Saturday, December 13, 2008

Trib Online Only? No, Shouts Full-Page Ad

So, was anyone besides me puzzled by the full-page ad in The Tampa Tribune that shouted:


Hmmmmmmmmmm . . .

It seems the house ad was designed to quell a rumor that Mother Trib was going “online only” in January—at least that’s what claims.

Apparently the ruckus was caused by Gerald Ensley who wrote recently in the Tallahassee Democrat that, “The Christian Science Monitor quit being a newspaper: It will publish online only. Reportedly, the Tampa Tribune will follow suit in January.”

Aw, come on Gerald, were you poking MT in the eye or do you really know something?

Regardless, The Trib’s punch line for the full-page ad is “The presses are running.”

Too bad they’re not printing moola.


In an impassioned rebuttal to rumors and innuendos, Executive Editor Janet Coats and President/Publisher Denise Palmer made plain that “This Newspaper Is Fighting Back.”

That headline appeared on the cover of the VIEWS section of The Tampa Tribune on Sunday, Dec. 14.

“It's time to set the record straight,” they wrote, and their stabs and jabs included a few choice pops at that newspaper across the Bay, the St. Petersburg Times.

Among the comments: “Subscription solicitation crews, working for the St. Petersburg Times, spread rumors that the Tribune is closing in January. We have asked the Times to stop the solicitors from spreading this lie.”

The two executives also offered a detailed comparison between the Tribune and Times re: story counts and coverage, noting that the Trib was holding its own generally and excelling in a number of areas, including news coverage of its home county of Hillsborough.

They also made plain that some people wrongly assumed that when the Chicago-based Tribune Company declared bankruptcy, it meant The Tampa Tribune.

Not so, Coats and Palmer wrote: “For the record, we are not. We are owned by Richmond, Va.-based Media General; our company is not seeking protection in the bankruptcy courts.”

The two did admit, however, that, “These are difficult times for the newspaper business.”

To read the full text from Coats and Palmer, go to:

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Media MadMan’s Radical Revolution

He is part media guru and part bomb thrower.

His advice about television stations is straightforward: “Burn them to the ground” . . . then hire his firm to rebuild anew. Newspapers? Drop the paper (too expensive) then go online only. And, of course, hire him as a consultant. Boards of Directors at Big Media firms? Die, and let the young Turks take over. (Don’t want to die? Hire his firm to re-invent yourselves.)

Who is this Media MadMan?

Michael Rosenblum.

(To sip a sample from his flashy fount of visdom — as in video wisdom —v isit and watch him rant.)

Mr. Guru believes in Mojo—Mobile Journalists—though he doesn’t necessarily use that phrase. He also believes in revolution not evolution, and he is prepared to put your money where his mouth is — literally.


Here’s the short version: Why pay somebody like Katie Couric $14 million to read the news for 22 minutes? Take that money and—at a hundred thousand a pop—hire a herd of mobile journalists, equip them with computers and digital video cameras and set them loose to forage for stories. If a third of the assignments are throw-aways, who cares . . . you’ll have more than you need to feed the beast, and then some.

Is anybody listening to Rosenblum’s railings?

Yup. Al Gore for one. Rosenblum was involved in Current TV, Gore’s audience-produced cable channel. He also transformed the BBC’s national network to his video-journalism paradigm and implemented V-J at Time-Warner’s New York One as well as Channel One in London.

Here’s what Rosenblum says about himself: “For the past 20 years I have been experimenting with different, new and sometimes radical ways of both producing and delivering television news and programming.”

The implications are clear: The next generation of reporters will be self-contained units who write, take video, edit and submit stories on-the-go, then move on to the next assignment. And more than that: Point-and-shoot digital video cameras will be handed out to receptionists, sales people, carriers and even publishers—to click away at whatever they come across going to and fro: Shopping. Picking up clothes at the dry cleaners. Having lunch at the Columbia Restaurant. Walking along Franklin Street or at the Pier. Driving over the Skyway. Watching sunsets on Longboat Key. Everywhere.

Will journalism be better for the effort? I don’t think so, but it will be different. The larger question is will it be financially sustainable. One can only hope.

More bad news news: Newspaper advertising revenue in the U.S. dropped by nearly $2 billion, or 18 percent, in the third quarter, according to the Newspaper Association of America, an industry group. Even online ad revenue dropped for the second quarter in a row. The decline is the worst since the NAA began keeping records.