Links 12-01-09

Links to recent reading I’ve been doing as I settle in to my new role at the Telegram: Run by Columbia College Chicago instructor Daniel Sinker, “it is a repository for experiments in online journalism, created by CCC students.” Choose a class and follow along as Sinker explores online journalism with his students. Class blogs include assignments, lecture links, examples, etc.

Some (Unasked-for) Advice for Smaller, Non-Metro Newspapers: Steve Outing talks small-market newspapers, pay walls and various “freemium” strategies. Idaho Falls Post Register (one of two examples in the Outing post) editor and publisher Roger Plathow responds in his own post, arguing that any increase in traffic from not having a pay wall is offset by an inability to monetize that traffic.

You can also download a pdf of a study done by the American Press Institute, profiling 16 newspapers across the country who have begun to experiment with some form of paid content.

Clay Shirky performs a “news biopsy” of the Columbia Daily Tribune to separate the “iron core of news” from the other stuff and discusses the importance of reporters in the newsroom (as opposed to columnists, horoscopes, ap wire and the rest of the “other stuff”).

No one surveying the changes the internet is bringing to the newspaper business is saying “My God, who will tell me about Big 12 football! Where will I find a recipe for spicy chicken wings!” What matters in the Tribune, and what’s at risk, is Terry Ganey’s work on a state coverup of elevated levels of E. Coli in Ozark lakes, Jonathan Braden on anti-gay protesters from Kansas picketing in Columbia, Jodie Jackson’s reporting of on a child molestation case against a local politician

For people who see newspapers as whole institutions that need to be saved, their size (and not the just the dozens and dozens of people on the masthead, but everyone in business and operations as well) makes ideas like Coll’s seems like non-starters — we’re talking about a total workforce in the hundreds, so non-profit conversion seems crazy.

All that changes, though, if you start not from total head count but from a list of the people necessary for the production of Jones’ “iron core of news,” a list that, in the Columbia Daily Tribune’s case, would be something like a dozen. (To put this in perspective, KBIA, Columbia’s NPR affiliate, lists a staff of 20.)

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