Who Will Gather and Disseminate the News. Volume 100, Number 1,000

The same old story.

Today’s WaPo features their new format and two must read articles for those who are concerned with the how citizens will get the information they need to make intelligent decisions in the market place and in the voting booth.

Howard Kurtz: “Media Notes: The Same Old Story Turns Into a New One as Start-Ups Multiply” on C 1 and Leonard Downie Jr. And Michael Schudson “Finding a New Model for New Reporting” on A 19.

The journalism types want FCC to subsidize “citizen journalism.”

Citizen journalism is fine but what REALLY needed is Citizens Media. See THE ESTATES MATRIX.

And the new formats? Ways to cut the cost of putting out the paper and ways to make it look more like a cluttered web page instead of a calm presentation of what citizens need to know from a source citizens can trust.

The hype (in a new “Redesign Owner’s Manual) puts a spotlight on settlement pattern component reporting. As long as they call it “local” instead of sorting out what they are talking about by the location and the scale of the settlement pattern component they might as well dump their ink, their newsprint and their bytes in the Potomac.


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  1. Anonymous Avatar

    "… how citizens will get the information they need to make intelligent decisions in the market place and in the voting booth."

    In the market place you make intelligent decisions based on price and quality, and maybe service.

    Apparently, we buy politicians the same way.


  2. Anonymous Avatar

    "The journalism types want FCC to subsidize “citizen journalism."

    Goody, if I can collect back pay, I can probably retire.


  3. Gooze Views Avatar
    Gooze Views

    There is a model out there that may have started in SanDiego of setting up non-profit organizations to do investigatie reporting. ProPublica is one around here.
    The problem, however, is that "citizens" often don't know how to report. There is a skill set involved and I have spent nearly 37 years trying to learn it.
    One can't just say he is a citizen "journalist" any more than one can say he is a "citizen lawyer" or "citizen engineer."
    There have to be some standards and they are usually learned on the job (never thought much of journalism schools, personally).


  4. Anonymous Avatar


    I agree that trained journalists have some skills that the average or even above-average layperson cannot. I often work on real estate development matters with a journalist (former reporter for a number of entities). He adds something that the rest of just don't have.


  5. E M Risse Avatar


    I agree there is a skill set — same with citizen 'planners.'

    Two observations:

    There should be some way to determine if a 'reproter' has those skills. A degree and 'experience' has been shown not to be enough — as it has not with 'planners.'

    Society can have droves of skilled reporters but if they only have Enterprise MainStream Media for which to work that does no one any good.

    OK, except for the reporters who are not starving. But they know they will if they report something that undermines the Enterprise cash flow — like telling the whole story.

    It is just the way Enterprises work — not in the old Fourth Estate, but in the New Fourth Estate. The experiences you relate in this Blog are stark testimony to these facts.

    No sane person could expect Enterprise media (aka, MainStream Media) to do any differently than they are doing.

    That is why there must be a Citizen Media serving the New Fourth Estate.


  6. I just don't have the same dark vision of what's in store for journalism.

    perhaps it's out of utter ignorance.

    How much money did GOGGLE make last year from selling online ADs? Answer: about 6 billion dollars give or take a few million.


    I haven't a clue how much it costs to operate WaPo or NYT but surely they can make the transition from print ADs to online ADs – and if they have to .. trim then trim but I would (perhaps foolishly) think that good, well managed operations will survive.

    you know … most papers are liberal rags run by far left liberals and they can't stand to lay off people so maybe we need the right wingers to take over the papers.

    perhaps Peter knows more about the economics that do not appear to be "working" so far…

  7. Groveton Avatar

    Is journalism dying or is print journalism dying?

    I remember my Dad reading the Washington Star. He wouldn't dirty his hands with the Washington Post. The Star went out of business 25 years ago. Long before the popular internet. Long before blogs.

    TV news seems fine. Radio news seems OK. Blogs, amateur, semi-professional and professional, seem to be fine. I subscribe to Real Time Economics on my Kindle. Excellent souce of info. A product of the WSJ – just not a print product.

    Is journalism dying or is print journalism dying?

    What happened to the print media. I remember watching Citizen Kaine when I was in high school. The print publisher in the story economically controlled the world (except, of course, Rosebud). At least, that's what I remember.

    Publishing mogul was almost a figire of speech. Where have all the moguls gone?

    I think print media is like the family farm (or the villiage smithy). A romantic notion of a bygone era. They all give people a warm and fuzzy feeling. They all have gone extinct or are going extinct. They have been replaced with more efficient alternatives. The world continues to spin on its axis…

  8. Gooze Views Avatar
    Gooze Views

    I thnk you are being too cynical about what ytou call the "enterprise Main Stream Media". Some do limit their investigations to matters that don't hit them in the wallet. Others don't.

    I have worked for both.


  9. E M Risse Avatar


    The issue is not ‘journalism’ – print or otherwise – THE issue is citizens getting the information they need to make intelligent decisions in the market place and in the voting booth.

    You say:

    “I think print media is like the family farm (or the village smithy).”

    You may be one cycle behind there. I am not sure about blacksmiths but Industrial Agriculture is a dead end. Literally.

    But then you would know that if you were getting the information you need to …

    And you will NEVER get that information in any from a group owned by Rupert M.

    “The world continues to spin on its axis…”

    But it may do that without a civilization of technologically advanced humans if the current trajectory continues.


    About the firewall between editorial and reporting in the Old Fourth Estate you said:

    “I have worked for both.”

    So has EMR. EMR worked for an editor and publisher who won a Pulitzer Prize as a Neighborhood (EMR doe not use the word ‘local’) reporter. EMR had an ownership interest and sat on the board of directors of a print and on-line media Enterprise that did the same. We sold out just in time.

    The operative word in your statement is “worked.” That was then, this is now.

    Other than a not-for-profit (aka, NOT a MainStream Media Enterprise), can you name one that you could go to work for today about which you could say the same thing?

    We hope you can give us a list of them because EMR has LOTS of journalist friends with great skill sets that would like to have a job lead.


  10. Anonymous Avatar

    Industrial agriculture still gets 95% of the profits and 98% of the subsidies.

    The family farm is going to have to get a ort more of both if it is going to survive.


  11. Anonymous Avatar

    "As the nation struggles to climb out of a recession, 45 percent rated the economy as the most important issue in deciding their vote if the congressional election were held today, followed by 21 percent who said government spending, 20 percent who chose health care reform and 9 percent who said the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Just 4 percent ranked climate change as the top issue.

    Economic worries also led a majority of Americans to place jump-starting the economy ahead of concerns about the environment. "


    Well, I've been saying for years that if you want a godd environment you need a strong economy to pay for it.


  12. Anonymous Avatar

    "Housing starts climbed 0.5 percent to a seasonally adjusted 590,000 annual rate compared with the prior month, according to the Commerce Department. Analysts had expected construction to reach an annual rate of about 615,000. Housing starts were down 28 percent from the same period last year.

    A 3.9 percent increase in construction in single-family homes was offset by declines in the multifamily market, which includes apartment buildings. Construction starts in that market, which is often volatile, fell 15.2 percent."

    The end of the world is coming, housing starts are up.


  13. Anonymous Avatar

    One would not expect someone who thinks that buying his pants a Walmart is a good idea for himself, his community or the economy is a good idea would know much about what is happening to agriculture.

    Horses and mules provided 99% of the urban motive power in 1888.

    Peak oil (fertilizer / fuel), water supplies, declining productivity and buyer preference has already changed the future of agriculture.

    You would not know that from reading enterprise media. Alternative food types do not advertise in the Wall Street Journal.

  14. Anonymous Avatar

    "One would not expect someone who thinks that buying his pants a Walmart is a good idea for himself, his community or the economy is a good idea would know much about what is happening to agriculture."

    It wasn't my idea. Take it up with Mark Perry

    Dr. Mark J. Perry is a professor of economics and finance in the School of Management at the Flint campus of the University of Michigan.


  15. Anonymous Avatar



    Then of course there is the PopEconomics view held by EMR and many others.


    I'd like family farms to be able to play on a level field with big ag, but they can't.

    I'd like my family farm to support me so I wouldn't have to drive all over the countryside to bring home enough money to support it, but that isn't going to happen. It cannot happen, it is impossible.

    Shoot, I'd be happy if the community supported me as much as I support the community – at least that way I'd break even. I'll be even happier when we adopt the New Zealand strategy and actually pay for environmental services.

    Assesments for 2010 just came in. the value of small lots went up significantly more on a percentage basis than large ones. What does that tell you about how agriculture is valued compared to other uses?

    Sure, there are all kinds of nich places doing all kinds of things. I apprecieate what they do and I buy their products, and it is all feel good warm and fuzzy. But when I see free range organic turkey selling for $7.50 a pound, I have real doubts that this represents sustainable agriculture!

    Now show me their books.

    I had a conversation at church with a man who has a large and successful winery. I told him that with allthe wineries springing up, I'd sure like to understand the economics of it.

    "Oh, there's no money in it", he said, "I'm independently wealthy and I can do what I want."

    He didn't say, but it is easy to imagine that he made his money investing in WalMart.


  16. Anonymous Avatar

    "Horses and mules provided 99% of the urban motive power in 1888."

    Yes, and autombiles were viewed as a cost effective technological fix to "the manure problem" in 1900.

    It also took 75% of agricultural land to graze the draft animals that worked the other 25%.

    Artificial fertilizer is mostly made from natural gas, not oil.

    I'm not yet convinced how many buyers will prefer free range organic turkey at $7.50 a pound. Alternative food types do not advertise in the Wall Street Journal because they can't afford to. Omaha Steaks, on the other hand does advertise in the Journal.

    These are all facts, that you can look up, in multiple sources. I find I make my living best when I look facts in the face.

    I believe that green means using the least amount of resources. I have to believe that if my jeans from WalMart cost $10 instead of $80 for US made jeans, and if it becasue someone in Jakarta gets paid less, then by golly, I'll bet they are using less resources than the American workers who would have got the other $70 – – if the farm paid me enough to afford them.

    So, yeah, buying jeans is good for Me, and good for the (global) economy, and probably good for the environment.

    As for my community, they are already taking more support from me than I get from them, and they freely admit it! I'm not about to give them any more voluntarily.

    Knock yourself out beating up on me. I know my views are not popular or well understood. The notion that a zero pollution objective is not necessarily ideal policy is one of the more difficult concepts for environmental economists to convey. After all, if pollution is bad shouldn’t we design policy to completely eliminate it? Many are drawn to the field based on a genuine concern for the environment and the belief that economics provides a powerful tool for helping solve environmental problems. Yet we are often in the position of recommending policies that appear on the surface to be anti-environmental.

    I'm reconciled with that. I know that I have a position that is internally consistent, non-partisan, and does not rely on stealing, platitudes, false aphorisms, twisted statistics or vague insults.

    I don't want Exxon or Walmart to get more than their share, but I don't want Johnny Appleseed or Sister Alphonsa to get more than their share either: stealing for altruism is like screwing for virginity or fighting for peace.

    If you want to beat up on me, knock yourself out. I just put the information out there, you can take it for what it is worth, or try to kill the messenger.

    After you manage to do that, the information will still be out there.


  17. Anonymous Avatar

    " has already changed the future of agriculture. "

    That is great. I truly hope it happens.

    Now, how am I supposed to survive from now until whenever the future happens without short term profits?


  18. Anonymous Avatar

    "California’s success with energy efficiency can’t simply be translated to the rest of the country, as The Atlantic noted. Researchers at Stanford University set out to see just why Californians use less electricity than the rest of the country.

    The answer? All of California’s policies to boost efficiency—from new standards, to higher electricity rates, to regulatory changes for utilities—explain less than one-quarter of the gap between California and the rest of the country.

    The other three-quarters are best explained by factors such as a temperate climate (which requires less heating and cooling) and an industrial base that’s not very heavy on heavy industry."


    Just data, no comment.

    Here is an example of what I mean. Larry has oftern commented that California uses a lot less electricity than the rest of us, suggesting that we ought to be able to do the same. Well, maybe not. Once you see more facts and less rhetoric.

    Likewise wth Walmart. I have one daa point which has a strong advocacy and that is that WalMart is the devil incarnate, and it is toxic to everyone who shops there and the communities they live in.

    The other data point is that better tan 95% of the population has shopped at WalMart in the last year. In an opinion poll that would be a home run. Or as EMR points out, people will select the goods that price proves are most popular.

    So if the deveil is WalMart and we all shop at Walmart, I guess we are all going to hell. But at least we will do it economically.


  19. Anonymous Avatar

    I see three situations.

    100 people each chip in $10 for lunch and the majority decides what to order.

    1) They order vegetarian.

    The meat eaters might be disappointed, but they still get a fair sahre of what was bought. They might even complain that, in their value system, they got cheated because they don't value the vegetarian diet as highly.

    But, as youpoint out, they don;t get to set the price: that was done by the restaurant, in a competitive environment. The meat eaters don't have a leg to stand on, and no one stole from them.

    The majority order pork barbecue, knowing that a third of the group is muslim. The muslims get nothing and the majority gets stuff they didn't pay for.

    3) Having collected the $10 from everyone the majority changes the rules and gives back the money to everyone who votes with them. They buy what they want with the minorities money. If they order barbecue, they get fed for nothing and the muslims get less than nothing.

    The difference is obvious to me, but somehow we have long since passed over to the point where case three is accepted as legitimate majority rule.

    To me, it is just stealing.


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