Massive layoffs and cutbacks are one thing, but you really know the newspaper depression is serious when the troubles get between journalists and their award ceremonies.
Last night, the directors of the Society of Professional Journalists' southern regional Green Eyeshade Awards canceled the banquet for economic reasons. Here's a press release issued last night:
LITTLE ROCK -- Directors of the Green Eyeshade Awards have canceled plans for this year's awards banquet and presentation because the news media's economic problems made it difficult to guarantee attendance.
Winners will be announced in a separate release by June 15.
"Canceling this celebration of journalistic excellence was a difficult decision," said Sonny Albarado, director of Region 12 of the Society of Professional Journalists and co-director of the Green Eyeshade Awards.
"With so many of us facing budgetary cutbacks, both personally and professionally, it seemed an undue burden to put on folks," added Darcie Lunsford, SPJ's Region 3 director and Green Eyeshade Awards co-director. "The GES region covers such a wide swath of the southern United States that most of us would have had to travel to get to a banquet. We hope to reinstate our traditional banquets next year."
The Green Eyeshade Awards is an annual regional competition that recognizes outstanding journalism in 11 southeastern states: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and West Virginia.
Well, dang, the Pulp is up for one of those things. But I wasn't going to attend the banquet anyway. Couldn't afford it.
The good news for award-winning partygoers is that the South Florida SPJ chapter is holding a scaled-down version of its awards banquet tomorrow night at the Arts and Culture Center of Hollywood at 1650 Harrison St. It's $25 a head and starts at 6:30 p.m. I believe there are still places available (contact Tim Dodson if you're interested at tim@timdodson .com or 305-756-0735).
After the jump, I'm including the latest Lee Abrams think piece. In this one, our favorite chief innovation officer opines on Twitter, says he thinks Tribune Co. media outlets "missed the window" on the "green" movement, and puts a positive spin on the recent layoff of 53 people at the Chicago Tribune, which brought staffing levels to 430 (the typos are his, not mine):
It may be less than what it was, but to a civilian, that's huge! I'll bet the average person who believes what they read thinks the staff is down to about 10. I wanted to point this out because the negative press about cutbacks rarely takes into account that 430 is a VERY powerful number by today's standards. Despite the painful realitities of th2 2009 economy and the steps needed to stay in business, we are still the supreme newsgathering operation around---and it shows every day.
The piece comes after the jump.
THINK PIECE: DOES YOUR GRANDMA TWITTER?
Newspapers learned a tough lesson. Waiting until the last minute to evolve. Now it's TV's turn. I find it amazing that we often don' t think beyond next month and start to break out of denial and accept that while it may not be broken...it's going to be unless WE are the ones to take both content AND technical innovation seriously. I mean REALLY seriously. Challenge the playbook...accept that it's not 1985 anymore. Brutally challenge every aspect of what we do and either evolve or, through close and ego-less examination, continue on current paths. But---I'd guess that MOST of what we do content wise is painfully out of date and those with the courage and intellect that is freed from "because we always did it this way" thinking will prevail in a big way.
Edward R. Murrow said it best when he talked about TV:
"This instrument can teach, it can illuminate, and yes it can inspire. But it can do so only to the extent that humans are determined to those ends. Otherwise it is nothing but wires and lights in a box."
THE FUTURE OF NEWS:
Here's a recent report on Newspaper/Online/TV news consumption (mainly from a print-of-the-future POV) worth a look
YOUTUBE IS FOR KIDS?
Nielsen NetRatings suggested that one-third of YouTube's audience is over 45
WE'RE STILL IN A POSITION OF STRENGTH: THE OPTIONS---Use it or sit back and wait to get clobbered. It's not that what else is out there is always good!
....and only 15 percent of online Americans have even heard of Hulu...so far.
*DOES YOUR GRANDMOTHER TWITTER: While Twitter is remarkably successful, sometimes it seems a bit odd when traditional papers and TV stations "jump on the bandwagon" in a way that looks like they're trying too hard to be cool. A few months ago, a competing paper Twittered from a sports event. as a fan of that sport, I thought it was the most annoying coverage ever. Our paper had a real reporter covering the event and delivered satisfying coverage. The Twitter report was bits and pieces "..the coach is now getting up to get a coke..." Then to see a straight laced TV News Professional going into a trying too hard to be cool delivering a "Twitter me" rap seemed....odd. My point is that it's a phenomenon but the way our more traditional products interact with it should probably be thought out. To some, I'll bet we're an escape from what is an annoying trend to some. I'm not suggesting go negative on it...in fact, it's something to embrace, but HOW we embrace it should be in sync with your target.
*MOST PEOPLE HAVE JOBS: As horrendous as the economy is, I sense an overwhelming skew toward "We are here to help". we ARE of course, but I also sense a 'hey--what about the rest of us'. The thought here is balance. We can help with passions and not just problems. Guides to surviving the recession are an important component, but just one dimension in what we are all about.
*GREEN INITIATIVES: I think we missed the window. I was talking to a paper about "Green" but that movement is now firmly engrained in the mainstream. If we went green a year or two ago, we'd be on the cusp, but now, EVERYBODY is "green" and we're following instead of leading. Another argument to act with urgency.
Sorry to "over sell" WGN AMERICA , but in the interest of sharing, please take a look at these (link to file below). What I like about them is:
*They let the content do the talking
*Instead of a faceless "voice" there's Bill Mack. While maybe not a household name to anyone other than long distance truckers, he oozes Traditional Country cred.
*Nice use of the logo
*An example of theming. If you are a fan of real Country music...this'll strike a chord vs. simply running a Country movie.
Link to file:
KATHLEEN O'HARE SENT THIS UNUSUAL PROMOTIONAL VEHICLE...
Kind of a cross between R2D2, ET and a puppy:
FOR MUSIC FANS: YouTube meets Apple's Garage Band
MEDIAWEEK: Had an article on the new Tribune.surprisingly balanced
Interesting and diverse opinions on this popular topic:
LA TIMES: Pretty cool stuff (though I hope they get an audio logo)
Next week we will begin to roll out a new creative platform ("INK") for our flagship LAT brand.
As most of you have seen, the creative was conceived to (a) reinvigorate our brand (b) amp our relevance (c) unify across initiatives i.e. classified and content promotion (d) have enough flexibility to work effectively across all mediums and (e) stimulate new trial. Given the many, many executions we have of creative currently in the market/use, this will roll-out over 3 mos, including retooling of things as basic as PPT templates and as bold as bldg graphics.
We are not planning a big paid media spend, and the creative is very viral/organic in nature and we made the decision to not formally 'announce' it to employees, put out a press release. However, on Monday the following elements will come to life:
KTLA :30 http://creativegroup.latimes.com/Ink/
Café Graphics / Manifesto / Floor graphics
. Media Kit / Sales Collateral / Sell Sheets
. KTLA :10 and :20 for content promotion (See example: http://creativegroup.latimes.com/ContentPromo/Ink/
. Mousepads (discovered from the infamous trip to basement), email signatures, and computer screen graphics
. Social Media (LAT Facebook, iPhone Apps, etc)
. Theater Trailers
. Direct Mail / Consumer
. Email / Newsletters
. Business cards/envelopes/etc (replaced as need arises)
. Event /Kiosk signage
CHICAGO TRIBUNE STAFF REDUCTION TO 430. It may be less than what it was, but to a civilian, that's huge! I'll bet the average person who believes what they read thinks the staff is down to about 10. I wanted to point this out because the negative press about cutbacks rarely takes into account that 430 is a VERY powerful number by today's standards. Despite the painful realitities of th2 2009 economy and the steps needed to stay in business, we are still the supreme newsgathering operation around---and it shows every day.
Chicago Tribune reduces newsroom staff
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The Chicago Tribune today reduced its newsroom staff, a response to the economic downturn and changes in the media business model.
The exit of 53 editorial employees is part of a paper-wide cost-cutting effort. Tribune Editor Gerould Kern said in a letter to staff that cuts are part of a newsroom reorganization that "will focus us more clearly on our core mission" going forward with a newsgathering team of around 430
"Power is about what you can control. Freedom is about what you can unleash."
--- Harriet Ruben