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Re: E-M:/ Michigan Newspapers



A couple of years ago, Jay Rosen, a journalism professor at a New York university, said that the age of the journalism institution has passed and we're in the age of the journalism entrepreneur.  I think that's about right.

Three years ago, when I was employed by a newspaper, I got one paycheck every other week.  Then, my position was eliminated, and last week the guy who was given my work himself got the axe from the same paper.  Now, I get much smaller checks coming it at varying intervals.  I still write for a few dead tree publications, but I make even more money on Web-related projects, mostly because that's where all the work is these days.

I think that it's possible to create an environmentally related news service, but it's not something you'd be able to charge much for.  There's not the demand that there is for the kind of insider political information you get from a MIRS or a Gongwer.  You'd probably have to do that while doing other things, and figure out how to turn it into a revenue stream.

On Thu, Nov 20, 2008 at 3:51 PM, Kirk Haverkamp <kirkhaverkamp@gmail.com> wrote:
I wonder if there might be potential in developing environmental journalism as a cottage industry. Perhaps the mainstream media should take a page from other major industries and begin outsourcing coverage of certain areas, such as the environment, to specialized providers. A state or regional environmental news service, employing a team of environmental journalists working together, could offer cost savings to media outlets, employment for reporters and perhaps even better coverage than the currently fragmented efforts by individual news organizations, at least when it comes to the big stories. Local stories might be more likely to fall through the cracks, but that's already happening as papers shed staff.

The big question would be how to pay for this. A high-quality subscription service might be the answer. Gongwer charges $2,100 a year for its coverage of state government and Bill Ballenger has made a nice business out of Inside Michigan Politics. Can a viable market be developed for a specialized environmental news service? Or other niche news services?  Given the overall trend towards decentralized information development and sharing, this seems like an option worth exploring.

Kirk Haverkamp
Ypsilanti, MI




On Thu, Nov 20, 2008 at 1:34 PM, Mark Richardson <Mark.Richardson@macombcountymi.gov> wrote:
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Enviro-Mich message from "Mark Richardson" <Mark.Richardson@macombcountymi.gov>
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I think those who have noted the growth of community weeklies are on to something.

Our two local weeklies (the Woodward Talk and the Mirror) offer more in the way of community news (the police blotter, council and board meetings, school news and activites etc.) than the Daily Tribune.  And during my campaign for state rep I noticed that political items (articles, letters, ads) appearing in the weeklies seemed to generate more buzz than anything appearing in the Daily Tribune.

Where I really see a problem is with stories that require a lot of investigation to unravel.  What community weekly or website would have the resources necessary to expose the Mayor Kilpatrick story, for example?

Environmental stories are tough to cover.  They often require a great deal of data review, interviews or consultations with experts etc.  Where are these stories going to come from if our major news organizations go out of business or cut editorial staff to bare-bones levels?

I can't see how any of the websites emerging today would be able to do that job.  Will they be able to do so in the future?  If so, how?

>>> Larry Nooden <ldnum@umich.edu> 11/20/2008 11:24 AM >>>
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Enviro-Mich message from Larry Nooden <ldnum@umich.edu>
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Independent startup newspapers/magazines seem like a very good idea, but
they will need support to build a distribution network.

I think everyone knows that the mainline newsmedia are increasingly
controlled by small number of people with special interests to promote
(e.g., Rupert Murdoch).  It seems to me that this is often reflected in
what the news media cover or do not cover.  For example, I was shocked to
find that the European television media showed President Bush while he was
gathering his answer to reporters' questions whereas the US media do not
(except by accident in his first debate with John Kerry).  What you see is
an impatient, arrogant man.  There are other examples, but that gets too
far off topic.

Time for a fresh start; leave most of the old power structure and special
interests behind.

Using enviro-mich and other enviro list serves for news leads would be very
productive.

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ENVIRO-MICH:  Internet List and Forum for Michigan Environmental
and Conservation Issues and Michigan-based Citizen Action.   Archives at
http://www.great-lakes.net/lists/enviro-mich/

Postings to:  enviro-mich@great-lakes.net      For info, send email to
majordomo@great-lakes.net  with a one-line message body of  "info enviro-mich"
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
All views and opinions presented above are solely those of the author or
attributed source and do not necessarily reflect those of GLIN or the Great Lakes Commission.
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