff Jarvis, BuzzMachine covers news, media, journalism, and politics.

Last Build Date: Sat, 20 Jan 2018 12:54:00 +0000


By: BuzzMachine » Blog Archive » New News: Deconstructing the newspaper

Wed, 18 Jan 2006 11:58:19 +0000

[...] [Here’s another in a very occasional series of posts suggesting how to change newspapers, all tagged and headlined “NewNews.” Prior posts addressed the need to inspire an imperative for change and suggested turning the newsroom into a classroom to recast journalists’ relationships with the public. In this post, I’ll look at what newspapers do not need to be; in a future post, we will look at what they do need to be.] [...]

By: Ken Doctor

Fri, 23 Dec 2005 21:02:14 +0000

I love it: the perfect 2005 Christmas presents for newsrooms: "Scare the bejesus out of them." Seriously, I agree with Mary that a little fear goes a long way. Most fear is paralyzing to most people. By all means, lay out the facts -- the cat's out of the bag that there's a BIG problem -- and then proceed to solutions. Jeff's beginning notion to "bring in your competitors: bloggers, podcasters, community organizers" is key, and really without choice. All these worlds are developing around newspapers and newspaper people. I'm encouraged by some ferment in mixing blog/community content, beginnings at least. In Austin, the American Statesman is partnering with Pluck -- -- to do community blogging. You know how My Yahoo essentially colonized much RSS; that's a useful model for newspapers too. Ken

By: BuzzMachine » Blog Archive » New News: The newsroom as classroom

Thu, 22 Dec 2005 16:26:42 +0000

[...] After scaring the bejesus out of the newsroom and other departments in a paper, the next step has to pick up the pieces and educate the people there, to take the fear out of the unknown by making it known. I think that the newsroom should start to act like a classroom in three ways. [...]

By: Mary Schmidt

Wed, 21 Dec 2005 17:13:03 +0000

Jeff (and the rest of the comment writers) - excellent points and good ideas. However, we should always be very careful when encouraging "fear." Way too many senior managers/CEOs still think the Attila the Hun management model is the right way to go. Yes, deal with reality, but don't push the fear button too hard - that's directly connected to the panic response. And, "fight or flight" is never a good way to design a strategy or motivate the people who must implement it.

By: Sawdust + Incense » Blog Archive » Around the Internets 12.20.05

Wed, 21 Dec 2005 02:10:35 +0000

[...] The reason why I look for the blogger’s take on news stories that I find interesting as opposed to a big news outlet is that a blogger has the freedom to think and speak critically on an issue, as well as cover issues that are not being reported by big outlets. [...]

By: chico haas

Tue, 20 Dec 2005 18:31:08 +0000

Mr. Jarvis runs a Japanese automobile plant. It's not surprising he predicts the demise of the American auto industry. Regardless, we'll drive both.

By: Bruno

Tue, 20 Dec 2005 09:22:56 +0000

It seems to me that fear is already well-present in newsrooms. Panic actually. What else is the Washington Post - WPNI dispute about? Lots of ink and virtual ink has been used to speculate on the political differences, on the WP newsroom allegedly trying to please the White House and therefore wanting to "fence off" Dan Froomkin's too liberal column and so on. But seen from a distance (I'm in Europe) this seems to me to be about fear. The audience of WPNI is ten times bigger than that of WP, it's global, it's diverse, but the operation has ten times fewer people than the newspaper. Forget revenues for a second, and focus about the trend: that's what the people in the newsroom see: fewer people, more reach, faster growth (or, in the case of many newspapers, the ONLY growth): those guys up there at the website are becoming a serious threat. There is no need to instill fear: it's already there, and spreading fast. What do we do about it? How do you change people in newsrooms? Looking forward to your next posts.

By: Lyon

Tue, 20 Dec 2005 06:53:01 +0000

As long as there's a restaurant to drink morning coffee in, newspapers will have a place.

By: Li

Tue, 20 Dec 2005 05:45:28 +0000

People who really want to know what's happening have always gotten their news from the most immediate and accurate medium available to them at the time, whether it be the town crier, smoke signals, Harpers Weekly, or the morning edition of the Washington Post. Printed newspapers are simply not the most immediate source for news any longer.

By: Bruce from Alta California

Tue, 20 Dec 2005 05:41:32 +0000

Here is a novel idea. How about reporting real news and links to sources so we can fact check? I stopped taking newspapers in the 70's as they just regurgitated the pap spewed out by governement/corporations/elite. It has only been in the last few years that I have enjoyed getting real news from weblogs. Are blogs reporting fact or fiction? That principle also applies to newspapers. Its mostly a reporter's opinion, the web just gives space for everyone to espouse their own opinion. The reality of blogs is that they provide links to sources, something you won't find in newspapers. The one advantage that newspapers have over blogs is that newspapers can report local news. But then it is just a matter of time, hopefully, until local blogs crop up. The distinct advantage of blogs over newsprint is that blogs are interactive and one can review not only the information, but the reaction to the information.

By: Robert Hoffer

Tue, 20 Dec 2005 05:10:04 +0000

It is with a mixture of great sorrow and joy that our generation will finally witness the demise of Newspaper. Extracting excessive joy from your heart in watching old media suffering is schadenfreude. My grandfather read the same newspaper and a mediocre one at that - The Mobile Press Register - each and ever day of his 84 year life. That paper was used to discipline the hound dogs and the children, to start fires in the fireplace, to wrap packages for emergencies or wrap the Waterford for the moves. Discarded ... the homeless of Mobile's slummish downtown blanketed themselves with it on park benches; or made hobo fires in trash cans in back alleyways. I found an old Mobile Press Register clipping today in my roll-top desk. My grandfather was in the paper - posing with the mayor while still a young man - all dapper and smiles - his hair still dark. The paper was brown with age. Somehow there are times when my laptop just doesn't cut it.

By: Howard Owens

Tue, 20 Dec 2005 04:25:40 +0000

There's a bit of arcane newspaper history worth knowing about, and it has everything to do with the Arkansas Democrat Gazette.

By: CaptiousNut

Tue, 20 Dec 2005 03:38:32 +0000

I don't think they care much about their audience.

By: Robert J. Ricci

Tue, 20 Dec 2005 03:36:43 +0000

While I agree with many of the points you've made, Jeff, I do think we're underestimating some of the leaders behind some of the papers we read. I've heard first-hand accounts of "kidnappings" and countless tales of hours spent struggling to comprehend - and meet - the "strategic imperative for change." These folks know they can't just sit back and do what they’ve done for years - they're no dummies. It's more a question of fear: not that they'll lose their smartest staffers to the blogosphere, but that they'll never truly get a grip on what their audience expects demands from them now and in the future.

By: Noel Guinane

Tue, 20 Dec 2005 00:50:01 +0000

I'd go with the comic strip suggestion. I used to buy papers just for the funnies. And I'd serialize other content that newspapers of long ago did, like books for example. Instead of just reviewing hot titles, I'd gain permission to reprint a section of them each week. Some of what newspapers have been doing for centuries to bring readers in works. I'd also stop giving away free music CD's and promo movie DVD's. I buy the paper only for the songs or the clips that interest me and light a fire with the newspaper. What Thomas Crampton of the IHT is trying to do - print the highlights of interesting blog conversations in the newspaper - is a good idea because it's combining online with print, both of which are going to be with us for a long time to come. I wouldn't spend time and money compiling a report designed only to terrify the newsroom into facing grim reality and cause everyone to run around like rats to protect their position and their turf. It's better if people pull together so I'd do the report thing, but it would come in two parts: the first part detailing the grim reality and the second featuring a detailed plan for what to do about it having invited everyone involved to contribute some useful suggestions. I don't think they need to be terrified first into doing that. Newsmen know what's happening. Some even know what needs to be done. So I'd let them speak their minds and listen to their suggestions. I'd write it up into a workable plan specifically detailing how to improve news. Then I'd make sure the plan was followed, rather than just talked about. And I'd have no tolerance for internal politicking since it wastes time and has nothing to do with what customers want.