Thursday, November 16, 2006

More Media Notes: Plunge Stories Feared Dead

In the old days, when a newspaper layout editor needed to fill a wee hole at the bottom of an inside page, he went to the wire room where the news service teletype machines busily clacked away and looked for an old reliable -- a one-paragraph story on a bus plunging off a cliff in some faraway place like this 1960 story in the New York Times.
Such accidents are not the least bit amusing, but Jack Shafer's take in Slate on what happened to this one-time newspaper staple is pretty funny.
Click here.

John Tierney has been a disappointment as a New York Times op-ed columnist.
Tierney, who was touted as kind of sort of a conservative replacement for the wonderful William Safire, never found his voice. I might not have agreed with Safire, but his columns always were edifying must reads. I read Tierney for a few weeks, found much of his punditizing to be idiotic and have skipped him altogether for most of the last two years.
Anyhow, Tierney is retreating to the Science Times section where he will report and blog.

His farewell column is here.

Nicholas von Hoffman, writing in The Nation:
"Thanks to the Internet, the iPod and so forth, we have more media outlets than ever before --but fewer reporters. When the last reporter is laid off, we can subsist on rumor, speculation and gossip. These three are usually more interesting than the facts, but do you want to bet your life and livelihood on them?"

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