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March 28, 2009

Overnight Open Thread: “Episode VI: Return of the Schadenfreude” (genghis)

Like in any good slasher movie, the killer refuses to stay dead, no matter how many times you stab or shoot him, or even poke his eyes out with a clothes hanger. He just gets right back up and resumes trying to hunt down and kill the innocent and nubile heroine. (Example provided below the fold).

This seems to be the case regarding the never-ending story about the death of the Seattle P-I. Today we get a two-fer about the former paper. One regards the fate of all the streetcorner newspaper boxes and the other regards the efforts to start up a new online newsish and opiniony thingy (Which has never been tried before…I think they’re considering calling the new operation a “blog,” whatever that means.)

Starting with the now vacant newspaper boxes (I did a post about a single forlorn one found at a trash collection station back in February. Apparently none of you selfish bastards were willing to adopt the poor little thing) Post is here. But it looks like our little red friend is about to gain some company, according to this article from KOMO in Seattle (content squished as usual)

”SEATTLE -- The paper trail (*giggle* - ed) has come to an end for the Seattle P-I, but thousands of its newspaper racks still dot the city's landscape. All over town are the duo of paper boxes -- the blue Seattle Times box offering a digest of daily news, the red P-I boxes empty and collecting rust. Since the P-I's final paper editions were printed last week, the racks have had nothing to do. The Seattle Times is responsible for the boxes. The paper has been collecting thousands of the boxes from as far as Eastern Washington. But the story's still being written on whether the racks will be sold for scrap metal, turned into souvenirs or something else.”

The TV reporter gets a couple of “moron-on-the-street” suggestions about what to do with all the derelict boxes, and not very inspiring ones at that. Surely the brain trust here at the AoSHQ Foundation think tank can come up with some better ideas. Links and stuff about the so-called “blog” are below the fold.

It’s like genocide or something sort of equally unpleasant…or something

The other story about the remnants of the paper and it’s bloggy future can be found at The Seattle Times. The article also discusses what some other papers that have shut down are trying to do. It’s a target-rich article, but here are some of the highlights:

”The Seattle Post-Intelligencer's print death has spawned at least two local initiatives to launch new Web sites devoted to in-depth journalism, and to explore new ways to pay for it.”

“People involved in both initiatives say their plans are far from firm, and that finding a new business model to support serious journalism could take time.”

Yes, many layers of fact-checking is quite expensive. Some grim news though from no less than a professor of communications at the University of Washington:
”"The deaths of these few newspapers has put everybody's heads on the chopping block," said University of Washington communications professor David Domke.”
“Domke and other university faculty have met with a group of former P-I editors and reporters who hope to establish a news organization that would produce investigative, enterprise and narrative journalism focused on the West.”

Good to see that they’re actually looking at getting back to narrative journalism, which has been sorely lacking throughout the media for decades now. Of course, the ugly and distasteful issue of real-world financing issues are creating a bit of a problem:
”The venture is incorporating as a nonprofit, she said, and has begun talking with potential funders and sponsors. One possible model: ProPublica, a New York-based nonprofit online investigative news outlet launched last year with foundation backing. Soliciting reader financial support — the way National Public Radio does with listeners — is another possibility, Hibbard said. Domke said the enterprise could play a more active role than newspapers traditionally have in engaging citizens and looking for solutions to social problems. Its journalists also could teach budding investigative reporters, he added.”

Excellent! It’s partially because traditional media such as newspapers have sat quietly on the sideline for decades and played no part in advocacy journalism that the nation is in so much trouble currently. So maybe at the $250 donor level you can get a P-I coffee mug signed by former “Managing Decider” David McCumber? But how are all those fund-raising efforts for the new venture working out by the way?

”Seattle Post Globe has raised only about $4,000 so far, insiders say. But former Seattle Weekly managing editor Chuck Taylor, who is advising the venture, said a Web site could go live in the next few weeks, with reporters and editors working for free at first.”
“Post Globe leaders have met with officials at public broadcasting stations KCTS-TV and KPLU-FM. KCTS is providing the group with office space.”

Well, best of luck to them in their future endeavors. I’m sure things will turn out just fine. Now for the slasher movie example I cited at the top of the post.

Notice: Posted by permission of AceCorp LLC. Please e-mail overnight open thread tips to xgenghisx@gmail.com. Otherwise send tips to Ace.

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posted by xgenghisx at 12:14 AM

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