Monthly Archives: March 2011

Who reports?

By Chris Daly

The always-interesting Nate Silver, in a recent post, put his finger on a really key issue in journalism: who does the reporting that everyone else fights over, analyzes, re-purposes, aggregates, or just steals?

Silver did some back-of-the-envelope calculations and came up with this chart:

(I must say I am very gratified to see that two of the top 10 — The AP and The Washington Post — are the places were I spent most of my years as a journalist.)

As anyone in the news business could tell you, there are no real surprises here. Silver is trying to identify who does the bulk of the original reporting about national and international affairs for American audiences. (He is not looking here at local news, which is another story.)

Two news organizations in particular stand out, almost in a class by themselves.

First is the AP, the enormous but nearly invisible news organization that still operates in every state in America and most countries around the world. The non-profit cooperative functions as a giant wholesaler of news — gathering, re-writing, shooting, editing, and distributing vast amounts of stories, images, sound, and data every hour of every day. Almost all of AP’s output is delivered to other news organizations, and not directly to the public. So, most people think they “get their news” from whatever retail outlet they happen to frequent, rather than from the ultimate source, which is often the AP.


Number Two on the list is The New York Times. Again, no real surprise. Say what you will about its management, business model, stock price and all the rest, the Times has no real peer among “general news” organizations. (By that, I mean organizations that have a broader sweep than a particular topical niche like business, sports, or celebrities).

The point is worth making again: reporting is expensive (and sometimes dangerous), and the world would be a better place if more people got out, walked around, took notes, made photos, and shared what they found.

‘Nuf said.


Filed under Journalism, New York Times

More news about the news

By Chris Daly

More news today about journalism.

~First, an update from the NYTimes about the harrowing captivity of four of its own journalists (including Tyler Hicks, a BU alum who will be the commencement speaker this spring at BU’s College of Communication — assuming he stays out of any further serious trouble). And thanks to Joe Klein, on today’s “Morning Joe” on MSNBC, for pointing out that when certain people (he mentioned Sarah Palin) whine about the “lame-stream media,” they should realize that they are disrespecting people who deserve better. 


Photo by John Moore/Getty Images










~Whither Glenn Beck? Who the heck knows?


~Thanks to Michael Miller for pointing this out, here are some interesting further thoughts on the NYTimes pay model (including bold assertions about the future) from John Gruber at Daring Fireball. (With a name like Daring Fireball, no wonder he’s so confident about his predictions…)


~A happy prospect: help-wanted from Talking Points Memo, which is seeking to fill a new position, that of associate editor for Washington news. Here’s the take-away:

Crackerjack news judgment, experience as an editor and deep familiarity with politics and political news are each a must. Competitive salary for qualified applicants; health care, three weeks annual vacation and 401k benefits provided.


Glad to see health care benefits being offered. Wonder what is meant by “competitive salary”. . .





Leave a comment

Filed under broadcasting, Fox News, Glenn Beck, Journalism, New York Times

News about the news

By Chris Daly

It’s a busy Monday for news about the news business. Here goes:


–Happily, the four talented, experienced journalists from the NYTimes captured by the Libyan government have been released.

From London comes word of limited progress in addressing some of the worst features of British libel law (presumption of guilt, unlimited jurisdiction, etc.)

David Carr peers inside Google and sees a “media company.”

Foreign news matters again inside big news organizations that have been hollowing out their “foreign desks” and closing overseas bureaus.

–I’m not even sure what this story about Thrillist is all about, but it’s the most emailed business story, so here goes.

(Thrillist looks like a retailing site to me, not a media site. But what do I know?)


Leave a comment

Filed under Journalism, media

NY Times pay wall

By Chris Daly


So often, the field of media criticism/analysis partakes of the spirit of sports journalism. If you watch ESPN a lot, you realize that most of the people on the screen have a very specific skill set: the ability to make bold, provocative statements about the near future. (There is a similar skill set involved in politics and military analysis, too.)


I will admit that this is an activity I am not very good at, so I will not try. Instead, I take a more agnostic and empirical approach (more in keeping, I think, with the genius of journalism and history, which are essentially backward-looking enterprises). I am applying it now to the NY Times newly announced pay-for-news plan.


To its credit, the paper has started covering the issue a bit better, including a piece today.

Some of those people who are gifted with knowledge of the future are already weighing, as here.

I say: let’s get some data first, then try to figure out what it means.

Until then, I must say I wish the Times good luck in figuring this out.


NYT publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. last week.






Leave a comment

Filed under media, New York Times, publishing