Thursday, October 23, 2008

Observation From a Distance

Bong (Burned Out Newspapercreatures Guild) Bull, AKA Charley Stough, has this to say, among many other things, in his latest issue:

Can we go ahead now and admit that page redesign isn't going to save newspapers?

One is tempted to call this the future of newspapering, but in fact it's the past. Among other warning signs in BONG Bull's premier edition in 1988, 700 editions ago, was the query, "Did you ever make your calls from the loading dock because of all the carol singing in the newsroom?" In your office it could have been cake-cutting or Hawaiian shirts, but the distractions were universal.

They didn't work. Still the managers bought into something called civic journalism and paid $1,000 a day to design consultants. Careers were built on committee skills, and team playing trumped fact checking. Better a moving column on lost puppies than a boring old 5-Ws thing on corrupt building inspectors.

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