Jump to content


This site uses cookies. By using this site, you agree to accept cookies, unless you've opted out. (US government web page with instructions to opt out: http://www.usa.gov/optout-instructions.shtml)

Goodbye to newspapers?


  • Please log in to reply
26 replies to this topic

#16 sandik

sandik

    Rubies Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 4,643 posts

Posted 03 November 2005 - 01:21 AM

Why is NYTimes.com inferior to The New York Times?  I mean, other than the aforementioned lost serendipity?  The story that is put to bed for the hard copy in the middle of the night is updated to within an hour or two when I get it on the web.

Just because it's electronic doesn't make it inferior.  My choice of reading matter is the same.  It's the medium that changes.  In this case, does McLuhan still hold?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


As far as the individual stories are concerned, you're right to note that the electronic version of an article is often updated or modified after it's first posted, and this can be a good thing.

What I think most online versions of print publications have a difficult time with is conveying the totality of the issue. When I look at my local papers (we have two dailies in Seattle, and my household gets them both) I scan the front pages of the sections and then read the stories I'm interested in. The layout of the page tells me a great deal about which stories are considered important, or connected -- over time we've all learned to decipher the semiotics of a newspaper page.

Very often now, though, the individual stories in the electronic version are displayed just like that -- individually. The screen doesn't always tell you which was the lead story, or which was a related piece. In some cases, depending on the way the site is programmed, you can wind up looking at material from several days ago without knowing it, by clicking on a "more" button. Jusst thinking in terms of dance coverage, you don't necessarily get a "picture" of the dance community on any given day, but instead a series of related pieces that may or may not comprise the entireity of the dance writing that day.

Of course this is all leading to podcasting, where you pre-select the topics you're interested in and the seach engine takes out all the bits it thinks you don't want. This assumes that there is very little that is expected to engage everyone -- the myth of the general reader seems to be imploding even as I write. And yes, there are whole sections of the paper that I never look at (sports goes into the recycling pretty much just as it entered the house, unless I drop it accidentally and scatter it around), but I do think there's something valuable just in knowing it exists, even if I choose not to explore it.

Some papers go out of their way to replicate some aspects of their print version (up to and including pdf files of their pages) on their websites, but I still see more of the floating articles (geographically unanchored).

To answer the last part of your question, I think McLuhan is even more accurate now than he was when he was first writing -- with the Internet and its attendant developments, the medium is very much the message.

#17 kfw

kfw

    Sapphire Circle

  • Moderators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,320 posts

Posted 03 November 2005 - 05:17 AM

Trouble at the La Times..

#18 scoop

scoop

    Member

  • Senior Member
  • PipPip
  • 88 posts

Posted 03 November 2005 - 10:34 AM

One big difference between nytimes.com and the paper paper is you now have to pay if you want to read the op-ed columnists like Tom Friedman and Maureen Dowd online. That's definitely the wave of the future -- newspapers are realizing that they've been giving a valuable commodity away for free, and now are trying to start charging for it. I wonder, though, if people who have grown accustomed to free newspapers online can be convinced to start paying, or if they'll just do without.

#19 carbro

carbro

    Late Board Registrar

  • Rest in Peace
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 6,361 posts

Posted 03 November 2005 - 11:35 AM

Unless you're willing to go to the library or pick up people's leftovers at Starbucks :unsure: , you're paying for the op-ed writers, too.

I paid a $29 annual fee and get access to each of the regular op-ed columnists for 90 days after publication. Still considerably less than buying a daily paper. :P

#20 bart

bart

    Diamonds Circle

  • Board Moderator
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 7,320 posts

Posted 03 November 2005 - 11:45 AM

This exchange is making me think about something (in this case, newspapers) I've always taken for granted and I guess assumed would exist eternally and with little change.

Most older people I know (and I include myself) either do not enjoy or have actual difficulty in concentrating on lengthy texts on a computer screen. For many of us, text on the computer is for speed-reading, skimming, skipping, cherry-picking. I don't know whether this also applies to the younger generation, but I personally know almost no one of any age, of than academics, who sits for long periods of time the complex and lengthy writing. The fact that I can control what I see and read with my cursor only increases the risk that I will miss or skip something important to the total picture. (Says one who is all too quick to use those little up-and-down arrows and especially the delete button.)

I appreciate all the comments, but sandik seems to come closest to what troubles me.

What I think most online versions of print publications have a difficult time with is conveying the totality of the issue.  When I look at my local papers (we have two dailies in Seattle, and my household gets them both) I scan the front pages of the sections and then read the stories I'm interested in.  The layout of the page tells me a great deal about which stories are considered important, or connected -- over time we've all learned to decipher the semiotics of a newspaper page.

Very often now, though, the individual stories in the electronic version are displayed just like that -- individually.  The screen doesn't always tell you which was the lead story, or which was a related piece.  In some cases, depending on the way the site is programmed, you can wind up looking at material from several days ago without knowing it, by clicking on a "more" button. Jusst thinking in terms of dance coverage, you don't necessarily get a "picture" of the dance community on any given day, but instead a series of related pieces that may or may not comprise the entireity of the dance writing that day. 


Won't this trend just increase the fragmentation of information -- and the confusion of fact and opinion -- that is already built into news on television?

#21 dirac

dirac

    Diamonds Circle

  • Board Moderator
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 25,474 posts

Posted 03 November 2005 - 12:14 PM

The print publications really are stuck between a rock and a hard place. You do have a new generation arising that seems to feel put upon whenever they have to pay for something online. And yet if you try to make people pay, as is the case with Times Select, people either find a back door or they just don’t link to your articles. And with the rise of the blogosphere, an important part of getting your stuff read is getting it linked to. It will be interesting to see how this all works out.


Thank you for the link to Ken Auletta’s article about The Los Angeles Times, kfw. The history of ownership at the LA Times is a demonstration of the worst (and best) aspects of family ownership, and the story of the paper since the Chandlers sold it to the Tribune Company shows what happens when corporate types take over. (And the Tribune Company is far from the worst.) I used to be able to buy the LA Times on any number of Northern California street corners. No more. Such availability isn't just a question of access -- it reflects a paper's reach and ambitions.

I add my thanks to bart's. I was trying to say that, but you put it so much better, sandik. You are very lucky to have two dailies in your town, although from what I’m reading that may not be for too much longer.

kfw, I loved this quote:

Smith is viewed more enthusiastically by Ann Marie Lipinski, who joined the Chicago Tribune as an intern in 1978, right after college, and whom he appointed editor in 2001.



#22 Helene

Helene

    Administrator

  • Administrators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 11,330 posts

Posted 03 November 2005 - 12:27 PM

Won't this trend just increase the fragmentation of information -- and the confusion of fact and opinion -- that is already built into news on television?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


The original strategy used by AOL, Yahoo, MSN, etc. was to control the "portal" by pre-packaging the world-view, with ample advertising. While it is still possible to default to each provider's default portal, there are many ways to customize the information that appears. The next step is to leverage RSS to make everything customizable.

The current general vision of the Internet is to use it to choose exactly what one wants to see, on demand, and customizing the web experience to filter out the "clutter." (We see this with VCR's/TiVo, as we fast-forward through the commercials, commentary, etc. I've just heard from a friend that one sports network packages the "fast" version of football into about a half hour, getting rid of the huddles, time outs, etc., so that only the action is shown.)

However, while the entire Internet is available, how to pre-package the options and tie it into revenue-producing "services" is the key toward "winning" the customizable blank slate. Whether people will customize with pasteurized, pre-packaged tripe or expand their world view using full resources is to be seen. Search and a little patience are the most powerful tools we have to go beyond conventional news sources.

The Internet still remains the cheapest way to publish. There's no need for distributors, shelf space, incentives to carry, etc.. Wherever there is connectivity there is information.

To bring this back to ballet, frankly, I have more confidence in the reviews of the posters on this board than I do in almost any newspaper critic in the country, including The New York Times. And for more contemporary work, I'd rather read On the Boards' "Blog the Boards" than a conventional arts critic on the same work.

#23 bart

bart

    Diamonds Circle

  • Board Moderator
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 7,320 posts

Posted 03 November 2005 - 01:18 PM

To bring this back to ballet, frankly, I have more confidence in the reviews of the posters on this board than I do in almost any newspaper critic in the country, including The New York Times.  And for more contemporary work, I'd rather read On the Boards' "Blog the Boards" than a conventional arts critic on the same work.

I can understand this, at least as far as it applies to reviewers outside the biggest metropolitan areas.

In smaller cities, the "cultural" reviewer gets only a few chances to (a) observe and (b) comment on the local and visiting companies. The reviewer does not have the frequent exposure to dance that might allow him/her to really know the company, its repertoire and its dancers. By the same token, the reader has only a handful of opportunities to learn about the reviewer and his/her level of knowledge, point of view and reviewing standards.

Yesterday, following a lead from Leigh Witchell, I went into the Ballet Talk archives and found a number of really interesting threads about reviewers from 2002-2004. One of the recurring topics was: Croce as compared to .... well, just about anyone. It got me thinking. One reason Croce made such a powerful impression on me as a younger audience member was that there she was, every week more or less, in the New Yorker. Even if you didn't know the company or dancer, you got to know Croce. And to know her very well. We went to the ballet together, in a sense. And, as a result, I "trusted" her, and learned from her, concerning many performances I had not seen and never would see. Even when I realized there were certain things on which we disagreed.

P.S.: For those of us relatively new to Ballet Talk, I recommend the archives enthusiastically. And the BT Search engine.

#24 GWTW

GWTW

    Silver Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 533 posts

Posted 04 November 2005 - 06:39 AM

To take it away from ballet and back to the 'totality of the picture' that sandik and bart were referring to:

My knee-jerk Luddite reaction would be to agree that you see a much wider picture by reading the print version, however today I came across an opposite example.

The website of the Israeli broad-sheet Ha'Aretz has a 'special' on the 10th anniversary of the assasination of Israeli PM Itzhak Rabin. At the click of a mouse, you can see all the articles that have been published this week in the various sections of the paper (book review, op-ed, magazine, etc.) on the topic and there is also a link to the articles published on Nov 5, 1995, the day after the assasination. This is an extreme example, as the topic is of obvious interest to every person who reads Ha'Aretz, but it has certainly led me to read some articles that I would otherwise not have come across in my cursory daily glance at the website headlines (and in-depth reading of the art, leisure and legal pages :unsure: ).

#25 beck_hen

beck_hen

    Senior Member

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 128 posts

Posted 04 November 2005 - 08:04 AM

In my work for a magazine publisher, I've discovered some things about the business models of print versus web publishing.

Right now, print is still subsidizing the web. Print advertisers are the backbone of the traditional business model; however, the money they will pay depends on circulation. As circulation is siphoned away from the print edition to the online version, advertising revenues fall. Meanwhile, internet advertising has not filled the void because it is simply not as effective—people ignore banner ads and click "Skip this ad" during the Flash animations. At least I know I do. There is not a lot of money there.

So you must charge for online content—but people are unwilling to pay what the content is really worth and what it costs to produce. Outsourcing production can be introduced as a cost-saving measure. But quality does suffer in this entire process. I love the openness and convenience of the web, but we've been getting a free lunch. If we want to read the New York Times online (as I do every day except Sunday), and if we want it to remain as valuable a resource as it is, we should pay for it.

Otherwise, we can rely on amateur information (I don't necessarily employ that term with contempt). I agree that the quality and depth of information on Ballet Talk is incredible, and many times superior to mainstream sources. Other enterprises, like Wikipedia, also show that the biggest threat to publishing may be that people are happy to offer their time and expertise for free. That is an amazing thing. Of course there is more junk than treasure out there.

And reading some of the great critics from the heyday of print, you were still getting something more. Deep knowledge, a new way of seeing, context, judgement, love of the art form, wonderful writing. I'm glad we have this forum, but I think it's tragic that people can't get paid to deliver criticism on that level any more (the firing of Tobi Tobias, the skin-deep coverage of the NY Times—I'm glad they do it, but it doesn't provide many new insights for the aficionado).

#26 dirac

dirac

    Diamonds Circle

  • Board Moderator
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 25,474 posts

Posted 04 November 2005 - 03:39 PM

And reading some of the great critics from the heyday of print, you were still getting something more. Deep knowledge, a new way of seeing, context, judgement, love of the art form, wonderful writing. I'm glad we have this forum, but I think it's tragic that people can't get paid to deliver criticism on that level any more (the firing of Tobi Tobias, the skin-deep coverage of the NY Times—I'm glad they do it, but it doesn't provide many new insights for the aficionado).


Thank you for chiming in, beck_hen. I think you’re getting close to the heart of the matter. Edwin Denby wrote much of his stuff for dailies. And I enjoy reading Tobi Tobias online, but it’s a crying shame that she’s not doing her stuff for a general interest print publication.

It’s off topic, but I thought I’d plug another favorite paper of mine, The Christian Science Monitor. It’s available online, but if you have a Reading Room nearby, stop by and pick up a print copy. They appreciate it!

#27 Paul Parish

Paul Parish

    Platinum Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,925 posts

Posted 06 November 2005 - 09:32 AM

The London writer came closest I think to the problem --
Newspapers have stopped giving us the news. And though they're "hemorraging money," well, that's only one point of view; if their ceo's didn't expect profit margins of 15 per cent (a newfangledness), they wouldn't be having to get rid of all their reporters (which is the substance of the LA Times story -- "not being a team player" was how the Chicago owners characterized the faults of the editor of their LA subsidiary, but what he didn't want to do was have to get rid of the people who'd find out what was going on and write it up).

SO the papers are arguing that they need to run more soft features, because "that's what young readers want" -- but they MAY be arguing backwards to cover up the fact that they're not telling readers, young or old, anything interesting -- which is a PRIMARY reason for loss of interest, and readership. WHy buy a paper that "slides knotless through the mind"?

My local metro daily is running a disgusting series on suicides off the Golden Gate Bridge -- front page -- that never once goes into why any of these people jumped. EVERY ONE is treated in circumstantial detail, what hte neighbors thought, where they liked to eat, take yoga, etc, a lot of tasty details, and no insight. The whole point seems to be to avoid insight, as if of course, there's no explaining why anybody could do such an unthinkable thing (of course, any claim t insight might have a non-soporific effect, indeed, might make some reader hot under hte collar, somebody indeed might SUE.) It's revolting, pointless and revolting.

The papers I've come to trust the most are the conservative ones -- not that I don't have to allow for their bias, but look -- it's now the FT and the WSJ, like the old Herald Trib, which published Denby) which will tell you what the people who know the most think is going on.

And NB in particular, in our field, look how much better Robert Greskovic's coverage in the WSJ is than the Times's.


0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users


Help support Ballet Alert! and Ballet Talk for Dancers year round by using this search box for your amazon.com purchases (adblockers may block display):